Take the quick wit of Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing, add it to the charisma of John Barrowman and the stage presence of your favorite actor, wrap it all up in one ginger package, and you’ve got Catherine Tate. She started her panel on Friday afternoon in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom by immediately ditching the stage and heading into the audience to do a “who came the farthest” poll. “And it better not have been me!” she said. While the answers were shouted to her, and the rest of us tested our knowledge of geography, there was little question that the attendee from Kazakhstan had definitely traveled the farthest to be in the room.
Tate returned to the stage but eschewed the traditional table and chairs setup for most Q&As at Dragon Con. She prefers to stand in front of the table so it is less like a press conference or “like I’ve been accused of something.” She also prefers to bring people who have questions up on stage, which was a delight for the audience but did cause a bit of a scramble to find stairs to set up at the front to provide access.
There was one disclaimer that Tate was compelled to provide before the Q&A started: “I don’t know whether you know—and I do apologize in advance—I don’t know a lot about sci-fi. Don’t be a hater!”
The disclaimer was hardly necessary, though, because while there were certainly questions about Doctor Who, they also included her time on The Office and onstage with David Tennant in Much Ado About Nothing, her voice acting on Duck Tales, her characters on The Catherine Tate Show, and her time as a comedian and improv performer, including her shorts for Red Nose Day. It would be nearly impossible to document her answers to these questions because of the speed at which Tate thinks on her feet. Regardless, she was sincere, funny, and endlessly entertaining. If you didn’t love her at the start, you certainly ended the hour with a bit of a crush.
Tate has a few more panels remaining this weekend, and I highly recommend you try to catch one. You can see her on the “Doctor Who Q&A: Catherine Tate” panel Sunday at 5:30PM in the Hilton Grand Salon, and with John Barrowman on the “10th Doctor Companions: Donna Noble & Captain Jack Harkness” panel Monday at 11:30AM in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom.