Catherine Tate’s panel at Awesome Con on June 18 was a lot of fun and had a really great energy. She talked about preferring to perform in front of a live audience, either with theater or her comedy shows, and it was evident in how she interacted with her fans and on the stage. At one point, she tried to come down into the audience but was stopped because the mic wouldn’t work. She joked it was her way of buying time to avoid answering sci-fi questions and told people not to ask specific questions because her character’s memory got wiped.
Tate is probably best known in the United States for her role as Donna Noble in Doctor Who, a role she described as “a delight to play.” However, it wasn’t always delightful; Tate talked about how much she hated the running and how David Tennant used to have to find excuses to stop so she could catch up. One of the episodes this is really obvious is “The Fires of Pompeii,” when the Doctor stops because he is out of breath.
She described Donna’s story as “one of the great tragedies within the Doctor Who universe” because she can’t remember. Tate talked about having mixed emotions when she read the script for “Journey’s End.” As an actor, it was exciting because she got to do a wide range of incredible things, like the Doctor/Donna; but it was also sad on a personal level because the job was ending.
What did Donna do with the money she won with that lottery ticket? Tate thinks Donna spent it pretty quickly and went back to temping.
Her favorite line was “You’re not mating with me, Sunshine!”
When asked which first generation Doctor (1-8) would she want to work with as a companion, Tate said she never watched it but chose “The one with the scarf,” because he looks nice. If she had to choose between Christopher Eccleston, Matt Smith, or Peter Capaldi, she would choose Eccleston. Donna and Eccleston’s Doctor would be hilarious together, even if Tate thinks they wouldn’t get anything done because there’d be too much arguing.
A fan asked what inspired her to get into comedy/acting, and she talked about becoming “the funny” one in school as a way to deflect attention. She was shy, which made her an easy target, and realized the best defense was making them laugh.
Tate was asked to recite the sonnet from her skit as Lauren Cooper where David Tennant played her teacher and was able to do it with some help from the audience. She got about halfway through when a few fans got up to leave, and she yelled out, “Where do you think you’re going? I’m doing a sonnet!”
A fan asked if she had any dream roles, and she answered, “Apparently, Wonder Woman’s already been cast,” before explaining she doesn’t really do that. There are roles she’d like to play, but she’s too superstitious to say them. For her, as long as there’s variety in what she’s doing, she’s happy.
Tate told a story of Imelda Staunton coming to talk to one of her classes while she was in drama school. Staunton told them, “There will come a time where you think it’s not going to happen for you and what you have to remember is that it’s someone else’s time and your time will come.” Tate talked about how that’s kind of a double edged sword because there are some people whose time never comes; and it’s a little difficult to stay positive, especially when losing roles to friends and the mixed emotions that come with that. She talked about how she wasn’t sure if it would happen for her and then started writing her own stuff.
You can check out a Periscope of the panel here!