Catherine Tate has hinted she could return to Doctor Who and "hopes" there will be a female Time Lord one day.

The 47-year-old comedienne portrayed the Doctor's companion Donna Noble from 2006 to 2008 alongside David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor, and she admitted the sci-fi show's bosses are experts in finding ways of bringing back characters fans aren't expecting.

When she sat down with Lorraine Kelly on her morning show, Catherine hinted that she could come back as Donna's great-great grandmother or her great-great granddaughter, referring to the show's time travelling element.

She said: "Yes, it doesn't matter.

"They do tend to find really clever ways of bringing people back where you think, 'There's no way.'"

However, Catherine admitted she isn't expecting to reprise her role as Donna after her character departed at the end of series four, when she effectively saved the universe at a huge cost after having her memory wiped.

She said: "With my character I don't think she could because of the nature of how she left ... she sort of can't come back."