The Catherine Tate Show is sketch comedy. Tate plays many different but recurring characters. This is your usual British TV comedy which means it is a little more risqué and original than an American sitcom. There are two seasons or series available or soon to be available. Although this is a rather enjoyable show, I am not sure more than a complete season of this series is really necessary. The Catherine Tate Show Series One features 6 episodes on one DVD
This show has all the fortes and weaknesses of sketch comedy. Some of Tate's characters and situations are excellent while some sketches and characters quickly wear out their welcome. You have to give Catherine Tate due credit as a very talented actress and comedienne. Her ability to do so many and such different characters is remarkable. The writing, however, does not always keep up.
There are many strong moments in The Catherine Tate Show. My favorites are the lady at the shopping mall information booth with, as a close second, the DSI or the teenaged girl. Tate's DSI is quite an original spoof on British detective shows like Tennyson.
There are also some non-recurring characters like the majorette, the Twirlminator, who has been at it for 25 years. It is this odd surprise that makes up for the sketches that last a bit too long.
The two characters I found most grating are Nan, the little old lady with the grandson, and the screaming lady. The screaming lady, a lady who screams in fear at the slightest provocation, is really a one gag joke but it gets repeated in every show and in all six episodes. Much the same can be said about Nan. Yes, Tate is good at portraying a little old lady but after that the novelty wears off.
A North American audience might have difficulty with some of the accents. You get used to most of them but I still cannot fathom most of what the lady who looks like Cher is saying.
The Catherine Tate Series One allows you to watch a comedienne pull a tour de force. I am still not convinced a second season will be that much more interesting.
Other British TV comedy DVDs:
The Kumars at No. 42: An accessible Brit TV comedy.
The Worst Week of my Life: Great show about a guy self destructing before his wedding day.
Peep Show The Original UK Series: More American viewer friendly than most
Nighty Night: Dark and wickedly funny British comedy.