Pete’s World: Some Speculations on the Timeline
If you haven’t been watching Doctor Who (2006), you will probably be unaware that four out of thirteen episodes of the second season (Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel (Tom MacRae)/Army of Ghosts / Doomsday (Russell T. Davies)) featured an alternate world, termed Pete’s World by the Doctor, largely because Pete Tyler – Rose’s father – remained alive. For those of us who like this sort of thing, it becomes fascinating to speculate about the possible point of divergence.
Simple facts – the existence of Ricky’s family – suggest that the POD was not all that recent. The Preachers (a mixed-race/sex group) and the black President suggest that racism is not a particular problem within Britain, which tends to rule out Mountbatten’s coup plan. In fact, the fact that Pete and Jackie are still married, but clearly without a daughter, suggest that the POD took place sometime between their wedding and Rose’s conception. Mickey/Ricky was born a few years before Rose was/would have been born.
The Doctor’s discussion with Pete ("Pete Tyler; I knew you when you were dead") more or less confirms this. Pete wouldn’t have responded to the Doctor’s description of their wedding – see the first season’s Father’s Day – unless it happened the same way in his timeline. This suggests, very strongly, that whatever happened took place soon afterwards…and as it had the effect of making one of Pete’s schemes actually work (shock horror!) it must have been related to corporations.
My guess (and it will probably never be confirmed) is that Lumic himself more or less funded a business party (hence the remark about buying the government), which overthrew the Royal Family and took power. In the semi-permanent state of unrest following this, martial law was declared, the rich went into the sky, and thousands of people were shoved into ghettos or made homeless. The homeless, at least, ended up being converted into Cybermen.
This state of affairs might well have been worldwide. Geneva, the home of parts of the UN in Doctor Who, was referred to as having a supervisory role over certain fields of study, including the creation of new life. Is it impossible to speculate that Lumic, who was able to establish a worldwide network of Cybermen producing factories, might have been working with other corporations to establish the global dream?
(On an aside, might Torchwood have had something to do with the advances in Pete’s World; Cybermen are impossible to our universe, at least at the moment. Lumic wouldn’t have hesitated to ‘purchase’ it and use it for his own benefit; Yvonne might well have gone along with him.)
Clearly, at some point between Lumic’s actions and Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel, the government began to claw back its power. They might not have been so hostile to the requirement for continuing the state of martial law, but Lumic clearly needed their approval to continue with the Cybermen program. When the Cybermen killed or ‘assimilated’ the government members, they took the core out of the Republic.
We are left to speculate on what happened between Age of Steel and Army of Ghosts. It seems likely, however, that while Mickey and Jake were liberating Paris, Harriet Jones and Pete Tyler took control of the Republic, renaming it the People’s Republic. During the long war against the Cybermen, Torchwood was clearly captured…and then used by both sides to cross the Void.
There are other signs that point that way. Jake (and apparently the remainder of the Preachers) ended up working directly for Pete and Torchwood, Pete having been appointed the new director. Mickey seems to have worked for them as well, leading the fight against the Cybermen, who might well have managed to counter the Doctor’s weapon. Britain’s golden age – a term used in our timeline as well – seemed to be coming…until the Cybermen seemed to be defeated.
If we go by Jake and Pete’s story of what happened, the Cybermen were being beaten, until some people started suggesting that the humans should work to try to de-cyber them, rather than just destroying them. While this argument went on, the Cybermen returned to Torchwood, where they used the equipment and the information to cross the Void through the breach.
The breach, apparently, was made by the Daleks; their Void Ship had used it as a hiding place…until it was rammed by the TARDIS, sending the TARDIS into Pete’s World. While the Doctor said that he’d close it after returning (Age of Steel), he was clearly unable to do so…or the Daleks simply hid inside Pete’s World and returned later. That would explain the Cybermen; they found the Sphere inside Torchwood II, and then followed it through to Torchwood I, where it came to rest.
This forced Pete and Mickey to work on crossing the breach themselves…and brought the two timelines back into contact.