It seems like out of all the companions Doctor Who has had, many of the writers I know, especially writers of fiction, identify with Donna Noble the most. Plenty like some other companion the most but many of do seem to come back to Donna Noble. And while many of us don’t really care for what they did to her, there’s a sort of logic behind it all.
And really, how many companions actually have a good ending? (Spoilers, by the way, for Donna’s run on the TARDIS)
Donna Noble comes to the Doctor by accident on her wedding day. All she’s ever wanted was a good, normal life and then disaster comes to ruin all of it. But after a while, Donna finds that she can’t stay away either. She goes off, sticking her nose in any and all strange behavior around London she can find, hoping to find the Doctor again. She does and immediately it turns out to not be like anything she knew to expect. They go to Pompeii on volcano day and she has to shoulder part of the blame for killing all those people or upsetting the course of time. She manages to find a way to deal with the grief and stay with the Doctor right when he needs a friend, an actual partner. And then there’s the business with the Ood and she decides she can’t handle it and she needs to go home. She keeps going anyway, just for this one thing. Then the one adventure turns into another and another and suddenly she can’t imagine herself living any other kind of life. And in the end, she doesn’t have to. For the first time in her life, she’s Brilliant and she wants to keep going on forever.
I think, in many ways, the story of Donna Noble is like being a writer. You stumble into your first story and it seems impossible. You compare it with the wonderful works that you love and that made you want to tell stories and you realize just how big and scary it all is. Maybe you go away for a while. But the experience keeps niggling at the back of your head until you realize that you need to tell the stories and go off in search of the next adventure. You probably have more than a few false starts but eventually you find what you’ve been looking for and it’s fun again. Then you get rejections and you once more start doing the comparisons. You wander into a story and you suddenly find yourself metaphorically running down the street naked. It’s too personal, too scary and you can’t imagine how you could possibly keep going. But you’re in the story until the end and there’s no escape from its clutches.
When it’s over you can’t imagine a way you could go back to your mundane, humdrum life. You’re in it for the long haul now. Eventually, you get recognition and suddenly you’re Brilliant. You don’t want it to ever end.
Let’s pretend the End never happened.