Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A is for... Ace

Travelling companion to the Seventh Doctor. Ace was a schoolgirl from Perivale in West London, real name Dorothy. She had an unhappy childhood - not getting on with her mother, who she despised. Her father has never been mentioned - so either deceased or he had abandoned the family home. Ace got into trouble on numerous occasions. An unhealthy interest in explosives saw her blow up her school's art room. On another occasion she set fire to an abandoned house - Gabriel Chase - after a friend had suffered a racially motivated attack. She and her friends would either hang out at the local youth club, or spend time on nearby Horsenden Hill. Ace always believed that her life did not really belong on Earth, and one day her real parents would turn up and take her away.
One evening she was experimenting with a new mix for her home-made explosive - Nitro 9. She was caught up in a time storm and found herself in the far future, on the planet Svartos. Here she got herself a job as a waitress in an ice cream parlour in the Iceworld complex.
It was here that the Doctor and his companion Mel met her. Her rebellious streak led to her being sacked. She then joined the Doctor, Mel and Sabalom Glitz in their quest for the fabled Dragonfire which was said to be hidden in the lower levels of the planet. At one point, Iceworld's boss, Kane, tried to recruit her into his mercenary army, but she refused.
After Kane was defeated, Mel decided to leave the TARDIS and travel with Glitz. She recommended that the Doctor take Ace with him. Though he never said anything, he knew that an old enemy was behind the time storm that had brought Ace to Iceworld.
In the London of 1963, Ace befriended a young soldier named Mike Smith. She was disgusted to find that Mike's mother did not permit coloured people to reside at her guest house. Later, she was furious to learn that Mike was a secret member of a neo-fascist group that was working against her friends. Fiercely loyal, she expected the same of others.

She could become frustrated by the Doctor's refusal to reveal details about his background. When captured by the Happiness Patrol on Terra Alpha, Ace was forced to audition for them - and revealed that she couldn't sing, dance or play any musical instrument. She loved jazz music - and Charlton Athletic FC.
As well as her Nitro-9, Ace was happy to pick up other weapons to defend her friend, who she would call "Professor" rather than Doctor. Against the Cybermen, she employed her catapult armed with gold coins taken from Lady Peinforte's home. She would usually carry a rucksack full of useful items - even a folding scaling ladder, which came in handy when attempting to escape from vampiric Haemovores.
The Doctor soon began testing Ace - finding out her fears and forcing her to face them. On learning that she hated clowns, he elected to take her to the Psychic Circus on Segonax.
When they visited the Carbury area and met the Brigadier, Ace became somewhat jealous of his friendship with the Doctor and seemed to resent him. He was happy to let her look after his old friend, once Morgaine and the Destroyer had been defeated.
At one point Morgaine attempted to break the will of Ace and her new friend Shou Yuing, and Ace appeared to almost let slip her own latent racism, though her thoughts might have been twisted by the sorceress.
The Doctor then took Ace to Gabriel Chase as it was in the late 19th Century, so that she could see the nature of the evil that she had sensed there. Ace was furious that the Doctor had done this.

It was then time for Ace to face other personal demons, and for the Doctor to confront the ancient enemy who had touched Ace's life. This was Fenric. All of the people who had gathered around a military base in NE England during WWII had been manipulated by this evil force - including Ace. She befriended a young WREN named Kathleen Dudman, who had a baby. Kathleen had just learned that her husband was missing at sea, presumed dead. Ace doted on the baby, even though it had the same name - Audrey - as her hated mother. When the camp came under attack, Ace sent Kathleen and Audrey to Streatham, in South London, to stay with her grandparents. Ace also fell in love with a Russian commando leader - Sorin. She was horrified to discover that he had been taken over by Fenric, and it was he who revealed that the baby was really her own mother. She had just inadvertently created her own timeline. The Doctor had succeeded in convincing the Ancient Haemovore that Fenric was responsible for its own pitiful existence and knew that it would attack him, but Ace's faith in him was holding it back. He was forced to attack her emotionally to destroy that faith. Fenric could then be destroyed.
After these traumatic events, the Doctor took Ace back to Perivale, in 1989. She learned that her mother had reported her missing to the Police. Few of her old friends were around, and the youth club was not the same any more. The intervention of the Master and the Cheetah People saw Ace and the Doctor transported to the Cheetah planet. Here, Ace bonded with one of the creatures - Karra - who saw in her a kindred spirit. Ace was almost taken over by the planet. Back in Perivale, she mourned Karra's murder at the hands of the Master.
Perivale was no longer home to Ace. This was now the TARDIS. She and the Doctor travelled on together for some time, but she eventually returned to present day Earth.
Ace reverted to her real name, and became a business woman - setting up a philanthropic organisation which she called A Charitable Earth.

  • As the companion who was aboard the TARDIS when the series ended in 1989, Ace has had more adventures than any other thanks to all the spin-off media that replaced the show. This has often been contradictory. All that was known until recently was that she stopped travelling whilst the Doctor was still in his seventh incarnation. Had a 27th series been made, the production team had an idea to write her out half-way through when the Doctor would have enrolled her at Prydon Academy on Gallifrey to shake the Time Lords up a bit. A DWM comic strip actually had her killed off. Books and audios have had her leave the Doctor temporarily, to go off and become a gun-toting Dalek slayer. The Sarah Jane Adventures story The Death of the Doctor reveals the truth. Russell T Davies has said that he would have brought Ace into the series for a guest appearance had it continued.
Played by Sophie Aldred. Appearances: Dragonfire (1987) to Survival (1989).

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