When it comes to Doctor Who’s modern companions, Donna Noble (played by the remarkable Catherine Tate) remains a fan favorite with a controversial arc. She started off as a rather annoying temp from Chiswick but her platonic chemistry with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and sharp wit made her a beloved companion. Donna became a very important person in the universe, discovering her own power and worth while traveling in the TARDIS. However, she saw some pretty heartbreaking things and her companion arc ended on a very sad note (more on that later). Donna Noble is returning for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary but some people have probably forgotten what happened to her years ago in the series.
Any Doctor Who fan who knows Donna Noble cannot forget her heartbreaking fate in Journey’s End. Thanks to her touching the Doctor’s severed hand, she gained all the knowledge of a Time Lord. The “DoctorDonna” used this to stop Davros and save many planets in the process; however, she couldn’t save herself. The Doctor’s knowledge is simply too much for a human so the Tenth Doctor made the decision to wipe her mind. As he explains, this will keep her mind from burning up and killing her. All traces of her time with him left her memory in an instant. That scene is still a highly emotional and controversial moment among Doctor Who fans.
But some fans may have forgotten Donna’s brief return in “The End of Time” in 2009. (It was approx. 2010 on Earth, considering Rose Tyler’s year away from home threw off the timeline a bit.) The Tenth Doctor Christmas special is his epic swansong that loops her back into the mix. The Master returns and tries to make every human a copy of him to take over the world. But Donna isn’t affected because her DNA is no longer the same. However, her memories began to seep through and are nearly restored. Thankfully, the Doctor installed a fail-safe to prevent this from happening. She even generates a pulse that helps to defeat some of the Master’s nearby clones as well as herself.
Towards the end of the episode, the Doctor saves her grandfather Wilfred, which triggers his regeneration. He holds off and sees Donna one last time as we see her marrying Shaun Temple. The Doctor also left her a winning lottery ticket to ensure her financial future. So that’s what happened to Donna Noble in Doctor Who. As we moved on with a new Doctor and showrunner, those previous companions like Donna, Martha, and Rose went off to live their lives… until now. Rose is still on parallel Earth and Martha could still be a freelance alien hunter. We will never know. But we are getting a glimpse into Donna’s life once again.
We now know that Donna is still married with a daughter, Rose Noble. Besides her child’s name, which is an obvious homage to Rose Tyler, Donna’s mind still has remnants of her TARDIS traveling days. In the anniversary specials trailer, she admits to her mom that she feels like something special is missing from her life. How will the Doctor keep her from remembering him and dying? Is she still wealthy? What is Donna Noble currently doing with her life? We will get those answers and more soon.