1) She is besties with Ten AND doesn’t want him romantically.
As we’ve already discussed, there’s nothing less appealing in a companion than an unrequited crush on the Doctor. Donna let’s us know from the very beginning that she isn’t interested in “mating” with her alien boy. The relationship they have is completely platonic and the Doctor is better for it. When he loses his best friend at the end of series 4, that’s when the Doctor becomes the creepy Timelord Victorious, and we all know what that leads to.
2) She’s the most awesome temp in Chiswick.
Shorthand, filing, and at least 100 words per minute. Donna’s secretarial skills not only get her a high profile secretary gig in London, but help the Doctor discern why the planets have disappeared in S04E12&13 and she figures out a pretty complicated numbering system of an alien race S04E06. Even though it hurts when the Doctor tells her she isn’t “special” when he first meets Donna, we know, by the end of their time together, he definitely feels differently.
The Oods predicted the conglomeration of Timelord and human DNA in S03E03, “Planet of the Ood,” but viewers had no idea the catchy phrase “Doctor-Donna-Friend” would ever mean anything more than an introduction of the pair to the Ood. My favorite thing ever in Series 4 is when Donna and the TARDIS create 10.5 and Donna from Chiswick becomes the DoctorDonna, as in, she has Timelord DNA working in her brain and is super duper smart all of a sudden. My little heart goes all wibbley-wobbley when Donna outwits the Dalek Emperor and has a Timelord-y conversation with the Doctor. Plus, there’s two David Tennant’s running around in that episode, which Donna deals with much differently than River would (Spoilers!).
4) S03E01, “Runaway Bride”.
Catherine Tate creates a character with Donna Noble in that very first episode of series 3 and then proceeds to exit the show for a year while the Doctor travels with Martha Jones. What Wholigan doesn’t want pockets in her wedding gown precisely because of this episode?? Regardless of time spent apart from the Doctor, Donna Noble comes back in series 4 strong and consistent as ever, and it feels as if she never left. Regardless of how campy the Racnos villain is in this episode, I watch it again and again just to see the Doctor and Donna go back and forth.
5) The comedic timing between Ten and Donna is perfect.
Whenever I need to smile after a crappy day at work and chocolate and/or beer just doesn’t do the trick, I go to Ten and Donna. These two have really great comedic timing, not just as Doctor and companion, but as actors and friends. When Donna scoffs at the Doctor’s wit, when she yells at him or makes fun of him, it’s funny because no one else dares do it and because of the chemistry between the two. Don’t believe me? Check out this short skit for Comic Relief 2007 with David Tennant and Catherine Tate. Am I bovvered??
6) She talks crap to the Shadow Proclamation.
Donna is one of the few humans who interact with the Shadow Proclamation, and when she does, they look down on her because of her humanity. She proceeds to put them in their place, just as she does everyone else who tries to judge her because of who she is (or is not). Regardless of when or where Donna travels, the experiences only change her for the better. She becomes stronger and smarter during her time with the Doctor, and she isn’t afraid to show it.
7) She talks crap to the Doctor.
From the first day they meet, Donna remains fairly unimpressed with the Doctor and his lifestyle. She pulls him away from his imminent death with the Racnos, begs him to go back for at least a single family in Pompeii and she reminds him how to nurture when he meets his daughter, Jenny. Donna continuously has faith in the Doctor, but she refuses to allow him to fall back into a pattern of violence and noncaring, which is why he desperately needs her. I would go so far as to say Donna helps turn Ten–a fierce, jaded warrior with a broken heart, into Eleven–a goofy, fun-loving god of all space and time who is willing to open his heart and make friends, even though it promises to hurt in the end.
The writers use Wilf, Donna’s grandfather, to foreshadow the death of Ten, but we don’t even know he’s related to the companion the first time we see him. RTD did a great job keeping Wilf relevant and fun throughout the series, and he really is a great character. Wilf loves Donna unconditionally, which is why she tells him the truth about her travels and why he can keep the secrets of the Doctor after Donna forgets life in the time vortex. Plus, when Wilf knocks on the door to the radiation chamber 4 times and the Doctor looks up at him, maaaaan, the feels! Every time. Every damn time.
9) S04E11, “Turn Left”.
Although she believes herself to be just an unimportant temp from Chiswick, ”Turn Left,” reveals a great enough power in Donna Noble to create an entire alternate universe around one tiny act of turning left instead of right, and onto the path of the Doctor. Plus, we get Donna and Rose interacting, although Donna doesn’t know who the blonde woman is at the time. This is the episode we begin to realize how integral Donna Noble is to the story of the Doctor, something even Rose seems to understand over in her alternate universe (as does River Song, when they meet in the Library S04E08&09).
10) Donna is the most important woman in all of creation, but she’ll never remember it.
The rueful fate of Donna Noble is not just the title to a Murray Gold series 4 soundtrack song but the whole truth. When the Doctor wipes Donna’s memory their interactions so her human brain will not burn up with Timelord knowledge, we know it isn’t fair. Watching the Doctor say goodbye to his best friend, who helped save the universe and traveled across space and time with him, well, it is more than a little disheartening, especially when she completely blows him off without even knowing what she’s doing. Donna wanted to travel with the Doctor for longer than just series 4, but it just wasn’t meant to be. After the Doctor loses Donna, he travels by himself (which is never a good idea), goes all Timelord Victorious, defeats a bleach-blond Master and eventually, regenerates into Eleven. Still, Donna has no idea of what she accomplished across the universe, and so she goes out thinking she really is only a nobody, temp from Chiswick.
The Collectiva Diva
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- What Would You Do if You Met Your Favorite Fictional Character? (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- DOCTOR WHO: A Companion’s Companion – Series 4 and Specials (nerdist.com)
- Why Do Whovians Hate Martha Jones? (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Donna Noble – Ginger Mimosa (doctorwhococktails.wordpress.com)