Is Donna Noble the most relatable Doctor Who companion?

by Beth Axford

With the release of series four in steel book format, it’s hard not to get excited about watching the Doctor’s 2008 adventures in HD. The beautifully designed cover and re-release reminded us of one of Doctor Who’s strongest and most wonderful companions – Donna Noble.

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Sophie Cowdrey’s incredible artwork for the series four steelbook.

Over ten years have passed since the series aired and Donna went on her unforgettable journey, a personal one that not many companions have experienced. As well as saving planets and defeating monsters, Donna Noble learned her worth and proved that anyone could change the universe if they put their mind to it. Her family life, friendships and career all featured frustrations that only beat her down, her experiences leading her to want and strive for more. So, what was it that made her so relatable and real?

Her Family

Donna has a complex relationship with her family. Her mother seems to enjoy putting her daughter down and being generally not very supportive of her. We all have a family member who we want to avoid at birthdays and Christmas and it’s particularly terrible if that family member happens to be your parent. Seeing her being treated this way by her mother meant that we were rooting for her from the start, to prove her wrong and be brilliant. Donna’s grandfather Wilf is a firm favourite amongst fandom and the pair have an adorable relationship that creates a sense of family that you just want to be a part of. These elements of her family life tie together to give the audience something to identify with, a world they can see themselves in and people they might see in their everyday lives.

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Donna, Sylvia and Wilf make up the Noble family. 

Her Love Life

Donna has an unfortunate history with her love life, as we see in The Runaway Bride when her fiancé turns out to be working with an alien spider queen that wants to take over the Earth. Her heart seems to be open and she is forthcoming with her interest in men, a situation many of us find ourselves in when it comes to dating. It’s easy to feel like Donna is a friend taking on the struggles of finding someone when she is so open and desperate in her relationship with Lance. He plays on this basic human emotion of wanting to be wanted, something we all feel, and uses it against her in a devastating way. This solidified Donna in our hearts because we feel sorry for her, care for her and most importantly – we are her. We’ve been there, had our hearts broken and all feel lonely at some point or another. Donna’s love life is almost a tragedy that she turns into changing her future – something we all strive towards.

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If it wasn’t for Lance, Donna wouldn’t have even met the Doctor so… all swings and roundabouts, eh?

Her Self Image

Everyone has negative feelings about themselves. Hang-ups, image worries, and anxieties plague us whether we like it or not. Donna starts her journey in Doctor Who with quite a low opinion of herself and often down plays her successes or achievements. We see throughout the series that this probably stems from her family and experiences, but then is continued on in how she perceives herself. We know she’s brilliant and incredible, but she doesn’t see it. This is completely relatable and feeling like you’re not special is something many of us can identify with. Of course, as Doctor Who has taught us, everyone is special, and Donna gets to prove herself in every story she appears in. It’s important to see that a normal woman with a dysfunctional family, disastrous love life and an un-satisfying career can take on the universe and realise the potential she had inside her all along.

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Donna becoming her best self, series four.

Her Appearance

Why does this matter, you may be asking? Well, it’s no secret that Doctor Who’s women are known for being super beautiful and eye-catching and Donna Noble is no exception. However, if you look at the women to have graced our screens in new Who, Donna has a different body type – one that is represented a lot less in television. It is incredibly refreshing to see a woman in the show that looks different because most other new Who women have the same thinner frame and it is an untrue representation of society that all women look this way. This may not be something everyone thinks about, but for many it is hard to watch television and never see your body type represented in what you’re watching. Donna looks like you or me and it is a powerful message to portray in that you can be any shape or size and still be amazing.

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Killin’ it in roman attire.

Her friendship

Last but not least, Donna Noble is truly the best friend we all want to have and be. She is fiercely loyal to the Doctor and her friends and incredibly welcoming to new people like Martha and Jenny during the series. Her kindness goes beyond measure and although her sass can land her into all sorts of situations, her heart is always in the right place. She’s also hilarious and an absolute hoot to watch on screen – exactly the type of mate you’d want to pop down the pub with. These qualities and her personable nature create a character that everyone can relate to – which is why we’ll hold her in our hearts forever.

What are your favourite Donna Noble moments? Tweet us @thetimeladies_ or email us at thetimeladies@yahoo.com.

You can purchase the series four steelbook HERE

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4 Replies to “Is Donna Noble the most relatable Doctor Who companion?”

  1. Donna is my favorite Who companion of all time pretty much for the reasons you mentioned. She wasn’t full of herself. What you saw was what you got. I really liked that about her. She was refreshing.
    I still miss her to this day.
    Wouldn’t an encounter between her and 13 be interesting?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. She is my favourite companion – great post and I agree with DonnaWho? a meeting between her and Dr 13 would be awesome.

    I love her final episode – it still makes me cry, but she is the companion who most resonates with me – great post!

    Like

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