Donna Noble

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Name: Donna Noble
Occupation: Temp, companion
Relationships: The Doctor, Lee, Shaun Temple, granddaughter of Wilfred Mott
Fandom: Doctor Who
Other: played by the actor and comedian Catherine Tate
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Donna Noble was one of The Doctor's companions during the Tenth Doctor era of Doctor Who.

Her relationship with the Doctor in canon was a strong friendship, without the shippy vibes that cropped up with several of the other New Who companions.

Character Bio

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Donna Noble lives in Chiswick, London, England, where she lives with her mother Sylvia and grandfather Wilfred Mott and works as a temp. She first meets the Tenth Doctor when she is mysteriously transported into his TARDIS as she walks down the aisle to get married. The Doctor's emotions are raw, but Donna's forceful personality shakes him from his grief and her odd situation captures his curiosity.

In the end, Donna is left grieving, as her fiance turns out to be the antagonist of her adventure. Alarmed by what she has seen, she declines to travel with the Doctor. However, they have by now established a friendship and respect for one another. Donna acknowledges the Doctor's loss, and he accepts her preference for staying home.

Later, however, Donna regrets passing up the opportunity. Her father died shortly after her failed wedding, and her mother is impatient with her lack of direction in life. No longer content with temporary office work, she tries traveling, though nothing can live up to the TARDIS. She tries investigating strange happenings in the city - and to her surprise in the endeavor meets the Doctor again. Together they save the world from the Adipose. She observes his improved emotional state, and belatedly accepts his invitation to travel with him.

Unlike Rose Tyler and Martha Jones, Donna is a grown woman when she meets the Doctor, and harbors no illusions of romance. She stands up forcefully to the Doctor when she thinks he's wrong, and stands by him just as forcefully when he needs her. When Martha calls the Doctor back to Earth, the two women meet, and the Doctor fears the sparks that erupted when Rose first met Sarah Jane Smith. However, Donna has a maturity, levelness, and generosity of spirit that are new to him, and she greets Martha - and later, the Doctor's accidental daughter Jenny - warmly.

Traveling with the Doctor to the Library, Donna meets River Song, and is surprised to find she is known. Here she gets her first hint that her days with the Doctor could be numbered. Under threat from the Vashta Nerada, she is uploaded by the Library computer CAL; in this virtual universe, she meets and marries Lee, and they have two children together. She still has glimpses of the Doctor, and begins to suspect her life is not what it seems, suspicions confirmed by a visit from the deformed upload of Miss Evangelista. When the Doctor negotiates a truce with the Vashta Nerada and the Library downloads people again, she looks for Lee in the crowd, but misses him when his stutter prevents him from calling out to her.

When Donna visits a fortune teller on the planet Shan Shen, she is infected by a Time Beetle, which causes her to make a different choice in her own past, turning right when she had previously turned left. As a result, an alternate timeline is created where she never meets the Doctor. He is killed in his encounter with the Racnoss; without his intervention, the world is drastically changed from the world Donna previously knew. A meeting with a mysterious blonde woman saves her life: when the Starship Titanic crashes to Earth, destroying London, Donna and her family are safely out of town. However, their lives are never the same. Work becomes hard to come by; housing is assigned; eventually, foreign nationals, like the Italian neighbors her family has befriended, are shipped to labour camps in a scenario reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Donna's forceful personality is no help to her in this world.

However, the mysterious blonde woman intervenes again, persuading Donna to travel in time and change her own fate for the better of the world. Landing too far away, Donna allows herself to be killed, in order to persuade her other self to turn left instead of right and restore the timeline in which she meets the Doctor. Back on Shan Shen, the beetle falls away, and Donna remembers only the mysterious woman's last words: Bad Wolf. The Doctor recognizes the warning, and together they race back to Earth.

In the battle against Davros and the Daleks, Donna witnesses a partial regeneration - in which the Doctor channels the extra energy into the dismembered hand he lost during his last regeneration, which Captain Jack Harkness carried around with him until the two were reunited. Trapped in a dissolving TARDIS with the strangely glowing hand, she accidentally touches it, bringing about the Meta-Crisis. A second Doctor grows from the hand, a part-human version with many of Donna's personality traits and a single heart, while Donna herself gets the Doctor's mind. Together, Donna and the Meta-Crisis Doctor return to Davros' ship, where Donna distracts the Daleks and the Meta-Crisis destroys them, saving the Time Lord Doctor and his cohort of companions.

Donna and the Doctor both know her Meta-Crisis mind is short-lived, but she resists as long as she can. She helps the Doctor return his companions to their homes, including persuading Rose to accept the Meta-Crisis Doctor as her Doctor and keep him with her in Pete's World. Then, as the Time Lord mind burns her brain, they realize the only way to save her is to destroy every shred of the Doctor in her mind, including every memory of her time with him. She begs him not to do it, but the Doctor can't let her die.

Donna wakes up at home with her mother and Wilf, and briefly greets their friend John Smith, of whom she has no memory. The Doctor is gone from her mind.

Over a very strange Christmas, Sylvia and Shaun, Donna's fiance, briefly take on the face of a stranger. Donna runs out to find that everyone in London - in the world - has the same face. She calls her grandfather, who seems to be himself, but can't help; then, as the strange identical people approach, she faints. When she wakes, everything is restored, and she's left with the sense of having missed something important - which of course she has.

Donna goes on to marry Shaun, and receives the gift of a lottery ticket from her grandfather's mysterious friend. She doesn't know how valuable a lottery ticket from a time traveler can be.


{Initial negative reaction viz Runaway Bride, turning into much-beloved companion over the course of Series 4?}

Donna Noble's story is heartbreaking. Of all the companions we've met so far in the revived Doctor Who, I'd argue that her arc is one of the widest and definitely the saddest. I was going to say "tragic", but apparently Aristotle's theory of tragedy involves a reversal of fortune that is down to an action taken by the hero. Donna, instead, is caught in the web of fate, tying her inexorably to the Doctor. [...] Fate has not been kind to Donna, but without her the universe would have suffered beyond belief. She might never know it, but she was completely magnificent.[1]



Probably the most common trope in Donna Noble stories is fixing the end of series 4, which many fans were unhappy with for taking away Donna’s memories and thus the character development that had happened over the course of the series. Fanworks are often focused on the canon friendship between Donna and the Doctor or are focused on the Doctor/Donna relationship as romantic pairing.




  • Don't Slow Down by seduff, dashafeather said of Don't Slow Down, "This is very well edited, fast paced, and truly captures the YAY-BFF feeling series 4 had."[2]



  1. ^ Being Magnificent: the journey of Donna Noble essay by torn_eledhwen at Idol Reflection, 23 Aug 2009. (Accessed 4 Feb 2012)
  2. ^ fanvid recs, part 1 post by dashafeather, 21 Feb 2010. (Accessed 4 Feb 2012)