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There was a time beetle in the episode Turn Left and it died after Rose helped to revert the changed history. So what is it doing on Donna’s back on the Shadow Proclamation station in The Stolen Earth?

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    It's not. What makes you think it is? Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 10:16
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    The servant at the station says, "there was something on your back", not "there IS something on your back". See also this question.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 12:16
  • I think there was also the time beetle's sound on the station. Or not? I'll have a look. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 19:44
  • @MrLister thanks, I thought the servant said "there IS ..." Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 19:47

2 Answers 2

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There was no beetle on her back in that episode, but the servant can still "see" it. The servant is part of a time-aware species, so she can see elements of Donna's past and future. She can "see" the insect because it was previously present, and she can "see" the tragedy in Donna's future as well. But note that, in Turn Left, whenever someone saw the beetle on Donna's back, it was also briefly shown on-screen (i.e. the viewer also sees it), something that never happened in Stolen Earth.

According to the closed captioning, the servant does say "There was something on your back", which makes sense in that context -- she's commenting on Donna's recent history. But I admit the dialog isn't terribly clear, and given the number of times we hear "There is something on your back" in Turn Left it's easy enough to mis-hear the servant use the present tense instead.

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It's no longer on her back. The original script states that the line is as follows;

[Donna takes the bowl. But the Albino stays, staring.]

ALBINO SERVANT: There was something on your back.

DONNA: How d'you know that?

ALBINO SERVANT: You are something new.

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