Catherine Tate's 'Hard Cell' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

Hard Cell Character Key Art
'Hard Cell' Character Key Art (Netflix)

Catherine Tate became a household name in America due to her one-two punch of starring as a Doctor Who companion and then on the U.S. remake of The Office. Before that, she was a major star in the U.K., due to the success of The Catherine Tate Show. It was a sketch comedy series where she played a bevy of characters, including Lauren Cooper (who she famously reprised in a Red Nose Day sketch with David Tennant after their run on Doctor Who was over). Also, she played Joanie Taylor, an elderly Nan-type character, which she then went on to star as in Catherine Tate's Nan. Her newest comedy series, Hard Cell, is arriving on Netflix, marking her first production with the streaming service.

The series, in which Tate plays various characters, is set in a fictional women's correctional facility called HMP Woldsley. But this is no Orange Is The New Black type drama. Instead, the six-part series is billed as a mockumentary, suggesting that it will take a cue from her days on The Office, except instead of Dunder-Mifflin, it's a women's prison. Tate, who wrote, directed, and executive produced the series, plays multiple roles, sometimes with herself, including prison staff, psychologists, security guards, and of course, various inmates as well. 

One thing that is striking about the trailer for the new series is, well, home much it feels like an Office knockoff, and not in a good way. Instead, in a world where the prison industrial complex (especially in America) is a hot button topic, this series feels like it rang in from the heyday of The Catherine Tate Show (which aired from 2004-2007), not something that will fly in 2022. But, though perhaps it may stay under the radar for American audiences, it could be a decent-sized hit for Netflix U.K., where the issues aren't as controversial. 


The show's logline is as follows:

Tate plays multiple characters as a documentary crew follows the inmates and staff of HMP Woldsley, capturing the penal system at its brutal, humorous best.

With Tate playing the majority of the characters, it might not seem like there are other cast members to worry about. But she does have a few, including former Catherine Tate Show players Niky Wardley (Call the Midwife) as Anastasia and Lorna Brown (Press) as Cal. Other co-stars include Christian Brassington (Poldark) as Dean; Caroline Harding (Scott & Bailey) as Sal; Jola Olajide (The Power) as Charlee; and Duncan Wisbey (The Hive) as Martin. Tate and Wardley are credited as the show's creative team and Alex Carter (So Awkward).

Hard Cell arrives on Netflix with all six episodes on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, as part of a slew of British titles on Netflix for the month, including The Last Bus, Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, Anatomy of a Scandal, and Heartstopper.