1)In Catherine Tate, we have another person who was apparently a big deal in the UK, but of whom I had somehow managed never to hear prior to her appearance in the program. The impression I have is that there was alot of fear that all she could do was comedy and wouldn't have the dramatic chops necessary for the part. In the end, I thought she did quite well - certainly she does comedy very well, but she demonstrated the necessary range here.
2)Nice work from Sarah Parish as the Empress of the Racnoss, as well. Over the top, sure - but how else do you play an ancient spider queen?
3)Tennant seems a bit washed out, here. From the extras, I get the impression that he was missing Piper almost as much as the Doctor was misisng Rose. He got pretty dark there at the end - you could see how scary how could be if he ever got out of control. It's kind of similar vibe to what I get from Reed Richards sometimes, how if he ever lost it, he'd make Dr.Doom look like a small-timer.
4)Sad seeing poor Howard Attfield - as much as I loved Bernard Cribbins' performances as Wilfred Mott, it's a shame they had to happen because of Attfield's illness.
5)Some fun quotes:
Overall: Interesting debut of what at the time I thought was going to be a one-time character. Be an interesting "what if" - if Donna'd gone with him the first time.
Holly and I knew her from The Catherine Tate show prior to this (thanks, BBC America!) and, I believe, she did the skit with Tennant as a sub teacher for a class her snotty teen character was taking the year before her Donna days. Maybe.
She's now a regular on The Office.
Oh, and the Empress' "Who is this little physician?" may be Holly's favorite Doctor Who line.
Donna is Tracy's favorite companion, second only to Rose.
I feel the same way about Donna that you, Bob, feel about Rose.
Wait...so isn't Rose Tracy's favorite companion then?
He did say "Second only to Rose".
Then she can't be the favorite. ;)