Donna Noble, later Donna Temple-Noble, was a companion to the Tenth Doctor. Despite her ordinary origins, 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.
Donna Noble was the only daughter of Geoff and Sylvia Noble (TV: The Runaway Bride) and the granddaughter of Wilfred. (TV: Partners in Crime) On her first day at School, she was sent home for biting. (TV: 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. (TV: Partners in Crime) She was a lifelong supporter of West Ham United. (TV: Planet of the Ood)
Donna's career consisted mainly of temp jobs. She worked in a library for a while and for two years at a double-glazing firm sometime before June 2007. (TV: The Runaway Bride, The Doctor's Daughter) She missed the Christmas Day Sycorax invasion of Earth due to a hangover and the Cybermen invasion because she was scuba diving in Spain. (TV: 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, she chose the temporary position at H.C. Clements. At the time it was unknown to Donna that the accident was caused by a future version of herself from an alternate timeline. (TV: Turn Left)
At Clements, she 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. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
Meeting the Doctor
At her wedding on Christmas Eve 2007, while 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). (TV: 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 hatbox in case they went to a Planet of the Hats).
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 she was trapped in. Once onboard the TARDIS, Donna had the Doctor fly it to where her grandfather could see them through his telescope and wave them goodbye. (TV: 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. (TV: The Fires of Pompeii)
They next went 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. (TV: Planet of the Ood)
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. (TV: 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 "genetic accident"). 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 by accident when he refused to lay down arms and she intervened, which led to her apparent death. Donna left Messaline with Martha and the Doctor, believing Jenny had perished; however, Jenny survived the gunshot wound and made a full recovery shortly after they departed. (TV: 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). (TV: 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 shop's teleporters, but she failed to make it. (TV: Silence in the Library) Donna's consciousness was "saved" to the planet-core-sized hard drive by CAL when the Doctor tried to teleport her to the TARDIS. Inside the hard drive, Donna experienced several years of a disjointed, idyllic married life and had two children within the space of an hour or two of real time, thanks to the memory alterations of the Doctor Moon security program. 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, having regained the stutter he had lost in the digital world. (TV: Forest of the Dead)
On a visit to the planet Shan Shen, Donna was distracted by a fortune teller while a Time Beetle leapt on her back and changed her history. The Time Beetle caused Donna to have never taken the action which led her to meet the Doctor, creating an alternate world. In the alternate world, Rose gave the alternate Donna a message for the Doctor, before Donna deliberately sacrificed herself to restore reality. Her "normal timeline" 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". (TV: Turn Left)
Against the Daleks
Donna and the Doctor rushed to Earth in 2009, only to find it gone, then 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. (TV: The Stolen Earth)
The TARDIS was taken on board the Crucible and its defences taken down. Donna was separated from the Doctor when, for reasons unknown, 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. To save her life, the Doctor was forced to erase the memories of all their adventures. (TV: 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. (TV: Journey's End)
By Christmas 2009, Donna had got her life back on track; she was engaged to Shaun Temple. She nearly bumped into the Doctor twice. 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 meant she was not affected, 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.
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. 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. (TV: The End of Time)
He also told River Song about his adventures with Donna and what happened to her, years before River's encounter with the Tenth Doctor and Donna. River was so moved by it that even she was shocked when Donna was turned into a node, and even merely at the chance to meet her. (TV: Silence in the Library)
- See Donna's World for more information.
In her original timeline, Donna had simply ignored her mother's advice in June 2007 regarding a job for Jival Chowdry and went to work as a temp for H.C. Clements. Because of interference by the Trickster's Brigade however, an alternate timeline was created where Donna chose to work for Chowdry instead. 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 in the "correct" timeline 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" and taking the fatal job with Chowdry. 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. When the timeline was restored, Donna Noble retained dreamlike memories of the alternate timeline, including the blonde woman and her message to the Doctor: "Bad Wolf". (TV: Turn Left)
Donna worked as a temp secretary in several places, including H.C. Clements and a double glazing firm. (TV: The Runaway Bride, The Sontaran Stratagem) She worked for health and safety for a week and kept the ID card. (TV: Partners in Crime) At some point she worked for six months at Hounslow Library, where she learned the Dewey Decimal System in two days. (TV: 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. (TV: 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. 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. (TV: 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. (TV:Partners in Crime et al.)
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. (TV: The Unicorn and the Wasp) She even helped free the Ood from mass slavery, even though they were not her kind. (TV: Planet of the Ood)
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 the Caecilius family. (TV: 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. (TV: 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!" .(PROSE:Beautiful Chaos, TV:The Fires of Pompeii, TV:The Doctor's Daughter, TV: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 and both were willing to share experiences. The Doctor found this disconcerting. (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem) Her relationship with Rose Tyler was initially abrasive in the alternate timeline (TV: Turn Left) but friendly in the real universe. 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. (TV: 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). (TV: 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". (TV: The Fires of Pompeii, Planet of the Ood, The Doctor's Daughter, The Unicorn and the Wasp) She kissed him, but only to give him a shock as part of his cure for cyanide poisoning. (TV: 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. (TV: 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". (TV: Journey's End) The Doctor reciprocated Donna's feelings, referring to her as his best friend. (TV: 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 "shouting at the universe, because she thinks no one is 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. (TV: 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.
- Doctor Noble was an alias of the Third Doctor.
- If her appearance in TV: Doomsday is counted as the end of Series 2, and her appearance in The Runaway Bride is counted as the beginning of Series 3, she has in fact appeared in three series, four, if one includes the 2009 specials separately from Series 4. This makes her the only companion to appear in all series of the Tenth Doctor.
- 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". (REF: 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 Temple-Noble" means "Lady Time-Lord": Donna is Italian for Lady, one meaning of the word Temple finds origin in the Latin Tempus, and Noble means "of noble birth, such as a Lord or a royal."