The Catherine Tate ShowEdit
Joannie is always referred to as "Nan". She is an old, cockney woman who constantly swears at and criticises other people. She is always visited by her well-mannered grandson, Jamie (Mathew Horne) whom she refers to when visitors come "'e ain't got a job", even though Jamie is in fact at university. His visits usually start off well enough, with Nan showing how grateful she is that he has come to see her. However, the situation usually takes a turn for the worse after she starts to make unfavourable comments about her neighbours, family, or home help visitors. Joannie is mostly very pleasant to visitors, but after they leave, she criticises and rants about them. Sketches in series one show Jamie taking her to a pound shop, which ends with shambolic consequences. Joannie complains to her grandson about her home help visitor, whom she refers to as a "fucking thief". She also calls her new great-grandchild ugly. Her catchphrase, delivered at the crucial point of each sketch, is "What a fucking liberty!"
In series two, Nan spends less time in her living room. She makes a disastrous visit to the doctor and spends two weeks in hospital. True to form, she does not suffer in silence, complaining about her fellow patients, accusing a nurse of stealing from her and caustically surveying the food menu ("I can't eat Chinese - their faces make me feel sick"). While in hospital, her grandson brings his first girlfriend to visit her. Unfortunately, his girlfriend has an abnormally large nose, provoking Nan's insulting behaviour as she becomes fixated with it, even offering her some old sheets to use for tissues. Another sketch sees Joannie arrive home from a funeral, where she is very upset, until she realises that the deceased actually owed her £15. She quickly gets over her grief and is overcome with rage, coupled by the fact she had spent another £25 on a wreath. In another sketch, Peter Kay guest stars as one of Nan's friends who offends Jamie by describing homosexuality as a disability. In the 2005 Christmas special, a sketch features Nan attending a Christmas party in an old people's care home. Charlotte Church makes a guest appearance as herself, where she starts to sing for the guests, which prompts Nan to exclaim, "what a load of old shit!"
In series three, Leslie Phillips plays another of Nan's friends, who is himself very much like her, evident when he says "What a fucking liberty" after Nan visits him in hospital and leaves him a present which he did not like. Sheila Hancock appears as Nan's sister June, who lives in Spain and is equally as foul-mouthed as Nan. They reveal that most of their family were London gangland career criminals and mass murderers, with nicknames such as "Clown Face" and "Wallop Nuts". Nan also made a characteristic appearance on The Paul O'Grady Show, in which she was pleased to discover his show had bought her a new armchair, but soon got annoyed when she learned that they had entered her house without her permission to deliver it, upon which she stormed off the set, exclaiming "Paul O'Grady? What a load of old shit!"
Nan has at least one daughter, Diane, who is the mother of Jamie and a granddaughter, Gail, who bore Nan's "ugly" great-grandchild Francesca (she initially believes the child to have been named Tesco's). The Christmas 2007 special introduced us to Diane herself (played by Kathy Burke), who was exactly like Nan in that she swore at and criticised people behind their backs. The sketch ends with both of them saying "What a fucking liberty!" together.
All three series as well as the 2005 Christmas special ended with a musical number featuring Nan.
In 2009 she returned in a Christmas special, based on A Christmas Carol in which Nan, like Scrooge, is shown Christmas past, present and future in an attempt to stop her miserable ways. It was entitled Nan's Christmas Carol. In this special, after abusing some carolers (Madness), and refusing to give some relatives from Yorkshire a place to stay for the night, Nan is visited by the ghost of her dead husband, Jake, who warns her that she will be visited by three spirits who will show her the error of her ways. The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past (Ben Miller) takes Nan back to her childhood where it is revealed that Nan's bad attitude towards Christmas stems from a present Father Christmas brought her (a tangerine). The ghost also takes Nan through the 1950s and 1970s before the Ghost of Christmas Present (David Tennant) shows Nan the consequences of her throwing her relatives out when their pet dog dies after choking on a crisp. Nan is then sent back to her flat where the third and final spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Future (Roger Lloyd Pack), appears and shows Nan a future where her grandson, Jamie, now married with a child, has broken off all contact with her after her behaviour becomes too much for him to take, and she spends her final years in a retirement home where nobody comes to see her. Nan is horrified by this vision, and realises she needs to change her ways. She throws a party where she invites her friends and family, as well as Madness, to join in. We also learn that Nan's maiden name is Jackson. However, after everyone has gone to bed, she calls the dog in, offering it a crisp (the same type it choked on in the future), implying she hasn't really changed at all.
In a sketch made especially for Comic Relief 2007, Nan appears on the game show Deal or No Deal hosted by Noel Edmonds. In the sketch, Nan plays a game of Deal or No Deal, in which she uncovers the five highest amounts of money in the first five boxes. As the boxes are opened, she makes an offensive comment about the player opening it, targeting their weight, earrings and glasses (in the extended version). Being given an offer of £199 by the Banker, Nan accepts the offer happily, having already cheated and looked in her box and found that it only contained £50. She also did a Sport Relief sketch, about the World Cup. She appeared on Comic Relief in 2009, receiving a cheque for her local community centre.
- 'ere 'e is! You come up and see me? Come up and see me ain't ya? I noticed that!
- Fack off!
- What a fucking liberty!
- Off her fucking nut, she was!
- Oh, they want shootin', they really do!
- Oh, take a fucking chill pill, you!
- Oh, you are a good boy.
- That's ya lot.
- What a load of old shit!
- Oh innit alright
- Gawd (God) Knows...
- Oh, fuckin' chill out!
- Oh, 'ave a look!
- Oh, I nearly had a bilious attack.
- Oh, I feel bilious now.
- Ah, li'le dog!
- And a lot of good you were. Sittin' there, worried about what side your hair's parted while I'm gettin' turned over by a man whose mother eats her own shit!
- Who is it?
- Is that you, darlin'?
- Well, it's too fucking late.co.uk!
- No thanks. I ate before I came out. I ain't touching that muck.
- Don't they fucking stink!
- Every time I see you in them magazines, you're as pissed as arseholes.
- Embarrassing situations? You wanna talk. Runnin' off with celebrities while I'm sat there with Metal fuckin' Mickey.
- Oh no I couldn't eat Chinese food love. Their faces make me feel sick.
- Well, its too late now love....it's-too-fucking-late.co.uk!
- You fuckin' old Mary Ann'
- This material is fucking awful!
- Oi, Mustos! Yeah, both of ya! Take your friendship, take your good times, take your fucking squirrel, and shove it up your twin arses!
- Fat Stella, The fat girl!
- I'm obliged to you, darling, really I am! (usually followed by "What a fucking liberty!")
- Deal, Or no deal, WHAT A LOAD OF OLD SHIT!
Behind the scenes Edit
Catherine Tate's principal inspiration for "the old lady character" was a nursing home resident that her drama class gave performances too. The unnamed woman was irritated about the class blocking the television.