Australia gets its own monarch as Catherine Tate begins her royal reign down under.
Naturally, being avid Doctor Who fans, we’re all waiting for Catherine Tate’s return as Donna Noble this November. However, the star has the not inconsiderable matter of a new sitcom which lands on Friday, 16th June.
Queen of Oz sees her play a disgraced princess who is shipped off to Australia to become its Queen.
Catherine Tate (Image: BBC/Lorenzo Agius)
To promote the show, the BBC have released a lengthy Q&A with the star, from which we’ve selected a few quotes:
Queen of Oz is such a brilliant idea, how did it come about?
“Well, the genesis of this project had nothing to do with myself or Jeff , we wrote it but it wasn’t our idea. That credit goes to a Canadian producer called Borga Dorta who got in touch with me to say, ‘I really love your work and I’ve got this idea about a minor member of a fictitious royal family, who gets sent over to Canada to become their Queen.’ I really liked it, so we all worked up a treatment, went to Toronto and pitched it to Canadian TV studios.
It was called, wait for it, Queen Of Canada! While we were in a café between meetings I said, ‘You know what, I think this might be better situated to Australia. Plus, Queen of Oz is a much better title.’ So that’s how it came about. That’s a very long winded way of saying it wasn’t my idea. We’re still waiting on hearing back from the Canadians but to be fair, they did say they usually take a long time to say yes…”
So tell me about Georgie, Australia’s new Queen? What kind of person is she and does she actually evolve across the series?
“She’s a reluctant Queen as she really thought she was going to live out her life going to parties, not do much of anything or have any responsibility. So she gets a very rude awakening getting shipped off to Australia as their newly-crowned Queen. She’s very difficult, very hard to work for and doesn’t make it easy for anyone. She’s spoilt, entitled and deeply unpleasant which of course makes her a great character to play. She does evolve somewhat over the series but at her core she’s fun and she’s anarchic. I think when you’re playing someone like that, you don’t need people to love her, you don’t really need anyone to like her even, you just need them to laugh at her.”
How does Georgie respond to Australia? And does her attitude towards Australia change at all?
“Well, Georgie’s attitude to Australia was formed when she was sent to Canberra to go to boarding school when she was 13 and bullied relentlessly, so she doesn’t come here with a whole host of great memories. However as in all shows, of course she’s going to evolve and we wanted to make Australia itself a character. Her relationship to Australia really takes the place of the usual romcom, they start off hating each other and in the end, as it progresses, she has to come to love it because she’s its Queen.… She’s her Queen… Australia is a female.”
You have a great Australian ensemble cast. Tell me a little bit about how it was working with them?
“We lucked out so much! The cast and crew are brilliant, lovely, friendly, welcoming, magnificent people! And the cherry on the cake for me, I was able to work with my brilliant friend Niky Wardley, who plays the absolute scene-stealing Anabel – Georgie’s Lady-In-Waiting. Joyous. “
While there’s no trailer yet, you can get a taste with a clip on the BBC website.
Catherine Tate and Jeff Gutheim write Queen of Oz, from an original idea by Tate and Borga Dorta. Tate also executive produces too. The show’s producers are Michele Bennett and the director is Christiaan Van Vuuren. A co-production with ABC Australia, it comes from Lingo Pictures in association with The Development Partnership.
Queen of Oz comes to BBC One and the iPlayer on Friday, 16th June at 9:30 pm. The show runs for six episodes.