The latest episode of Series 12 showed us a terrifying vision of Earth’s future, but it’s not the first time the Doctor has encountered alternative Earths.
“The future is not fixed, it depends on billions of decisions and actions, and people stepping up”. That’s what the Thirteenth Doctor said after escaping Orphan 55.
When you’re travelling in time and space, the entire history of Earth can be re-written… several times! Here are just some of those alternate realities…
This was one of the most terrifying visions of humanity’s future. The end of the human race, a trillion years in the future, was left in the hands of the Master. The remnants of humanity became the Toclafane, deadly weapons under instruction from the evil Time Lord and brought to the present day by a paradox machine, invented from the Doctor’s TARDIS!
Luckily Martha Jones was on hand to save the universe, the paradox machine was destroyed, and time re-wound to just before the Master took control.
When the Doctor was exiled to Earth by the Time Lords, he was desperate to resume his travels in time and space. But after tinkering with the TARDIS, he was transported into a parallel Earth. This different world saw cruel versions of his UNIT friends, and a terrifying ooze in the Earth’s core, which infected humanity into becoming monstrous Primords!
The Doctor managed to return home and stop the drilling occurring in the original Earth – meaning that the Primords were kept at bay.
When small events get altered, they can have huge consequences… particularly when you’re Donna Noble! A universe where Donna never met the Doctor is a very bleak affair, one which Donna had to live through when she was infected by one of the Trickster’s brigade.
Donna met the Bad Wolf herself, Rose Tyler, and was sent back to avert the paradox. Thanks to the parallel-world Donna, the Doctor met the original Donna, and the universe and timeline were saved.
The Pandorica opens, and inside is the perfect trap! To prevent what they thought was the end of the universe, many foes of the Doctor ganged together to imprison him forever in the Pandorica. However, that didn’t prevent the destruction of the TARDIS.
In order to save the universe, the Doctor needed to restart it, with the Big Bang two! He managed to escape being wiped from existence with the fantastic memory of Amelia Pond, who couldn’t get married without her imaginary friend by her side.
The Daleks were determined to save their own future, by destroying ours! In a possible future, a vital peace conference was sabotaged, and a terrible war raged… leaving Earth vulnerable to colonisation by the Daleks and their Ogron slaves!
Freedom fighters from the future travelled back to the present to avert this dystopian timeline from happening, but almost secured their own perilous future and fate in the process! The Doctor, Jo and the full might of UNIT were on hand to secure the right timeline and preserve peace.
The terrible pollution in a future, decaying Earth created some of the most feared creatures in history… the vampire-like Haemovores. The evil Fenric wanted to use them in a plot to defeat the Doctor, so he brought their leader, the Ancient One, back to our time.
The Doctor was able to reason with the Ancient One, showing it that its part to play in Fenric’s plot caused the destruction of Earth and the creation of its kind. The Ancient One decided to destroy Fenric and avert its creation, saving itself and humanity from a terrible existence…
The Thirteenth Doctor and team TARDIS got more than they bargained for in a trip to Norway… a whole parallel Earth! But instead it was a sentient universe named the Solitract, which had latched onto ours and was determined to explore by taking the forms of those that had been loved and lost.
The Doctor was willing to jump into this living universe in order to keep our plane of existence safe, but it was unstable - the Solitract started collapsing in on itself because of the Doctor’s presence. The Doctor was able to reason with the frog-shaped entity and returned to our universe to continue her adventures.
Now this truly was the end of the Earth! Five billion years in the future, the Sun was about to explode and it was time up for our planet. The Doctor wasn’t going to stop the natural course of history... but he did have to stop the destruction of the viewing platform Satellite Five (and save the life of Rose Tyler!).
That wasn’t the end of the Earth, or its legacy. There would be a new Earth in the year 5,000,000,023. The Doctor and Rose would go there to visit New New York… or more accurately, New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York.
5:02 in the afternoon for all eternity… That’s what happened when River Song refused to kill the Doctor. Time stood still and everything happened at once. Charles Dickens promoted his new book on television… dinosaurs and zeppelins flew in London skies… even Winston Churchill was using downloads!
However, time can’t stand still forever… and on the wedding of the Doctor River Song, the Doctor was married, and the Doctor was killed. Or was he?
It turns out he was merely wearing a Doctor suit! He was hiding in the Teselecta, a shapeshifting robot. The Doctor is perceived dead, and the universe and time itself continues anew…
Watch Orphan 55 and the rest of Series 12 now.