It’s been a long time since Donna Noble ran (and verbally sparred) with the Doctor. She’s back and honestly better than ever in the three specials celebrating Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary. There were a lot of questions about how the Doctor and Donna would link up again considering Donna’s mind would “burn” if she remembered her TARDIS life. We got answers to that question and much more by the end of “The Giggle”. Let’s get into what happens to Donna Noble (not Temple) in Doctor Who’s anniversary specials.
How Does Donna Noble Reunite with the Doctor?
Donna and the Doctor’s reunion is actually rather chill. Fourteen arrives at a market and briefly wanders around before he sees someone carrying far too many boxes. He runs over to help and takes a couple of boxes only to reveal Donna’s face. Humorously, the Doctor stacks the boxes up and attempts to run away but Donna pulls him back in. To be fair, it was a rude move on the skinny man’s part. She says the boxes belong to Rose, which initially freaks the Doctor out until he discovers Rose is her daughter.
As if on cue, a spaceship lands and everyone sees it except a briefly distracted Donna. That lady truly misses every damn thing. She doesn’t have a clue who the Doctor is at this point and no reason to be suspicious of his presence.
Does the DoctorDonna Show Up in Doctor Who’s First Anniversary Special?
The issue of Donna Noble having to forget the Doctor and all her time travels has been a sore point for fans for many years. The Doctor may have thought he was doing what was best for Donna but he never gave her a choice. In “The Star Beast,” Donna’s mom Sylvia and Fourteen try to keep Donna from remembering anything but it is to no avail. As the Doctor keeps showing up, Donna becomes more suspicious about why he cares for her and her family. She finds herself doing things automatically, like holding his sonic screwdriver while he mans a protective shield. It all comes to a head at the steel factory when Donna makes the choice to go help the Doctor versus running towards safety with her family.
We are thankful she made that choice. The Doctor needed the DoctorDonna’s help with shutting down Beep the Meep’s operation. He’s resistant but Donna makes the choice to allow him to unlock her memories and resurrect the DoctorDonna. The energy is so great that it manifests in her as well as her daughter Rose, which saves her life. The trio come together to thwart Beep’s plan to use London as a fuel source. But the Doctor knows that Donna and Rose cannot keep such vast knowledge in their heads. This time, Donna and Rose call him out, saying that they know what a male-presenting Time Lord could never understand: that you can simply choose to release that power. This gives Donna the agency that she didn’t get years ago.
What’s Up with Donna Noble’s Daughter Rose and Her Husband Shaun Temple?
In the final episodes of the Tenth Doctor’s era, we “met” her husband Shaun Temple. The Doctor never interacts with him but he does watch Donna with Shaun, including on their wedding day, from afar. Fifteen years later, Shaun Temple is still married to Donna, who hilariously didn’t take his last name because Noble Temple sounded weird together. Shaun and Donna have a daughter named Rose. At first, it seems this name is from Donna’s subconscious that still remembers Rose Tyler. And this is sort of true, except the metacrisis was passed down to Rose. Donna’s daughter is trans and chose the name Rose to better fit her identity! But she’s also a Noble, which Shaun doesn’t mind because he loves his girls. So sweet.
Rose also unknowingly made stuffed animals in the likeness of villains her mom faced with the Doctor in a shed that mimics the TARDIS. And, because she doesn’t fit neatly into a binary, she was able to embrace that Time Lord energy and make a choice to let it go. Rose once felt strange and lost but now she’s fully aware of who she is as a person. Love to see it.
Sooo, Is Donna Noble Still Rich From Her Winning Lottery Ticket?
Donna Noble is rich in love and family support but not with money. This is wild considering the Doctor gave her a winning lottery ticket so she would have a good life. But Donna, still heavily influenced by the Doctor unbeknownst to her, gave the money away to help others in the world. Outside of slick remarks by Sylvia, no one seems to blame her for her choice. The Doctor may not give her another lottery ticket but he is trying to get her a job with UNIT. Her interview will have to wait because, well, she spilled coffee on the TARDIS console and they ended up on an unintentional adventure. Good times.
Does Donna Noble Die in the Doctor Who Anniversary Specials?
No, Donna doesn’t die in the anniversary specials. She does end up on a spaceship at the edge of the universe in “Wild Blue Yonder” and faces her doppelgänger self. And the Toymaker only toys with her a bit in “The Giggle,” instead focusing his malice on the rest of the world and the Doctor. In the end, the Fourteenth Doctor’s bi-generation means that he is able to park his TARDIS and live with Donna and her family. They come together along with Mel Bush for a lovely dinner and story time. Yes, the entire Noble family makes it out alive, thankfully. He’s happier than he’s ever been while the Fifteenth Doctor, now free from the past’s trauma, can travel the stars with fresh joy.
Will Donna Noble Work for UNIT?
The final scene doesn’t talk about UNIT but Donna did get offered a job making a lot of money with five weeks of paid leave. Right now, she may be taking time to simply spend with her family and the Fourteenth Doctor as he continues to heal. But we are certain that she will end up at UNIT at some point. There have been many rumors about Doctor Who branching off with a UNIT spinoff TV series, so we might see Donna Noble and the Fourteenth Doctor again in the future. If not, there’s always room for Big Finish audio adventures.
Originally published on November 25, 2023.