Doctor Who Turn Left Review

  • Series Title: Doctor Who
  • Story Title: Turn Left
  • Story #: Season 4 Story # 11
  • Discs: 1 (Part of “The Complete Series 4” – 5 discs total)
  • Network: BBC
  • Original Air Dates: 6/21/2008
  • Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler)
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD, NTSC
  • Originally Published on my Live Journal 1/26/2009, now hosted on Dreamwidth

In a word, “Turn Left” was awesome! I loved what I saw of it last summer, and now that I’ve seen the entire episode, I love it even more. It might be one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever made, and not just because of Doctor Who but because of what the episode says about philosophy / life outlook.

The episode begins with Donna being pulled into a fortune teller’s tent – said fortune teller then forces her to go back in time, changing a decision, turning right instead of left (incidentally listening to her overbearing and critical mother). This one decision snowballs, resulting in Donna never meeting the Doctor, and thus the Doctor dying when he meets the Spider Queen in what would have been “The Runaway Bride”. However, without the Doctor, the next year (or so) is a disaster for the UK and the world: London city hospital is taken to the moon – but everyone is killed including Martha, Sarah Jane, and Sarah’s two young wards; the “Christmas Star” – destroys part of London; the spaceship Titanic crashes into Buckingham Palace – vaporising London; the Atmos devices are set-off choking the world and Torchwood agents Owen and Gwen Cooper give their lives fighting the Sontarans; Adipose kills millions in the US. In other words – without the Doctor, the world is in sorry shape. And without Donna – there is no Doctor. Rose, however, returns – coming back from another universe, finds Donna and uses the dying TARDIS to send her back, to get her to change that decision, even though Rose also knows it will cost Donna her life. When Donna sacrifices herself – Other Donna turns left, resulting in her meeting the Doctor, the Doctor not dying, and Doctor Who history continuing on as we know it.

This episode is the best illustration of Chaos Theory I’ve seen since “The Butterfly Effect” and frankly much better done and less violent/spooky/freaky than that movie (I couldn’t handle the animal and child abuse shown in “The Butterfly Effect” – it was SO excessive). However, Doctor Who “Turn Left” illustrates Chaos Theory beautifully. But what I really liked was watching Donna – listening to her saying, “I’m just a temp!” and Rose telling her “You’re the most important person in the universe,” not to mention, when time snaps back, the Doctor telling her “You’re brilliant!”. This was the second incredible philosophical statement in the episode – it shows how interconnected everything is. How one person can actually make a difference and change things. It also shows just how linked or connected everyone is. Donna sees herself as a normal person, and not a very important person at all – “Just a temp” – about the lowly-est job you could have in a technological society. Yet, it’s Donna who saves the Doctor’s life – and by doing that she literally saves millions of people. It’s one of those “you never know how you affect others” moments.

Kudos to Russell T Davies and the Doctor Who team – because “Turn Left” was totally awesome! Donna rules and the Doctor rocks!

Book Review – Doctor Who: Beautiful Chaos

  • Title: Beautiful Chaos
  • Series: BBC Books New Series Doctor Who Adventures (new series)
  • Author: Justin Richards
  • Characters: Tenth Doctor, Donna, Wilf
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/03/2016

I have the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Edition of this book, which was originally published as part of the BBC Books New Doctor Who Books which were published alongside the series. This story features the Tenth Doctor as played by David Tennant and his companion, Donna Noble. Originally, books in that series read as Young Adult novels – but this one is very adult, as it deals with Alzheimer’s Disease in a very grown-up fashion. However, this being a Doctor Who we also have an alien menace that’s taken-up residence in a computer, and the return of the Mandragora Helix. Rather than chapters, the book is organized by days – giving the reader a definite feel for how fast things can happen to the Doctor and Donna.

The Doctor brings Donna back to Chiswick to spend time with her family on the one-year anniversary of her father’s death. Donna and her mother are immediately at odds, and Donna meets her grandfather’s new “lady friend”, Netty. Netty is a sweet woman, and someone that Wilf has truly fallen for, but she is also suffering from second-stage Alzheimer’s Disease.

Meanwhile, MorganTech is preparing for the release of the M-TEK – a personal music and video player. The Doctor examines the technology and discovers it to be light years ahead of anything that any Earth technology company should be able to produce. Meanwhile, Wilf has discovered a new star, which will be named after him – and a dinner is being given in his honor by the Royal Planetary Society. However, Wilf’s star isn’t the only new item in the sky – at least four other “Chaos bodies” or rogue stars have suddenly appeared. And MorganTech’s M-TEK is taking over the early beta testers who received free versions in a huge company giveaway.

The Doctor and Donna meet Netty, go with Wilf to the Planetary Society dinner, and soon investigate the confusing circumstances surrounding MorganTech and the M-TEK. Before long, the Doctor realizes he’s up against an old enemy, the Mandragora Helix from the Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor) story, “The Masque of Mandragora”.

I liked this Doctor Who story. The more adult nature of the story-telling suited it. If the other New Who BBC Books have risen to a quality like this one, I very much may need to find some of them to read. Recommended of course.

Catherine Tate – Good Advice

Catherine Tate’s Naked Truth for Gok Teens (x)