Catherine Tate ‘not filming Doctor Who series 13 in Liverpool’

Exclusive: Reports of the actor’s presence on set have apparently been greatly exaggerated.

Catherine Tate in Doctor Who

Doctor Who fans have been in a bit of a tizz over the last few days, with all sorts of rumours flying around that a key Who star from yesteryear was set to make a surprise return in the currently-filming series 13.

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That star? None other than Catherine Tate herself, aka David Tennant companion Donna Noble, last seen in 2010 and often cited as a fan favourite character.

You see, rumour had it that Catherine had been spotted in Liverpool the same day that Doctor Who had publicly decamped there for some outdoor filming (with scenes involving Jodie Whittaker and John Bishop widely circulating on social media last night), with some joining the dots to imagine Tate was actually there for the same shoot.

In fact, some fans even claimed that they’d spoken to Catherine, who told them that she was in Liverpool filming for a secret TV series she wouldn’t reveal thanks to a Non-Disclosure agreement. A secret shoot, in the city filming Doctor Who, a series she’s known for starring in? Well, altogether it was an exciting proposition that had many anticipating a Doctor/Donna reunion. It’s easy to see why it caught on so quickly.

However, it also wasn’t true – at least according to representatives for Tate herself, who we contacted to see if there was any truth to the story.

“I can confirm Catherine is very much not in Liverpool and is not on [the] DR WHO set,” a representative for Tate told RadioTimes.com today, dispelling any unsubstantiated rumours to the contrary.

Previously, when contacted by RadioTimes.com, the BBC had declined to comment on the speculation.

Look, after the shock return of John Barrowman we can hardly blame anyone for getting a little carried away. Given that Doctor Who boss Chris Chibnall did already bring back a beloved character from the David Tennant era in secret, it wasn’t too big a leap to imagine that he might do so again – but sadly, it seems that if there are any secret cameos in series 13, Donna Noble won’t be among them.

And who knows? In years to come, maybe the fan excitement at Tate’s rumoured return will inspire Chibnall (or some future showrunner) to actually find a way to bring Donna back into the fold, spurred on by the continued love Whovians have for the character.

In life, and Doctor Who especially, stranger things have happened.

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Doctor Who returns to BBC One later this year. Want more to watch? Check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.