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Let Me Put My Suggestions In You: Why I Think Donna Noble Is The Best Doctor Who Companion Ever

Hey nerds, sorry it’s been so long since I have written. But I am going to give you a good old opinion-laden post today to make up for it. Your favorite Lilith might have been too busy to write the last two weeks, but that doesn’t mean I stopped enjoying all things geek. And in my attempt to catch up to the legendary Whovians among the Evil Geeks I have successfully watched the first four seasons (well, the first four of the reboot that is) of Doctor Who. That means I have completed up until the last of the David Tennant season, but have not gotten to partake in any Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi episodes yet. What it does mean is that I have gotten to know Martha Jones, Rose Tyler, and Donna Noble, as well as some other companions, pretty well. And like a true Evil Geek, I have opinions to be expressed. So here you are folks (with some associated spoilers as well).

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I started watching the Doctor Who show with Eccleston as the Doctor and Rose Tyler as his companion. If I am completely honest, I was initially not that impressed. There were some things here and there that I liked about the series, like the questionable morality, and of course the constant barraging with soft science fiction. But by mid-way through that season I was a bit of an addict, and I particularly enjoyed the relationship developing between Rose and the Doctor. She was obviously so head over heels in love with him, and you just wanted them to be together (like most dramas with a relationship teetering on the edge with full commitment).

But then Rose is forced to move on in an alternate universe, which was the only way that she could have lived. To her that was not living, as a life without the Doctor seemed unbearable. I’ll admit, I shed a few tears when she said her parting words to the Doctor in Bad Wolf Bay. Yet the Doctor has lived for centuries, and already had tons of companions, so he needed to move on.

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In Season 3 he picked up Martha Jones, an intelligent and aspiring medical student (whom if you watched closely is played by the same actress killed by cybermen a season before). Martha also has a crush on the Doctor, but it is obvious the feeling is not mutual. But what is more of it, the Doctor seems like he can’t get over the loss of Rose and his relationship (or strictly platonic one) with her. I do enjoy Martha a bit more than Rose the more I watch the series, mainly because she has the smarts to keep on living her life rather than being devastated by the Doctor’s lack of interest in her. And she’s one smart cookie that doesn’t really need the Doctor to make her something.

Just before we meet Martha Jones, we get a quick glimpse of Donna Noble in the Christmas Special The Runaway Bride. After Martha and the Doctor part ways so that Martha can go on with her life, the Doctor and Donna end up reuniting in the most unique of circumstances. And the Doctor found his new companion!

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Now comes my not-holding-back-at-all opinion folks. You see, I can’t talk about future companions with Matt Smith’s Doctor, or Capaldi’s, as I have not met them yet. So my opinion still might have the chance to change, but for now I must confess that Donna Noble was the best companion of all time. Why do you ask? Let’s start with some faults of the others.

Rose, oh Rose. I was surprised to hear that the UK voted her the “Best Companion of All Time” for the Doctor. No way! Yes, Rose is absolutely in love with the Doctor, and he seems to appreciate her as well, but what is so special about Rose? Not much. Honestly, she will occasionally question the Doctor’s morality, but in her opinion she his shit is gold so he really can do no wrong. She abandons family and friends time and time again in favor of just being in the Doctor’s presence, and would easily sacrifice any of them for him. She’s not particularly bright. No, I don’t think she is stupid, but unlike with Martha and Donna she’s not really one to have some bright idea that saves the Doctor or her, she’s more likely to be captured or caught in a situation that makes things go from bad to worse (think when she touched the Dalek or became a way for the Dalek’s to open their Dalek prison and release all those Dalek soldiers).

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What about when Rose reappears in the later seasons and joins all the other companions to try to save the Earth from the Daleks that kidnapped the planet? All Rose does is cry over her being reunited with the Doctor and holds his hand. She doesn’t contribute anything, and doesn’t resist abduction by Daleks at all. Meanwhile ALL the other companions have started contributing to a way to defeat the Daleks, while Rose just stands there and pouts at The Doctor. Let’s also not forget that Rose is insanely jealous of and rude to other (former and future) companions. And despite all this whiney selfishness about wanting the Doctor all to herself, she quickly gives up on that and accepts a life with the Doctor’s human counterpart that just happens to look like David Tennant, how daft! Sorry Rose, I might have started out liking you, but that appreciation has quickly faded.

Next let’s look at Martha Jones: I do actually like Martha. Like myself, her and I are doctors (real doctors, not time doctors). She’s got an incredible scientific knowledge and can therefore help the Doctor figure out a lot of problems they face. And she is incredibly compassionate, for all species, not just humans. But she too falls for the Doctor and spends the majority of her season pining over him. At least she has the smarts to realize she needs to get out of this one way relationship, and she goes on to a very successful career in both medicine and alien relations thanks to her experiences with the Doctor.

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But when we come to Donna Noble she is hands down my favorite companion. It’s funny actually, I started out disliking her and having very low expectations. After meeting her in The Runaway Bride she came across as superficial, guy-hungry, and a girly-girl. Those are not things that I value at all. After she stayed behind when the Doctor offered her a spot on his Tardis, she realized she made a mistake, and she went searching for him, actually finding him in the start of Season 4. And though she embarrasses herself a little with her 6 suitcases she’s had packed and ready whenever she found the Doctor again, she quickly proves herself to be a unique companion in many ways.

Firstly, she has no interest in being with the Doctor romantically. In fact, when he shows up again and tells her he needs a mate (aka a companion) in her perfect outlandish voice she shouts at him “Oi! No mating with me mister!”. It’s ironic that people again and again mistake The Doctor and Donna for a couple when she is the only one of the companions so far that has no intention of being his significant other. This independence and ability to really just be a companion shows how strong Donna is with herself.

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Next, Donna questions the Doctor, again and again. In the past seasons the companions all seem so infatuated with the Doctor they would not dare question his morality or logic. But Donna does that again and again, pointing out to him when he is being selfish or making asinine decisions.

Donna is also quite clever despite “just being a temp”. She is also witty, and has some great one liners that she shouts at people without any hesitation, like telling a sexist prophet where he can shove it. Yes, she is loud. “Oy! Mister spaceman, watch it!”. And she talks a lot. But she has formed opinions, and also is quiet or reserved when acknowledging that she is in a situation where she does not know how to respond.

Oi! Watch it spaceman!

Oi! Watch it spaceman!

Ultimately Donna ends up becoming smarter than all the previous companions combined. Her and the Doctor share regeneration properties, and as a result she ends up with a mind like a time lord. Sadly her human brain can’t sustain this much information, and it starts to overload. Realizing she would burn out if he didn’t take her time lord knowledge from her, the Doctor is forced to wipe her memory of anything related to him and their experiences. It is truly heart breaking. Way worse than when Rose said goodbye in Bad Wolf Bay. To go from experiencing all that she did, saving the Doctor on so many levels, and having that all stripped from her mind and just being placed back on Earth living with her family and trying to make do in her former life is traumatizing. And not fair. There are moments in great stories and shows where we hurt for the main characters that mean so much to us, and this was one of them for me. It’s just not fair that Donna had to lose everything after saving everyone.

So that folks is what I think of the Doctor Who companions thus far, and why I think that Donna Noble will forever be my favorite companion. This might change, and I will still keep my fingers crossed that some day Donna will be allowed to get her memory back. She deserves it and so much more.

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Posted on December 19, 2014, in Let Me Put My Suggestions In You, TV and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. You have a very good point that what the Doctor does to all his companions is kind of horrific. I do like Martha and think she is a strong character (though was a little taken aback by the Christmas Special I just watched where she married Mickey…but I guess they will have a lot of companion things to talk about). I guess Donna just comes off as a little sassier and I like that. I like that she tells the Doctor off on several occasions. I think Martha was a good companion and being a companion helped her grow in to a stronger individual, but Donna is still my favorite at this time. I just loved how she tried to put the Doctor in his place whereas I felt like Martha put him up on a pedestal.

  2. I look forward to getting to see the Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi companions!

  3. Ya know, this is a tough question for me too… Honestly I couldn’t pick one that I liked more than the others to be honest. I’m pretty fond of Pond, which your not at yet, but I just like the overall story there. Although I didn’t like her too much in the Christmas episode, Donna brought a lot to the role and it was tragic in the end for her… Too bad, would’ve liked to see more of The Doctor Donna.

  4. Yay! Glad I am getting some response! It was an opinion piece for sure, and I think falling in love with the Doctor is not something to fault them for, but the fact that Donna stands independent from the Doctor makes her stronger to me. And after rewatching seasons 1-4 twice now I loved Rose Tyler initially, but really disliked her the second time around. I just felt like she didn’t really do much other than hold the doctor’s hand….

    • You dismiss Martha in a single paragraph when you talk about the others much longer. My comment was all about Martha but you can hardly talk about her for a sentence before going back to Donna and Rose. Why.

      And like, Martha leaves of her own accord. After walking the Earth for a year, alone. That’s pretty independent. Donna… Not falling in love didn’t enable her to see a future without him.”Forever” and “I’m waiting” and all that. Then, in the end… what he did to her was so horrific. and in the end she couldn’t stop him.

  5. “Martha was smart but she fell in love with the Doctor so whatever”?! Excuse me? Since when is attraction a reason to dismiss everything about a character? Especially when you suggested ‘in love with the Doctor’ was the only reason people thought Rose was the best. Something different about Martha versus Rose?

  1. Pingback: Who Review: Top 16 Reasons Why You Should Watch Doctor Who | "The Brotherhood of Evil Geeks"

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