Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

A What If tale examining how recent history in Doctor-Who-Land might have gone had Donna never met the Doctor.

Just for a change, it's pretty well-researched and executed, although as usual there are a pile of unanswered questions at the end. If Rose can time-travel now, why didn't she fix history herself? How can Jack, who can't die, die? How does the Doctor know the name that Alan coined for the Trickster?

There's no explanation for who the mysterious Asian woman was, or where she went, or pretty much anything outside the show's main storyline. Just like last week then.

And it's yet another story that finishes with time going backwards. Which is a foregone conclusion from the start really, especially with history getting changed so that the Doctor was killed a coupla' seasons back.

The fun in these things is always seeing events from earlier episodes being followed logically through, and this is done pretty well, particularly with the interviewee from Smith And Jones doing his closing scene again, although I didn't get why everyone died of suffocation this time, unless they did in the original history too.

Also, if Sarah, Luke, Maria and Clyde were all at the hospital in Smith And Jones, then that means that all their adventures must have taken place a long time before (or after) their transmission, or Earth would have suffered a few other calamities too, such as getting destroyed by a meteorite. Fair enough - their world doesn't seem to have been invaded so much anyway.

Also how Sarah and Torchwood know everything that they do is a mystery, not to mention how Rose does.

Probably the worst gaff in this is that it only looks at the ramifications of the Doctor's absence on selected episodes. Forget the world's destruction in The Shakespeare Code, or the Daleks' unaverted plan to turn humanity into more Daleks, we'll just... erm... finish this sentence now. Move along.

Shortly after BBC News has shown yet another impossible-to-film camera-angle...

How is even a satellite supposed to have filmed this shot of a boat falling from the sky?
... the near-deserted city of London gets hit by the Titanic, killing everyone who isn't there. Why it still hits Buckingham Palace without the Doctor's interference, or indeed why it doesn't wipe out all life on Earth as planned in Voyage Of The Damned, is not recalled either.

The line from The Fires Of Pompeii about Donna having something on her back now makes no sense, as that was her timeline before the interference. Poor foreshadowing again.

There are some good scenes in here though. As Earth faces invasion after invasion without the Doctor to save everyone, the political and social ramifications are bleak indeed.

Donna's family realise that their safe world is falling-apart due to powers far stronger than those they have always felt secure in. The scene with Donna's landlord being driven away to a British 'labour camp' is galling. Also doom-laden is the moment when she and her grandad watch the stars going out, either due to some something moving in the way, or their destruction millions of years ago.

Most of these situations aren't from a parallel-history though. The events in the above paragraph would be logical consequences in the history we've already had, in which the Doctor is alive and well and saving Earth with limited success. The events of World War Three, The Christmas Invasion and Doomsday have already left 'our' Earth absolutely devastated. The Cybermen invaded every home in the world! Then they transplanted our brains into robots to wage war against the Daleks! But no, everyone in the world has just forgotten how their loved ones were lobotomised by aliens. I bet everyone in Doctor-Who-land forgot all about the second world war straight afterwards too.

The ending was dreadful as well. I can't believe that in three whole years they still haven't worked-out what nonsense the 'bad wolf' 'message' is.

I enjoyed this, in places, perhaps because it's a glimpse of the more exciting version of Earth that we should have been watching for the past three years. But my goodness it needs a proof-reader.

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