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Looking for meaningful predictions about the fate of humanity? The future according to Doctor Who has been just as illuminating about life in the present day…
The 2017 episode Oxygen depicted a nightmare vision of work in the future.
The Titanic was seen to fly over Buckingham Palace in Voyage of the Damned (2007).

“Where do you want to go?” the Doctor asks Rose in The End of the World (2005). “Backwards or forwards in time. It’s your choice. What’s it going to be?”

And that is the question. If you had a time machine, where would you go? Would you choose to visit the past or the future? Because, in over half of all Doctor Who stories, the answer has been the future.

There are, broadly speaking, three types of future tales. There are those set within the next few centuries, a time of moonbases and colonies, where people are just like us and still have names like Toby and Ian. There are those set in the distant future, where they have names like Zentos and Mellium and no longer act like people from our time. But the most common type of future tale is set at a point just around the corner, not quite the present day but a few years hence.

These stories – such as the ones with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor set during the UNIT era, or the Earth-based stories from Aliens of London/World War Three (2005) set one year ahead of broadcast – take place in a world identical to ours, but with the opportunity to include technological advances such as videophones (The Tenth Planet, 1966) or the UK having a space programme (common to 1970’s The Ambassadors of Death, 1975’s The Android Invasion and, 30 years later, The Christmas Invasion). Indeed, many of these stories involve threats arising from just such innovations, among them integrated circuits (The Invasion, 1968), diet pills (Partners in Crime, 2008) and sat navs (The Sontaran Stratagem/ The Poison Sky, 2008). The rise of artificial intelligence is a particularly frequent concern, recurring in The War Machines (1966), The Green Death (1973) and Robot (1974-75). The fact that these stories aren’t set in the present day also allows for such flights of fancy as alien invasions and replicas of the Titanic flying over Buckingham Palace.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Doctor Who’s predictions of the future have depicted the destruction of planet Earth and the ultimate collapse of the universe. Alien superpowers have subjugated star systems and galactic empires have fallen, leaving only a few witnesses to the end of time itself. This lavish publication sets the TARDIS co-ordinates for a journey into this dangerous realm, exploring landmark episodes and meeting the talents who brought them to the screen. Packed full of exclusive features, including a wealth of previously unseen images, this is the essential guide to the series’ greatest futuristic adventures.