Did any parallel universe appear in Doctor Who?

; Date: Tue Feb 27 2018

Tags: Doctor Who

Science fiction shows are full of stories about parallel universes. Maybe it lets the show writers reimagine a premise in the show, to ask "what if" and see what the characters do. In any case, a show centered on a travel capsule which can traverse all of time and space, don't you think it's fair to ask if any kind of parallel universe showed up?

What should actually be asked - was there ever a Doctor Who that did not appear in a parallel universe?

The TARDIS can go anywhere in time and space. Which means any parallel dimension. In some episodes this idea is used as a plot point, but what if that's true in all episodes?

That could be a convenient explanation for all the discontinuities in the Doctor Who Canon. If the Daleks invaded Earth in 2150 AD, then why has the show appeared at other times subsequent to 2150 without mentioning the Dalek invasion? Or was the Dalek invasion in one parallel reality, while other episodes were in other parallel realities where that invasion did not occur? Or the 3rd Doctor's episode with dinosaurs in London, surely that would have been still talked about in 2010?

Here's a few instances where Doctor Who explicitly entered some kind of alternate other reality:

The Celestial Toymaker

This 1st Doctor story starts with the TARDIS going off course, the Doctor disappearing, and Steven and Dodo finding themselves in a strange place filled with strange creatures and games they must play in order to survive. The Doctor had been abducted and brought to the Celestial Toymaker's lair, for other games and tests.

The Toymaker is some kind of multidimensional being who is bored and wants to play games. He lives in a dimensional place of his own making, hence the whole episode-series occurs in some kind of alternate dimension place.

Enemy of the World

This 2nd Doctor story is really an example of a Doppleganger-Doctor story, but since the setting is so clearly an Earth with a wildly different history that it must be a parallel universe.

The story starts with the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria relaxing on a beach in Australia - in 2018. They come under attack from an assassination attempt, only to befriend the would-be assassins. They learn The Doctor is the spitting image of Salamander, a ruthless megalomaniac who is dominating the so-called United Zones Organisation.

Salamander has developed some kind of technology to harness solar energy to make crops grow more. Except that he's also playing a game of predicting natural disasters, and somehow working with another group of people who he's told lies to, who are living underground fearing a nuclear war on the surface, and who are engineering the natural disasters.

The continents are all the same as modern Earth - but the social structures and governments are completely off. Hence, this is some kind of different parallel reality Earth.

The Mind Robber

Following the 2nd Doctor's defeat of The Dominators, he accidentally sets off a volcano which buries the TARDIS. Attempting to escape, The Doctor takes the TARDIS "out of reality".

They land in a "white void" where it's impossible to find ones way around due to the lack of landmarks. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe manage to get back into the TARDIS and attempt to get "back to reality" but instead the TARDIS explodes. This is the famous episode with Zoe and Jamie clinging to the TARDIS console as it flies through the time vortex, with Zoe wearing that ultra-tight black sequined thing.

They land in a strange place that turns out to be The Land of Fiction. This is the parallel universe from which Fiction is made. The crew has adventures with Rapunzel and other fictional characters, before they meet someone called the Master. Not The Master, but the Master. This guy is the Master of the Land of Fiction, not The Master who is essentially Moriarity to The Doctor.

The Inferno

The 3rd Doctor spent awhile exiled to Earth unable to get his TARDIS to work so he could resume wandering the universe. While tinkering with his TARDIS trying to repair it, he managed to flip himself into an alternate reality.

The Doctor had been helping to advise/investigate a drilling operation that was drilling deep deep deep underground. In the alternate reality he was at the same facility - except that the conditions were extremely different.

The alternate reality was wholly fascist in nature as shown by the picture above.

There was a big disaster which occurred in this alternate reality - the drill went too deep and ruptured something causing some whatchemacallit strangeness to occur. The whole place turned into a volcano, killing everything in sight.

The Doctor was able to return to his original reality, where he was then able to avert the same problem from happening.

The Three Doctors

This story concerns Lord Omega - a "Solar Engineer" Time Lord who created the "Supernova" that powers all of Gallifrey's fantastic wonders. It was thought Omega had been killed while creating that Supernova. Instead he was flung into an "anti-matter" universe from which he desparately wished to escape.

Omega had kidnapped The Doctor into this reality, intending for The Doctor to replace Omega.

To solve the problem the Time Lords arranged for three incarnations of The Doctor to work together. They tried to offer Omega a "force field generator" that would allow him to escape the anti-matter universe. Instead, in a rage Omega destroyed the generator, exposing the Doctor's "Recorder" to the anti-matter universe, but since it was made of regular matter the Recorder caused a huge explosion killing Omega (supposedly).

Full Circle - E-Space

The Doctor and Romana were traveling to Gallifrey, but got sucked through a Charged Vacuum Emboitment into a pocket universe. In that pocket universe they came across a planet with a small civilization surrounding a crashed spacecraft.

This is the story where Adric joined the TARDIS crew.

It is the beginning of a series of adventures trying to get out of E-Space.

State of Decay - E-Space

Attempting to find a way out of E-Space, the TARDIS brings the crew to a planet with a Feudel society.

They find evidence of an advanced civilization which has decayed into a feudel state.

Warriors Gate - E-Space

The exit out of E-Space is through this bizarre multi-dimensional place populated by beings of multi-dimensional awareness and mythical elements. The TARDIS becomes trapped in a white-null-void between E-Space and N-Space ("normal space"). They come across a ship run by Commander Rorvik that has become trapped in the same place.

The ship is crewed by a race of time-sensitive Leonid creatures, the Tharils, who had become entrapped as slaves.

The story goes back and forth on a couple timelines and through mirrors which act as time corridors.

At the end of the story, Romana decides to stay with the Tharils to help them. The Doctor gifts her with K-9.


The 5th Doctor, along with Tegan and Turlough, encounter a race of god-like multi-dimensional beings having a yatch race through the Solar System. These beings are portrayed as Bored, and trying to have some excitement through creating this diversion. Namely, they recreated 1800's era sailing vessels, crewed with sailors they plucked out of time, and flying the vessels through space.

The prize for the winner of the race is to receive Enlightenment - "the wisdom to know everything".

The race was organized by the White and Black Guardians.

This story was the final of a series of stories in which Turlough was secretly working for the Black Guardian in an attempt to kill The Doctor. Both the Black and White Guardians had been seen in the 4th Doctors time, being involved with the Key To Time stories.


This crazy 7th Doctor story involves a group of space-traveling aliens from across time and space who are wrapped up in the King Arthur mythos. They identify The Doctor as Merlin, who had been imprisoned by Morgaine.

The Doctor and Ace find an underground chamber under a lake that's associated with the Arthurian legends. The chamber is actually an organic spaceship whose door is imprinted with The Doctor's voice. Inside is the body of King Arthur along with a sword. That eventually turns into a scene where Ace, while holding the sword, is shot from the spacecraft to emerge from the lake, and hand the sword to one of the space traveling warriors.


The final story of Old Who had the 7th Doctor and Ace return to Perivale, Ace's home town. Except that Perivale is under attack by some space traveling cat/lion creatures from another world.

The Master had become trapped on that world, and was trying to use the cat/lion creature's natural ability to jump across the dimensions to escape that world.

“Rise of the Cybermen/The Age Of Steel” and “Army Of Ghosts/Doomsday”

This is a series of stories concerning an alternate parallel reality version of Rose's birth family.

In the regular timeline, Rose's father had died (seen in "Fathers Day") when Rose was a baby. Her dad was a kind of ne'er-do-well pseudo-entrepeneur.

In the alternate timeline, Rose's father was a successful inventor, but he and his wife never had a child. Instead they had a dog named Rose.

Rose's father was involved with creating an alternate-universe race of Cybermen.

Rose eventually became trapped in that alternate universe.

Turn Left

This is a "what-if" story. What if Donna Noble had not saved The Doctor from a particular creature he'd fought under the Thames River. What if instead The Doctor had died.

There were many subsequent moments where in the regular universe The Doctor had saved The Earth. In this alternate Earth, Donna Noble did not become The Runaway Bride, resulting in The Doctors death and therefore he was not available to prevent all those other catastrophes. For example the destruction of London when a spaceship version of The Titanic crashed into London.

The problems were resolved when Rose managed to worm through the dimensions to get to the alternate Donna Noble, sending her back in time so that Donna would make a different decision on a particular day.

The Doctors Wife

This story involved a pocket universe occupied by an intelligent planet. That planet had lured hundreds of Time Lords to their death. The planet lured The Doctor into the pocket universe, planning to steal the TARDIS.

The planet first sucked the TARDIS's soul out into a constructed creature, so that the planet's consciousness could move itself into the TARDIS.

The story was resolved by The Doctor and the woman who had the TARDIS's soul scrounging TARDIS parts from the scrapyard of left-over parts. They built a console, and managed to fly it into his TARDIS, so that the TARDIS's consciousness could kick out that planet's consciousness and reoccupy the TARDIS.

The Day of the Doctor

For the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, they put together a bizarre story that rewrote what we thought had happened in The Time War. We had been told The Doctor had had to destroy both Gallifrey and the Daleks.

Over the previous few years the Daleks had been allowed to escape that destruction.

In this story, we learned of a whole new incarnation -- the War Doctor -- who had been directly engaged in The Time War. It was he who came to a fateful decision that Gallifrey and the Daleks must be destroyed. He stole one of the special weapons out of the vault, and set about using it.

Since that weapon was actually a multi-dimensional self aware thingymajob that weapon challenged The Doctor to the depth of his soul. That challenge resulted in "all 13 incarnations of The Doctor" using their TARDIS's together to create a pocket universe where Gallifrey would be safe and secure but separated from everywhere else.

Gallifrey would finally escape that pocket universe in Heaven Sant / Hell Bent

About the Author(s)

(davidherron.com) David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.