The news that Catherine Tate is to reprise her role as outspoken chav bride Donna as the new companion for the Doctor has no doubt been greeted with skepticism and derision amongst online fandom, but I for one think it’s an excellent idea.
I’ve never been a fan of the entire “companion in love with the Doctor” character themes that have come to represent the current era of Doctor Who. It makes perfect sense but damnit Doctor Who is an adventure story, not a love story. Then when it came to creating Martha Jones, the only thing the production team could do with that concept would be to have an unrequited love story following the requited love story. Aside from that element, Martha and Rose could be identical.
(small spoilers for the season finale ahead)
I think the seeds for Martha’s sidelining and Donna’s revival came with the episode The Sound of Drums, when Martha was seen to argue and shout back at the Doctor when it came to protecting her family. Thus, a character who previously had seemed about as distinctive as dishcloth suddenly came alive and became far more interesting than a woman pining for a man she can never have.
Thus having a shouty argumentative “low culture” companion for the Doctor ought to be interesting and shake things up a bit in a way Martha Jones could never do. Which is a bit of a shame for Freema since she definitely had the acting chops. Just not the character to go with them.
On the other hand, having Kylie as a special guest star. Presumably on board the Titanic. Oh dear. Unless it’s planned to use her soap opera acting skills, why would this be a good idea to anyone? It’s not going to encourage more children to watch it, and half of Kylie’s fanbase are probably already watching Doctor Who. I really hope she doesn’t warble a cover version of My Heart Will Go On, or be cast as a singer on the rapidly-sinking Titanic.