Catherine Tate and David Tennant on Shakespeare

English comedienne Catherine Tate and Scottish actor David Tennant appear together in this sketch for Comic Relief 2007, produced for us here on the BBC YouTube channel.

Catherine Tate in Shakespeare sketch on BBC Red Nose Day

Tennant plays Mr Logan, a new English teacher attempting to introduce a high school class to the wonder of Shakespeare sonnets. Tate plays Lauren Cooper, a troublesome student who easily slips into Shakespearean verse from Sonnet 130. The sketch was in aid of Red Nose Day.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

Tennant, known for his role as Doctor Who, developed his career in the British theatre, frequently performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company for whom he played Touchstone in As You Like It, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors, and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. Tennant is about to start in the roles of Hamlet, alongside Patrick Stewart, and Berowne in Love’s Labours Lost.

Tate has also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, taking the role of Smeraldina in a 2000 RSC production of A Servant to Two Masters.

Transcript Notes

“Look at my face. Am I Bothered?” are catchphrases of Lauren Cooper, designed to mock the chav culture in Bristain. Here she says, “Amest I bothered? Amest I bothered for soothe? Looketh at my face…looketh at my face. Is this the bothered face thou sees before thee?”

See the whole transcript here.

Sonnet 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

10 thoughts on “Catherine Tate and David Tennant on Shakespeare

  1. Juliet

    If anyone can figure out all of these lines, I would love them. Gosh, this so funny… Love Dr. Who, love school scenes, love Shakespeare – perfect combination in the skit.

    1. Riyan

      I love Romeo and Juliet. It took a little while to unsnrdtaed what they were talking about, but once I got the hang of it, wow, I was hooked. Shakespeare is hard to get into at first because of the way Elizabethan English was written, but if you can find someone to help you when you don’t unsnrdtaed you’ll be laughing. Romeo and Juliet is one of the easiest works of Shakespeare.As to the story, it’s a love story. Boy meets girl, families don’t get along and whenever they meet they want to kill each other. So the match can’t work. It’s a little violent, with sword fights and a few people die, but the saddest part is at the end You’ll have to read it for yourself. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a wonderful story. I cried buckets, sooo sad.

  2. Kim Stoltzfus

    Thanks so much for the transcript! I’m a pretty hardcore Whovian/Anglophile in general, but I was missing some of the dialogue. Funny enough to begin with, but even better hearing: “Do you fancy Billie Piper?”

  3. Logic

    @Akamaru She’s not saying “My leash”, she’s saying “My liege”, because Tennant, in the skit, is her teacher and therefor superior.

  4. Logic

    She’s not saying “My leash”, she’s saying “My liege”, because Tennant, in the skit, is her teacher and therefor superior.

  5. Michael Mullikin

    Notice how Lauren slips into a Scottish accent when she says, “You take the high road and I’ll take the low road.”


    1. Jansen

      That’s a really cool idea : ) I had to read it for shocol, but had a hard time completely understanding to text. However, I did find a book called No Fear Shakespeare Romeo Juliet. No Fear Shakespeare puts Shakespeare’s language side-by-side with a facing-page translation into modern English—the kind of English people actually speak today. Good Luck : )

  6. Dharman

    Shakespeare is tricky if you are not faimliar with hearing it spoken. I read Romeo and Juliet when I was 15, and I loved it a lot. I don’t know how much I would have liked it if I hadn’t seen the movie first. If the text reads like gobblygook to you, try watching the movie first to hear the words being spoken and then try reading it again.Good luck!


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