In Voyage of the Damned episode of Doctor Who (2005), the Nuclear Storm Drive of the Titanic was capable of destroying all life on the planet.

From the transcript:

The Doctor: Oh, yes. If we hit the planet, the Nuclear Storm explodes and wipes out life on Earth. Midshipman, I need you to fire up the engine containment field and feed it back into the core.

Conversation with Capricorn:

Capricorn: I have men waiting to retrieve me from the ruins and enough off-world accounts to retire me to the beaches of Penhaxico Two, where the ladies, so I'm told, are very fond of metal.
The Doctor: So that's the plan. A retirement plan. Two thousand people on this ship, six billion underneath us, all of them slaughtered, and why? Because Max Capricorn is a loser.

In a later episode Turn Left, Donna was pushed into an alternate timeline by a fortune teller in which she never met The Doctor. Due to this, The Doctor died. Without him, the Titanic crashed into Buckingham Palace, which destroyed London. Why did it destroy London only?

Is this a known plot hole? Or I am missing something?

  • 2
    There's some fan speculation at tardis.wikia.com/wiki/… that "The Trickster", who was in the Sarah Jane Adventures Episode Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane?, may have stopped world-destroying events in the Turn Left universe, since in the alternate Sarah-Jane-less universe he created in WHTSJ, he stopped other invasions that SJ should have foiled (because he "feeds on chaos", and wanted to keep SJ from stopping world destruction by a meteor, which would be more random than destruction for "profit, power, revenge").
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 18:40
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    Another fan speculation at forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=867312 is that some characters on the Titanic like Astrid or Frame may still have been able to shut down the nuclear storm drive before impact, but without the Doctor's help couldn't prevent the crash itself.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 19:07
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    It is all very timey wimey
    – joshbirk
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 21:37
  • 3
    Captain Jack and Torchwood weren't dead/taken to Sontar until after the crash. That happened in the alternate universe's version of "The Sontaran Stratagem", which came after the Titanic crash. They could have interfered somehow, and I don't think it was ever said that UNIT was put out of action. As for the meteor thing, I don't see the issue. The Trickster could just stop the meteor, and he would if it meant more chaos on Earth. It wouldn't really matter if the meteor was due to hit before or after the crash.
    – Amy
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 4:47
  • 2
    @Amy - the idea is that the Trickster wanted the meteor to crash because that would be a chaotic or random way for humanity to die off, so he had to prevent earlier disasters where humanity would have been destroyed by aliens with more discernable motives. From the transcript at chakoteya.net/SJA/108.htm : "Those other species, they invade for profit, power, revenge. The meteor is pure chaos. The destruction of the Earth for no reason at all, just blind chance. This is food for me."
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 13:37

2 Answers 2


The Titanic was in the process of pulling up in the alternate universe. Since the Doctor states that with the drive turned off, the anti-gravity drives won't work...

"As soon as it stops, the Titanic falls"

...we can assume that someone on the ship (possibly Astrid, Midshipman Frame or even the 5th Doctor (Due to the events of the Time-Crash mini-episode) {h/t to @Amy for that suggestion} could have made some efforts to control the ship and restart the Storm Drive or reactivate the engine's containment field.

The Doctor also makes reference to a "Secondary Storm Drive" being activated by the heat of re-entry. We can presume that this also happened in the alternate universe and while it may have been insufficient to allow the ship to miss the ground it would have probably provided some level of containment to the engines.

  • How could Astrid or Midshipman even survive without The Doctor? The Doctor alerted them, saved them from vacuum opening and from those robots.
    – user931
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 20:23
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    @sachinShekhar - The Doctor interacted with both characters. His absence would have affected their movements.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 20:39
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    This is purely speculation here, but maybe the Fifth Doctor tried to help but was forced to abandon it for some reason. His and Ten's TARDISes crashed into each other just prior to the Titanic impacted Ten's, so if Ten's TARDIS wasn't there, then presumably, Five's would have been hit and he would have been the one to go through those events.
    – Amy
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 4:38
  • 1
    Thanks, and I would, but I don't really have any in-show facts to back it up, and unsubstantiated answers are generally to be avoided. Nothing wrong with headcanon-ing it, though.
    – Amy
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 4:50
  • 1
    @Amy - That's a brilliant deduction. I've edited accordingly.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 6:07

This is simply a plot hole. In "Turn Left," had the Titanic done what was shown in Voyage of the Damned that would have happened had The Doctor not have pulled it up then the world would be destroyed since you turned right there would be no wait to come back. It was necessary to only blow up London to advance the plot of "Turn Left". Also the directors and producers probably do not think that anyone pays attention to such a detail from a long time ago. And they might not even remember that detail themselves.

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