The Doctor Who Girl 21: Donna

The able but unsuccessful secretary Donna Noble, played by the comedienne Catherine Tate, was the oldest and arguably the least conventionally attractive of the Doctor Who girls. She debuted as a one-off character in the 2006 Christmas special, ‘The Runaway Bride’, at the age of 38, making her three years older than the actor playing the Doctor, David Tennant. She and Tennant hit it off exceptionally well, and Donna was brought back as a regular in the 2008 series.

At first, the idea of her as the Doctor’s ongoing traveling companion was met with a little resistance from people who would really have preferred it to be Kylie Minogue,

who gave an appealing performance as another one-off ‘companion surrogate’, Astrid, in the 2007 Christmas special, ‘Voyage of the Damned’:

That was never going to happen (it was a big enough piece of luck to get a megastar like Kylie for a single episode, never mind a year’s commitment), and in the event all doubts were confounded: Donna turned out to be an extraordinarily popular character for her straight talking, her emotionally empathic humanity and her honest, unaffected enthusiasm for her travels with the Doctor – not to mention her catchy, goofy Gershwin-style soundtrack theme.

After a few years of romantic entanglements between the Doctor and his companion, requited and otherwise, Donna was also overtly someone who had no interest in him beyond being his friend, which brought a refreshing simplicity to the relationship. The point is amusingly made in her first regular episode when he tells her, ‘I just want a mate,’ which she mishears and responds, ‘You’re not mating with me, sunshine!’

Catherine Tate’s friendship with David Tennant later became the basis of further projects after they had both left Doctor Who, including a 2011 stage production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing starring them as the feuding lovers Beatrice and Benedick. This was notable for one scene in which she was suspended in mid-air in what could easily be viewed as her side of a spanking position.


Of course, it’s no such thing, and it must be said that the character of Donna is relatively low on spanking potential, as Texas Jim recognized:

And since her appeal lies primarily in her engaging, characterful personality, it’s quite hard to find examples of any physical charms she might have to offer. But not completely impossible…

That didn’t stop fan artists from fantasizing a sexier image for her,

though this picture of her being spanked by Davros, creator of the Daleks, is remarkably deficient in plausibility and logic:

But Catherine Tate herself came with relevant baggage. From 2004, one of the recurring characters she played in The Catherine Tate Show was Lauren Cooper, a naughty schoolgirl.

Naughty schoolgirls have an easy place in spanking fantasy because they are both under discipline and headed for it; but the joke with Lauren is that she is more like a real naughty schoolgirl in a modern world where teachers don’t have the same easy sanctions of a few generations ago. So any attempt to make her do something she doesn’t want to do will be met with low-key uncooperativeness expressed in the retort, which became her catchphrase, ‘Am I bovvered?’ And there’s nothing anyone can do about that. Except perhaps when a fan artist merges Lauren with Donna, and puts her up against an uncommonly stern version of the Doctor.

Looks like she might be a bit ‘bovvered’ after all…

I’m afraid I’m more than a bit ‘bovvered’ about what came after Donna, not so much in the pleasant form of the next Doctor Who girl, but in the wrong turning that was taken by the program as a whole. If you want to follow it down that blind alley, or just enjoy some pictures of a pretty lady, the next part of this series may be found here.

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