The name Tate — as in Terry Tate — has been synonymous with ridiculous corporate drudgery since a series of Reebok ads introduced us to a football goon nicknamed the Office Linebacker who inexplicably dishes out punishment to drones working in a cubicle farm.
But British actress Catherine Tate may soon be the Tate most associated with destroying white-collar workers' wills to live, if a Hollywood Reporter article suggesting that she has become the front-runner to replace Steve Carell on "The Office" turns out to be true and results in her joining the NBC sitcom next fall.
We'd be all for that scenario happening, as we're longtime fans of Tate — who makes her series debut on tonight's hour-long seventh-season finale, alongside Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, James Spader, Will Ferrell and Ricky Gervais.
But in case you're not familiar with her work, much of which has been for British television, we encourage you to check out her breakout roles in advance of her debut as a Dunder Mifflin honcho hopeful on Thursday's finale.
This sketch-comedy show, which debuted in 1998 on BBC Two, is best known now as having kick-started the career of "Shaun of the Dead" star Simon Pegg. But Tate turned up for its second season in 2002 and stole many of the scenes she appeared in.
Later in the same year that Tate made her mark with "Big Train," she landed this dark BBC comedy set in a strange town in Cornwall. Her headstrong character runs the local town store and post office with her fictional girlfriend, played by influential comedian Dawn French (of "French and Saunders" fame).
"The Catherine Tate Show"
Tate truly hit her stride when the BBC offered her a chance to do her own sketch comedy series in 2004 (which she co-created with Derren Litten). Over three seasons, Tate soared in popularity and concocted a British tonne of hilarious characters, such as Joannie "Nan" Taylor, a foul-mouthed cockney granny.
The passionate "Doctor Who" fanbase is well aware of Tate's nuanced stint as companion Donna Noble on the BBC series' 2008 season. Her success in the role proved she was more than just a comic actor — and it hints at her potential to bring a Carell-like range of emotions to "The Office."