AI Predicts Doctor Who’s 60th Plotlines: The Star Beast
Feature article by Albert Connors.
AI is a hot topic this year, and gifted with this incredibly powerful tool, I decided to conduct some vital research into things that will actually benefit humankind. Before that though, I was curious about what our future overlords would make of Doctor Who’s 60th-anniversary specials, so I set it to work.
Specifically, I asked the AI to predict what will happen with the plots of each of the three specials. Of course, AI needs some prompting before it gets on with the task, but I tried to keep the info to a minimum. I told it only a few essentials: the titles of the specials, that the 14th Doctor and Donna would feature as Doctor and companion, respectively, and who the villains were (if known).
In a series of articles, I will be revealing what the AI came up with. Of course, these storylines are entirely fictitious, so you don’t have to worry about it actually being spoiled. Or do you? Maybe the AI knows more than it’s letting on. Maybe it hacked into Russell T Davies’ laptop first, before secretly plotting the demise of the human race. We won’t know until later this year… Anyway, let’s begin. Allons-y!
“The Star Beast” Complete Plot (according to AI)
The TARDIS materializes in a bustling London street. Stepping out is the 14th Doctor who finds himself drawn to this familiar setting by a strange energy reading.
As the Doctor approaches the source, he finds UNIT cordoning off a nearby street. There’s been a crash landing – an alien ship – and the energy readings match those of the Black Star, a radiation source that the Doctor recognizes all too well. He fears the crashed ship must belong to one of the Meep, and there’s only one he knows who would dare come to Earth – Beep the Meep.
Just then, two familiar faces appear from the crowd – Donna Noble and her mother, Sylvia. They’ve been drawn to the scene by the commotion, but Donna does not immediately recognize the Doctor due to her memory wipe. Sylvia, however, does. She is shocked and worried, knowing the danger that remembering the Doctor could pose to her daughter.
As the Doctor and UNIT begin their investigation, Donna starts to experience fragments of her past. Sylvia, seeing this, tries to distract Donna and protect her from the truth. But the Doctor’s presence and the growing crisis with Beep the Meep make this increasingly difficult.
Over time, despite Sylvia’s efforts, Donna’s memories of the Doctor return. The moment is emotional and fraught with danger, but miraculously, Donna doesn’t perish – her mind somehow withstands the return of her memories. Armed with her regained knowledge and the urgency of the situation, Donna joins the Doctor and UNIT in their mission.
The Doctor and Donna discover evidence that Beep has survived the crash and escaped, leaving a trail of radiation that’s affecting the local populace, turning them into zombie-like drones. The Doctor realizes that Beep is planning to repair his ship for a star jump from Earth, an event that could cause catastrophic damage.
UNIT and the Doctor race against time to locate Beep and prevent the star jump. Donna plays a crucial role, using her quick wit and resourcefulness to track Beep down. Meanwhile, the Doctor tries to mitigate the effects of the Black Star radiation on the affected Londoners.
As they close in on Beep, the situation takes a dangerous turn. The Wrarth Warriors, the intergalactic law enforcement hunting Beep, arrive on Earth. A tense confrontation ensues. The Doctor, always the peacekeeper, must mediate between UNIT, the Wrarth Warriors, and Beep, trying to find a solution that prevents a star jump and saves Beep’s victims.
In the end, with Donna’s help, the Doctor manages to outsmart Beep, preventing the star jump and saving the city. UNIT apprehends Beep and agrees to hand him over to the Wrarth Warriors. The Doctor uses his TARDIS to reverse the effects of the Black Star radiation on the affected Londoners.
As the dust settles, Donna looks at the Doctor and grins. “Just another day in the life of a temp from Chiswick, eh?” The Doctor laughs, and together they step into the TARDIS, ready for their next adventure.
Thoughts on the AI’s story
I’m impressed with what the AI came up with. Given what we’ve seen from the trailers so far and public filming, it appears the plot won’t be different from this, with some deviations here and there. The AI did seem to recycle some of the story elements from the original comic strip. Though perhaps like other stories that Doctor Who has adapted from extended media (such as Human Nature), it will follow the original source material quite closely anyway.
I also found the conclusion to be vague, so I asked the AI to expand upon it, and it replied:
After apprehending Beep and preventing the star jump, the Doctor and Donna return to the TARDIS. The Doctor, using advanced scientific instruments within the TARDIS, is able to isolate the specific frequency of the Black Star radiation that has been affecting the Londoners.
With Donna’s help, the Doctor then programs the TARDIS to emit a counter-frequency, a wave that can neutralize the Black Star radiation, much like noise-cancelling headphones can cancel out unwanted sound. The Doctor activates the TARDIS’s materialization circuit, causing it to dematerialize and rematerialize throughout London in quick succession, spreading the counter-frequency across the city.
The affected Londoners begin to return to normal as the counter-frequency cancels out the Black Star radiation in their bodies. It’s a process that takes some time and leaves them confused and disoriented, but ultimately safe and healthy.
In the aftermath, UNIT steps in to help manage the situation, providing medical care and support to the people affected, while the Doctor and Donna take off in the TARDIS, ready for their next adventure.
It certainly sounds like the sort of Doctor Who ending you’d expect, but I’d be surprised if the conclusion played out exactly like this.
Can AI predict some actual dialogue?
Finally, I was also curious if the AI could predict and write some dialogue. I thought I’d give it a challenge and get it to write a couple of scenes that AI may find harder to write than a human. First, one scene I thought would be challenging was the 14th Doctor seeing Wilf again for the first time. However, the AI didn’t bat an eye.
EXT. LONDON STREET – DAY
The DOCTOR spots a familiar figure in the crowd.
He darts through the crowd, making his way toward WILFRED MOTT, who is now in a wheelchair. Seeing the Doctor, Wilfred salutes him, an old habit from his military days.
Doctor! It can’t be… you look…
He frowns, confused and surprised.
The Doctor kneels down to be on eye level with Wilf and returns the salute with a smile.
(returning the salute)
Yes, it’s still me. How that happened, I’m not entirely sure…
Wilfred’s face lights up with joy, mixed with confusion.
But I thought… I mean, I assumed you’d… Never mind, it’s good to see you, Doctor. I’ve missed you.
I’ve missed you too, Wilf.
Wilfred’s joyous expression fades into a somber one.
Doctor… I need to say something. About what happened… last time.
Wilf, you don’t–
Wilfred interrupts him.
(cutting him off)
No, Doctor, I need to. I’ve been carrying this guilt for years. I’m so sorry, Doctor. I didn’t mean to… I never wanted you to…
The Doctor reaches out, placing a comforting hand on Wilfred’s shoulder.
Wilf, what happened wasn’t your fault. You did what you had to do. You were brave.
But I caused you to…
To regenerate? Wilf, that’s part of being a Time Lord. It was my time. And look at me now! I’m still here, aren’t I?
Wilfred looks at the Doctor, his eyes filled with gratitude.
Yes, you are… And I’m so glad you are, Doctor.
Finally, I asked it to write a Doctor-y speech as the Doctor is about to save the day.
INT. TARDIS – DAY
The DOCTOR scrambles over the TARDIS controls. DONNA watches him, her eyes wide.
DONNA (voice tremulous) Do you really think this will work, Doctor?
The DOCTOR glances up at her, his gaze resolute.
DOCTOR Donna, in all my lives, in all my travels, there’s one thing I’ve learned: it’s that every moment, every atom in the universe is connected. Life, hope, love… these aren’t just concepts, they’re the very fabric of reality. And you see, that’s what the Meeps and the Wrarth Warriors don’t understand. They see power, conquest. But the real power, the real magic… it’s in the connections. It’s in every shared smile, every helping hand, every act of kindness.
He whirls around, fingers dancing over the controls.
DOCTOR (CONT’D) And it’s those connections that I’m going to use to save this planet. Not with weapons or force, but with science, with understanding, with a little bit of Time Lord ingenuity.
The TARDIS thrums to life, the familiar wheezing and groaning echoing through the console room.
DOCTOR (CONT’D) The TARDIS is more than a spaceship, Donna. She’s a beacon of hope, a beacon of life. And I’m going to use her to reverse the effects of the Black Star radiation. Not just by cancelling it out, but by reminding every atom, every cell in those affected that they’re not alone. That they’re part of this universe. Part of this wonderful, intricate tapestry of existence.
He slams down a lever, and the TARDIS lurches.
DOCTOR (CONT’D) Hold on, Donna! Time for a little trip around London.
As the TARDIS dematerializes, the DOCTOR leans against the console, his eyes twinkling.
DOCTOR (CONT’D) Remember, Donna, it’s not about having the power to conquer. It’s about having the power to connect, to heal, to love. And that’s a power everyone has, not just Time Lords.
With a final flourish, he adjusts a dial, and the TARDIS shudders.
DOCTOR (CONT’D) And that, Donna Noble, is how we’re going to save the day!
Given that AI is still relatively new, again, I can’t help but be impressed with what it came up with. I have no doubt Russell T Davies will do a better job, but it will certainly be interesting to compare later this year. I’m not a screenwriter, so I can’t analyse any of this on that level, but I could certainly imagine this sort of technology being used in future productions. No wonder screenwriters are concerned!
Anyway, that’s it for part one, join me again next time when we’ll look at the second special, Wild Blue Yonder. Unlike this first story, very little is known about it, so it’ll be interesting (and maybe a little scary) to see what the AI comes up with…