(The "Beast Below" has only just aired in the United States, but I've had two weeks to ruminate over various points in the plot since it was first broadcast in Britain.....)
In the 'Doctor Who' episode "The Beast Below", Amy Pond figured that Scotland had to be represented somewhere on Spaceship UK. But young Mandy shot down that idea.
"They wanted their own ship."
“Good for them, nothing changes.”
But is that what really happened?
They may have wanted their own ship, but could it be that they never got one? Could it be that the people of Scotland were left behind to fry in the solar flares that swept the Earth?
I'm not the only one to consider this.....
From an online acquaintance (via the blog "The Medium Is Not Enough"), author Marie Phillips posted: (My contrary head was full of questions like how come the whale's tentacles had teeth, and if Scotland really had gone on a "different ship" does that mean that they all died?)
I can't back this up because I can't get too clear an image, but apparently Scotland is represented on the map seen in the Vator that Timmy takes in the opening of the episode:
It could be that the plans were to include a cross-section of Scottish society on board, but there was no time to get them into Spaceship UK.
It's standard practice in Toobworld, that if a character tells you something, then it must be true. But they never present the facts to back up those statements - so how do we know that the Spaceship UK starwhale was the last of its kind? Just because Liz 10 told us so?
When it comes down to it, I've long held that the Doctor himself is a liar, liar, pants on fire - about his age, about the ability to "slide" between dimensions, etc.
This could then be another example. What if there just wasn't room for Scotland, did the same happen to Wales? At least with Northern Ireland, we know it must be on the spaceship - or spaceships - for Ireland, as the Emerald Isle was reunified in 2024 (fourteen years to go!), at least according to 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'.
I find it hard to believe that Great Britain was supposedly unable to get its own spaceship out there before countries like Zimbabwe, Burundi, Eritrea, or Somalia (some of the top ten poorest countries in the world). In fact, I doubt any of them were able to afford to build spaceships at all, let alone get them completed in time before the solar flares swept Earth Prime-Time in the 29th Century. ('Doctor Who' provided the precedent for that occurrence with the second of the Tom Baker stories, "The Ark In Space".)
But like Grandma Esther Walton once said, you say a thing often enough you begin to believe it. Indoctrination in the classrooms by the Smilers would have had the future generations on board Spaceship UK believing that every other country escaped before them. When it's likely that the British took advantage of the arrival of the starwhale and escaped without any concern for the rest of Toobworld. And should anybody later question why they never did come across other spaceships from other countries, maybe those "Winders" in charge would have come up with an excuse like - oh, I don't know... - a giant space goat? (Thank you, Douglas Adams!)
And it seems doubtful to me that Spaceship UK would have been big enough to house the entire nation - who knows how much the population expanded by the 29th Century? I'm thinking it was a government-selected cross-section of the population - all of the children, (even captured and tortured, the starwhale would have raised a ruckus otherwise), and qualifying members of society like doctors, agriculturists, nuclear scientists, electrical engineers, historians, mathematicians, phone sanitizers, and sadly, probably the entire government and of course the Royal Family of the time.
(It's part of the movie universe, but a good demonstration of this kind of winnowing of the human population is depicted in "When Worlds Collide".)
The adults that were left behind would have boiled, roasted, or been fricasseed by the solar flares in agonizing pain and torment......