Doctor Who: Best Companion Donna Noble Receives BBC "Best Of" Honor
Doctor Who always trots out interesting compilation videos to tide fans over the drought from the lack of new episodes, especially the companion videos. Now it's Donna Noble's (Catherine Tate) turn!
Donna Noble is the best companion. Bridezilla. Mean Girl. Accidental alien abductee. Time Lord meta-crisis! Saviour of the world! Donna's been all of them! That's more changes than any other companion's been through. She's also the one companion who acts closest to a person instead of a character in a Science Fiction show. Her reactions are often the closest to ours rather than a genre character's reaction. She's a character who's wandered in from an ITV comedy-drama instead of Doctor Who.
Most of the companions on Doctor Who have been adolescent stand-ins for kid and teen viewers to identify with. Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) was a stand-in for the young female audience that Russell T. Davies wanted to attract a new post-Buffy fandom that would carry Doctor Who beyond the nerdy male fandom that sustained it so far. Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), an underrated companion, was underserved by Davies when he had her fall in love with an unavailable Doctor. She often fell into genre behaviour tropes. Donna Noble was different – she was uncompromisingly an adult woman with her own agency who doesn't moon unrequitedly for the Doctor. She's his best friend, not a romantic interest.
Tate was one of Davies' first acts of stunt-casting for Doctor Who. She had just finished a run on her own comedy sketch series The Catherine Tate Show, which made her a household name. She a long list of satirical British archetypes, including characters that entered the British consciousness: the foul-mouthed, manipulative grandma "Nan" and snarky Cockney high schooler Lauren Cooper, whose catchphrase "Am I bovvered?" became every British kid's snarky catchphrase for years. Davies knew that casting Tate as a new companion would keep the show's profile high.
The Donna Noble season marked a maturity and deepening of Davies' writing on Doctor Who. He could have more emotionally complex situations with the Doctor and Donna. Come to think of it, the Doctor commits genocide twice while he's with Donna, the first time in "The Runaway Bride" and the second time in "The Fires of Pompei" where they cause the eruption that kills millions of people, 3 times if the Daleks, but they're less genocide than whack-a-mole for the Doctor.
You can of course stream Doctor Who Series 3 on the BBC in the UK and HBO Max in the US.