Donna Noble as in The Runaway Bride
click on images to enlarge
Donna Noble, later Donna Temple-Noble, was a companion to the Tenth Doctor. Despite her humble beginnings, she was described by both Rose Tyler and the Tenth Doctor as being the most important woman in all of creation, due to the fact that she saved the whole of reality from the Daleks and Davros. To survive the side effects of her transformation into the “DoctorDonna”, her memories of her time with the Doctor were forcibly erased and she was returned to Earth. She later married Shaun Temple, and became Donna Temple-Noble.
Donna Noble was the only daughter of Geoff and Sylvia Noble (The Runaway Bride) and the granddaughter of Wilfred Mott. (Partners in Crime). On her first day of school, she was sent home for biting. (The Runaway Bride) When she was six, her mother refused to take her on holiday. Undaunted, Donna got on a bus, and went on her own to Strathclyde. Her grandfather later reminded her of this incident to buck her up. (Partners in Crime) She was a lifelong supporter of West Ham United. (Planet of the Ood)
Donna received a bottle of Odeur Delaware as a gift from Sylvia Noble at Christmas 2001. (The Widow’s Curse)
Donna’s career consisted mainly of temp jobs. She worked in a library for a while, (The Doctor’s Daughter) and for two years at a double-glazing firm sometime before June 2007. (The Runaway Bride) She missed the Christmas Day Sycorax invasion of Earth due to a hangover and the Cybermen invasion because she was scuba diving in Spain. (The Runaway Bride) As a result, she was unprepared for the existence of alien life when she first encountered it. In June 2007, Donna had the choice of being a full-time secretary for Jival Chowdry or a temporary secretary at H.C. Clements, a security firm in London. Although she considered the former at her mother’s insistence, an accident blocked the traffic in the direction of Jival Chowdry, so instead of waiting in a traffic jam and turning right on Little Sutton Street towards Griffin’s Parade, she chose the temporary position at H.C. Clements by turning left, heading for the Chiswick High Road. At the time it was unknown to Donna that the accident was caused by a future version of herself from a parallel world. (Turn Left)
At Clements, she gradually fell in love with Lance Bennett, whom she pressured into marriage. She planned the wedding, unaware that Lance was dosing her coffee with Huon particles by order of the Empress of the Racnoss, whom he secretly served. (The Runaway Bride)
MEETING THE DOCTOR
At her wedding on Christmas Eve 2007, while she was walking down the aisle with her father, Huon particles reacted with her elevated emotional state and teleported Donna into the Doctor‘s TARDIS. Robot Santas prevented the Doctor returning her in time for her wedding, but he got her there for the reception; when she found the wedding party and guests had started without her, she was furious. When a robotic Christmas tree fired explosives at the wedding guests, Donna and the Doctor investigated H.C. Clements. The trail led to an abandoned secret Torchwood base under the Thames where Lance and the Empress of the Racnoss revealed their plans. Donna was heartbroken after learning Lance had been toying with her feelings up to this point, but still pitied his death when the Empress betrayed him and fed Lance to her children. Donna helped the Doctor defeat the Empress and pulled him away from the Empress‘ death, saving his life. However, she turned down his offer to travel with him, frightened by what he had done and could do (such as making the TARDIS. trigger snow). (The Runaway Bride)
JOINING THE DOCTOR
As a result of her encounter with the Doctor, Donna’s eyes were opened to the universe, and she could not resume her old life. Also following this encounter, Donna’s father, Geoff Noble, died and Wilfred Mott, her grandfather on her mother’s side, moved in with them. Donna tried to live without the Doctor. She went to Egypt for two weeks on holiday looking for some excitement. When this failed, she began investigating unexplained events, knowing the Doctor always ran into trouble and hoping that she would be able to encounter the Doctor again. She also took a thermos of coffee up to her grandfather when he was looking at the stars.
In 2009, she finally caught up with the Doctor while looking into Adipose Industries. After Donna stopped the birthing of the Adipose from fatally converting human tissue into Adipose young, she witnessed the March of the Adipose and began to travel with the Doctor in the TARDIS. Unlike most companions of the Doctor, she was well prepared for the trip having packed several suitcases (including a hat box in case they went to the “Planet of the Hats”). The Doctor was reluctant at first, but agreed after Donna assured him that she, unlike his two previous companions, harbored no romantic feelings for him.
Just before she left, whilst trying to find a suitable place to leave her car keys, she approached a blonde woman standing at a police line; it was Rose Tyler, who had briefly returned from the parallel universe in which she was trapped. Once on board the TARDIS, Donna had the Doctor fly it to where her grandfather could see them through his telescope and wave him goodbye. (Partners in Crime)
TRAVELS WITH THE DOCTOR
After leaving home, Donna and the Doctor went to Pompeii on the day Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. She tried to convince him to stop the eruption, but he called it impossible stating that it was a fixed point in time. She and the Doctor were ultimately responsible for the eruption; however, she convinced him to save one family from the devastation who subsequently worshiped the Doctor and Donna as household gods. (The Fires of Pompeii)
After that, Donna and the Doctor travelled to the Ood Sphere in 4126 and discovered the Ood‘s servitude was caused by removal of the Ood’s forebrain and the “third element”, the controlling Ood Brain, being blocked. When they parted, Ood Sigma referred to Donna as DoctorDonna. Neither the Doctor nor Donna realised the significance of the statement at the time. (Planet of the Ood)
Next, The Doctor and Donna were called to Earth by the Doctor‘s former companion Martha Jones, who now worked for UNIT. Donna went home to see her family. She was terrified when her grandfather almost died from the Sontarans‘ sezerfine gas emitted by ATMOS. When the TARDIS was taken by the Sontarans with Donna still on board, Donna activated the teleporters to allow the Doctor to bring it back to Earth. She agreed with her grandfather that her mother Sylvia should not know about her travels in the TARDIS. (The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky)
The TARDIS was pulled off course, with Martha Jones inside, to the planet Messaline in 6012. The Doctor had his DNA synthesised and grown into a full-sized clone. Donna dubbed the “daughter” that resulted from the synthesisation Jenny (as the Doctor had called her a “generated anomaly”). She witnessed the end of hostilities between humans and Hath when the Doctor opened the terraforming device (the Source) inside the Temple. She also watched General Cobb shoot Jenny when he refused to lay down arms, which led to her apparent death. Donna left Messaline with Martha and the Doctor, believing Jenny had perished. (The Doctor’s Daughter)
Donna met Agatha Christie in 1926 and killed a Vespiform by throwing the Firestone into a lake to save Agatha’s life. During this adventure, she influenced the creation of Miss Marple and Murder on the Orient Express by mentioning them to Christie years before they were created; although Christie’s memories of the incident were wiped, some unconscious memories remained. Donna muttered that she should have gotten Christie to sign a contract when she had the chance (so they could split the copyright). (The Unicorn and the Wasp)
The Doctor received a message on his psychic paper from Professor River Song. She called him to the Library in the 51st century to help a team of archaeologists representing the Felman Lux Corporation to investigate the planet, which had been sealed off a century earlier with the message “4022 saved. No survivors.” However, her message reached the Doctor at a point in his time stream where he had no idea who she was. The group discovered the Library was infested by Vashta Nerada. The Doctor teleported Donna back to the TARDIS with the ship’s teleporters, but she never made it to the TARDIS. (Silence in the Library). Donna’s consciousness was “saved” to the planet’s Data Core hard drive by CAL. Inside the hard drive, Donna experienced several years of a disjointed, idyllic married life and had two children within the space of less than a day, thanks to the memory alterations of the Doctor Moon virus checker. Miss Evangelista, whose data ghost had been uploaded via the Library’s Wi-Fi, warned Donna that her world wasn’t real. When River sacrificed her life to rescue the “saved” people inside the hard drive, Donna assumed that her husband “Lee McAvoy” was just a part of her simulation like her children. The real “Lee” saw Donna but was teleported away before he could call to her or reach her. (Forest of the Dead)
On a visit to the planet Shan Shen, Donna was distracted by a fortune teller while a Time Beetle leaped on her back and created an alternate world in which she never met the Doctor. In the alternate world, Rose gave the alternate Donna a message for the Doctor, before Donna deliberately sacrificed herself to make her “normal” self turn left on Little Sutton Street, heading for the Chiswick High Road. Her “normal” version barely remembered Rose and her message; however with the Doctor‘s prompting she was able to remember and give the Doctor her message: “Bad Wolf”. (Turn Left)
AGAINST THE DALEKS
Donna and the Doctor rushed to Earth in 2009, only to find it taken from underneath them. They then went to the Shadow Proclamation for help. They traced the Earth, along with twenty-six other missing planets, to the Medusa Cascade, where the planets had been hidden by being placed one second out of sync with the rest of the universe. As the Doctor reunited with Rose, he was shot by a Dalek and rushed into the TARDIS with Rose, Jack and Donna. As a result, the Doctor began regenerating but was able to use some of the regeneration energy to heal himself before funnelling the remaining energy into a matching bio-receptacle — his spare hand — and stop the regeneration. (The Stolen Earth)
The TARDIS was taken on board the Crucible and its defences were taken down. Donna was separated from the Doctor when the TARDIS refused to let her leave when the others surrendered to the Daleks. Donna reached out toward the Doctor‘s hand when the TARDIS was being sent to the core of the Crucible to be destroyed. The regeneration energy stored in the Doctor‘s hand interacted with Donna and created a being who looked like the Doctor, but was half human and had aspects of Donna’s personality.
When Donna tried to use the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor‘s Z-Neutrino Biological Inversion Catalyser on the Daleks, Davros electrocuted her. The electrical shock on Donna stimulated her brain, awakened the Time Lord DNA that transferred to her during the two-way biological meta-crisis, and gave her “the best part of the Doctor — his mind,” rendering her the “DoctorDonna” of the Ood’s prophecy.
She used her new-found intellect to deactivate the reality bomb and disable the circuitry on the Daleks‘ controls, and helped use the magnetron to bring twenty-six of the planets back to their rightful places in the universe. The Meta-Crisis Doctor, fulfilling one of Dalek Caan‘s prophecies, destroyed the Daleks. When the Supreme Dalek wrecked the magnetron, Earth was the last planet still in the Cascade. Donna helped the Doctor and his companions to “tow” the Earth to its proper place in the galaxy with the TARDIS.
After assisting the Doctor in exiling the Meta-Crisis Doctor to Pete’s World and saying farewell to Rose, Donna’s mind overloaded, a consequence of the unbearable Time Lord-human meta-crisis. Donna now had a second mind in the form of the Doctor‘s knowledge and some of his personality aspects, which started to encroach on her original mind and overwhelm it. To save her life, the Doctor was forced to erase the memories of all their adventures against her wishes and bring her home, which suppressed her “DoctorDonna” alter ego. (Journey’s End)
BACK TO EARTH
The Doctor took Donna home, with strict instructions to her mother and grandfather never to tell her about the TARDIS or him. The Donna who had saved the universe was dead, fulfilling another of Dalek Caan‘s prophecies. Donna was left to her “normal” life. Wilfred, her grandfather, promised to keep thinking of the Doctor on her behalf, and never to mention the Doctor to her as that might trigger her memory of events and cause her mind to “burn up”, killing her. (Journey’s End)
By Christmas 2009, Donna had got her life back on track; she was engaged to Shaun Temple. According to her grandfather though, she and Shaun had some financial issues as neither had good jobs. She nearly bumped into the Doctor twice, once while Christmas shopping during which she angrily warned a nearby traffic warden to leave her car alone. For Christmas, she gave Wilf a book by Joshua Naismith, but did not know exactly why, saying that she simply felt like he should have it. The Doctor surmised it was her Time Lord subconscious directing Wilf, since he was so important.
On Christmas Day, the Master turned every human into versions of himself. Donna’s half-Time Lord mind caused her not to transform, but her mother and Shaun were. The shock of seeing them transformed into duplicates of the Master reawakened some of the memories of her travels with the Doctor. Visions of aliens she had met appeared in her mind. She called Wilf and was told to run for her life. She ran, but was cornered by Master duplicates in an alley, and was beginning to break down over the rush of recovered memories. However, the Doctor had also implanted a form of mental self-defence in her mind that released a blast of energy, putting Donna to sleep and knocking the Master facsimiles unconscious.
While Gallifrey appeared in the sky hurtling towards Earth, Shaun found her unconscious and brought her home. She came to when the TARDIS appeared in the street and complained that she had, yet again, missed something important. Sylvia was just amused when Donna said that as she knew Donna to be safe.
Donna’s memories of the Doctor apparently never returned. In spring 2010, she and Shaun were married and left the church with family and friends cheering them on. Donna asked for a photograph of her friends and her, allowing her mother and grandfather to speak with the Doctor one last time. They returned and gave Donna an envelope holding a gift from her deceased father and the Doctor, a lottery ticket the Doctor bought with money borrowed from her father. Although she considered it to be a cheap present, she remembered that the next lottery draw had a triple roll-over prize before stuffing it in her dress for safekeeping; both Sylvia and Wilf knew that the Doctor had made sure it was a winning ticket and thus secured Donna’s financial future. (The End of Time)
In a meeting between companions of the Doctor organised by Alice Obiefune, Donna walked in. However, as she could not remember the Doctor she realised she was in the wrong room and went on her way. (The Meeting)
When the Doctor discovered what the Manus Maleficus was capable of doing, he was momentarily tempted to use it to save Donna from burning up without wiping her memories. (The Crimson Hand)
At some point, he also told River Song about Donna and what happened to her. When River eventually encountered the Tenth Doctor and Donna, she was visibly moved when she realised who Donna was. (Silence in the Library)
At some point, Donna was taken to the Black Archive by UNIT to have her record as a companion of the Doctor taken. Her memories of the visit were subsequently erased and she was sent on her way. (The Day of the Doctor)
In a parallel world in June 2007, Donna decided to work for Chowdry instead of H.C. Clements by turning right on Little Sutton Street towards Griffin’s Parade. She was promoted to his personal assistant that December, when she saw the Racnoss Webstar attack central London. There, she saw the deceased Tenth Doctor carried away by UNIT troops and a blonde woman, Rose Tyler, arrive, apparently by mistake.
Over the next two years Donna met Rose at several alien encounters which the Doctor would have prevented, had he not died in 2007.
After Mr Chowdry laid off Donna, she won a trip to Firbourne House on a raffle ticket she found with the office supplies she had taken. While there, over Christmas 2008, the Titanic crashed into London, destroying it. Donna’s family was relocated to Leeds.
Rose knew she needed Donna as well as the Doctor to stop the stars from going out throughout the multiverse as timelines had been converging on Donna since her birth. In 2009, Donna agreed to be sent back to June 2007 in a jury-rigged time machine; her task was to prevent her younger self from turning right on Little Sutton Street and taking the fatal job with Chowdry, instead getting a job at H.C. Clements by turning left towards the Chiswwick High Road. Unable to get there in time, the alternate Donna Noble threw herself in front of a lorry to cause a traffic jam that would physically prevent her younger self from making that decision. Just before her death, Rose appeared to Donna and gave her a message for the Doctor. Donna retained dreamlike memories of the world, including the blonde woman and her message to the Doctor: “Bad Wolf“. (Turn Left)
Donna worked as a temp secretary in several places, including H.C. Clements and a double glazing firm. (The Runaway Bride, The Sontaran Stratagem) She worked for health and safety for two days and kept the ID card. (Partners in Crime) At some point she worked for six months at Hounslow Library, where she learned the Dewey Decimal System in two days. (The Doctor’s Daughter)
Donna’s first encounter with the Doctor was bewildering for both: the Doctor was shocked into speechlessness by her sudden appearance in his TARDIS; Donna was furious with him for “kidnapping” her and twice slapped him in the face when he was overexcited in the face of her missed wedding and imminent danger or death. (Doomsday, The Runaway Bride) Though Donna’s sharp tongue and hair-trigger temper kept the Doctor at arm’s length for most of their first adventure, quieter moments showed a more level-headed and perceptive woman. (The Runaway Bride) Although she sometimes appeared unintelligent and persistently referred to herself as “only a temp”, she was actually quite smart: she mastered the Dewey Decimal System in two days of work at a library. (The Doctor’s Daughter) When she joined the Doctor in his journeys, her quick and sometimes dry wit often came out, syncing with his own. (Partners in Crime)
Donna’s fiery temper hid a deep well of compassion. She reached out to Agatha Christie, trying to share her own story of failed marriage. (The Unicorn and the Wasp) She helped free the Ood from mass slavery. (Planet of the Ood) When the Doctor was forced to make the terrible choice of destroying Pompeii to save the world, something Donna had tried and failed to get him to stop as it was a fixed point in time, Donna took some of the burden on herself by helping him push the lever to trigger the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. (The Fires of Pompeii)
Though most companions were, to some degree, the Doctor‘s conscience, Donna adopted this role more openly and forcefully than her predecessors. She pleaded with the Doctor to save the inhabitants of Pompeii — if not all of them, then a single family — and got her way with Caecilius’ family. (The Fires of Pompeii) Donna insisted that the Doctor acknowledge Jenny as his daughter, no matter how she was created or what job she was trained for. (The Doctor’s Daughter)
Likewise, travelling with the Doctor made Donna a better person. He tempered her sharp tongue and brought out a more clever, compassionate aspect of her personality. She acknowledged that in the past, she had been selfish, always putting herself first. Travelling with the Doctor changed that: she started looking out for others, automatically helping where she might not have before. In some instances, she became almost motherly towards the Doctor, telling him to take care, reprimanding him when his actions were found wanting, automatically fixing his tie, etc. He even once stated that “she [Donna] takes care of me!” (Beautiful Chaos, The Fires of Pompeii, The Doctor’s Daughter, The Sontaran Stratagem)
When the Doctor’s former companion, Martha Jones, recalled the Doctor to Earth, she and Donna became fast friends; neither was jealous of one another, and both were willing to share experiences. The Doctor found this disconcerting. (The Sontaran Stratagem) Her relationship with Rose Tyler was initially abrasive in the parallel world (Turn Left) but friendly in the Doctor’s world. She also enjoyed an attraction to Captain Jack Harkness, which at one point involved her pushing Sarah Jane Smith out of the way to get a hug from him. (Journey’s End)
Unlike Rose and Martha, Donna was intent on maintaining a platonic relationship with the Doctor reacting with disgust when she misinterpreted his comment, “I just want a mate”, (friend) as, “I just want to mate”, (breed). (Partners in Crime) Both the Doctor and Donna also corrected many people who thought they were married, saying things like, “We’re so not married. Never”. (The Fires of Pompeii, Planet of the Ood, The Doctor’s Daughter, The Unicorn and the Wasp) She did kiss him, but only to give him a shock as part of his cure for cyanide poisoning. (The Unicorn and the Wasp) She was very supportive of the Doctor, at one point forcing him to admit that despite the potential collapse of universes, Rose‘s return was still a good thing. (The Stolen Earth) She also supported the Doctor when the time came to leave the Meta-Crisis Doctor and Rose behind on Pete’s World. Dalek Caan referred to Donna as “the most faithful companion”. Just before her memories were wiped, she tearfully echoed Rose‘s earlier desire to travel with the Doctor “forever”. (Journey’s End) The Doctor reciprocated Donna’s feelings, referring to her as his best friend. (The End of Time)
The Meta-Crisis Doctor, working from his original template’s memories, recognised that Donna’s brash attitude arose from her belief that she was unimportant; she was “[s]houting at the world, ’cause [she thought] no one’s listening.” The original Doctor attributed this to her mother never telling Donna she was important to her, and told Sylvia to tell her that more often. (Journey’s End)
BEHIND THE SCENES
The name Donna Noble was not revealed to the public until promotional material began to circulate for The Runaway Bride. In the closing credits of Doomsday, the character is only identified as “The Bride”.
Originally the new companion for Series 4 was meant to be a completely new character, and showrunner Russell T Davies had begun thinking of a Donna-like character called Penny Carter. After Catherine Tate indicated that not only had she had a great time filming The Runaway Bride, but was interested in doing a full series, Donna was brought back as a series regular. Penny Carter was later rewritten as a minor role in Partners in Crime.
A deleted scene from Journey’s End included in the Series 4 DVD Box Set showed Donna, after her mind-wipe, reacting with recognition to the sound of the departing TARDIS, but dismissing it. This scene was removed to avoid creating a discontinuity; if Donna remembered anything about the Doctor or her travels with him, her mind would burn up.
Due to timing and her short tenure on the series, Donna appears in only two comic strip stories published in Doctor Who Magazine, and two Doctor Who comics by IDW Publishing.
Russell T Davies has stated that he sees Donna as how the First Doctor’s companion Barbara Wright would be presented today: “an equal to the Doctor, a friend, a mate, a challenge”. (The Writer’s Tale)
In the commentary for The End of Time, Russell T Davies stated that Donna’s wedding to Shaun Temple takes place in spring 2010.
In a very crude translation, the name “Donna Noble-Temple” means “Lady Lord (of) Time”: Donna is Italian for Lady, Noble means “of noble birth”, such as a Lord or a royal, and finally the words Temple andTime (Templum andTempus in Latin) share an origin from Proto-Indo-European.
Catherine Tate announced in January 2016 that she would not return to the show as Donna Noble after the departure of Clara Oswald.
Donna was dubbed by Kordula Leiße in the German dub of Doctor Who, with the exception of Doomsday, where she was dubbed by Elisabeth Günther. In Italian, she was dubbed by Alessandra Korompay in all but The Runaway Bride, where she was dubbed by Monica Vulcano. In French, she was dubbed by Carole Baillien.
Donna later returned twice in 2016, in three audio dramas and a novel.