Donna Noble, hands down.
Now I admit that, when I first heard that a comedienne was going to star in Doctor Who, I was very sceptical. I’d seen a couple of Catherine Tate’s show and it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’d no idea why she’d been signed on for the Christmas special.
I was converted by the end of The Runaway Bride. But Donna left the Doctor and he travelled with Martha instead. -Then Martha dumped him and Donna – having searched for the Time Lord for a year – managed to stumble over him while investigating a slimming pill company.
What I adore about Donna is her humanity. She doesn’t think much of herself, but she has huge empathy. I also liked that she was older than Rose and Martha, and curvy. And that attitude? LOVED IT.
Donna really hooked me in second episode The Fires of Pompeii, when she first stands next to the Doctor when he’s forced to destroy the city and then later, when she begs him to save at least someone. Tellingly, this makes such an impression on the Doctor that he “takes the face” of Caecilius for his twelfth regeneration (as they explained Peter Capaldi’s return to the show.)
Over the course of the series, Donna continues to push the Doctor to compassionate acts, something she did right from the start. She reacts in a very human way to her first sight of an alien – the Ood – but quickly recovers and manages to comfort it as it dies. Her joy at freeing the Ood is obvious. She becomes the Doctor’s best friend, claiming that she’s going to travel with him forever. But the ominous prophecies that dogged her steps comes true in the final two-parter, with the result that the Doctor has to wipe her memories.
I am not happy with that outcome. I don’t care that RTD “fixed” it by having her get married and win the lottery. That wasn’t what Donna wanted. I’ll never forgive Ten for abusing her in such a manner. That’s no way to treat someone you claim is your best friend.