Donna Yates arrives on 14 April 2014 and immediately rubs the Bridge Street traders up the wrong way and declares war on her stall rival Kat. On 20 July 2018, Donna left Albert Square.
Donna Yates is a brash woman – Queen of Spring Lane market. She’s worked hard all her life and never taken a hand-out from anyone. Proud to a fault, Donna has fought tooth and nail for her independence and won’t let anyone take it away from her. Her self-started business is her livelihood and success is everything. She wants to win. She wants respect. She’d rather be feared than loved.
However, Donna’s abrasive personality covers hidden depths. Donna is an intelligent, though opinionated, woman. She works hard and swears by her unfaltering work ethic but by throwing herself so hard into her business other things have slid… primarily her love life. Donna hopes Mr Right is round the corner but her abrasive personality will probably put pay to finding him.
Donna, knowing she would be merging with Bridge Street Market, decided to take a look at her competition, Kat Moon and Bianca Butcher's stall, whom didn't know about it. Kat joked that if she wanted tat (which she is wearing) she should go to Spring Lane Market. Donna, being the owner of the clothes stall at Spring Lane, decided that they were enemies to her.
She later entered The Queen Victoria, after Kat and Bianca knew about the merging. However, they didn't know that Donna owned the clothes stall. Bianca tried to be nice to her after what Kat had said, but Donna being Donna told her that she sold the clothes at Spring Lane and threatened them that they wouldn't be selling clothes "for much longer".
When Alfie Moon asked Donna if she'd wear a wristband to remember Lucy Beale (who had been recently murdered), Donna refused saying that she didn't want to put customers off on her first day at Bridge Street.
Donna argued with Bianca when Kat went to her court hearing for attempting to prevert the course of justice, after saying she saw Alice Branning murder Michael Moon. Donna was irritated that Kat hadn't been put in prison, however, Kat returned with no sentence.
Donna revealed to Fatboy that she makes regular trips to the hospital in order to get special drugs and tests for her disability.
Creation and development
Loudmouth Donna always has to be top dog and will go to any lengths to achieve this. Never one to let her guard down, she takes no prisoners and always has to have the last word. But is her in-your-face persona all a front?
It's not easy to like Donna at first. She’s flinty, aggressive and difficult. However, as people get to know her better, they will discover a funny, loyal, but also fragile woman underneath.
Four years after joining as the delightfully sassy and ever-feisty Donna Yates, actress Lisa Hammond is set to leave EastEnders. Following a number of unexpected cast exits including Richard Blackwood and Jenna Russell, it's believed that Lisa will officially depart from Albert Square as Donna in the summer. The actress, who's had a number of high-profile storylines since joining in 2014, is still filming at the moment.
"It's been so great to play Donna for the past four years," Lisa told Metro. "I've made lifelong friends at EastEnders and will really miss all of the brilliant cast and crew who have always been a pleasure to work with!"