Companion reign : 1987 – 89
“Want me to blow it up?….. Professor?”
Explosives and jazz….
Dorothy Gale McShane or “Ace”, (played by Sophie Aldred) as she was also known; was the second companion of the Seventh Doctor.
Ace first met the Seventh Doctor, in the events of Dragonfire – 1987; after the departure of previous companion – Mel.
Ace was a radical departure from her girly predecessor, Mel. Ace was tough, uncompromising and favoured homemade explosives – called Nitro-9 to demolish things. She was also partial to guns and carried a silver baseball bat for protection.
Ace hailed from Perivale in North London, during the 20th Century and had had a troubled childhood and teenage life. Her best friend – who was Asian, had her flat firebombed in a racist attack.
She also got herself in trouble with the law, burning down an old house in Perivale called Gabriel Chase, sensing evil there in Ghostlight – 1989.
After these events, Ace found it difficult to trust anyone, especially authority figures. She was caught in a time storm anomoly and dumped on an alien planet – called Iceworld.
It was there, that she found work as a waitress and also met the rogue hunter – Sabalom Glitz; who was already well acquainted with the Doctor, following events in Trial Of A Timelord.
In something of a Sci-fi Pygmalion, the Seventh Doctor spent time trying to educate and civilise Ace. Ace referred to the Doctor as “Professor”, rather than “Doctor” because of this.
Ace liked her music (especially Jazz) and used to cart around a ghetto blaster. Even though its appearance wad anachcronistic in some time periods, such as 60s London. After it got destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks, the Doctor built Ace a newer more techy ghetto blaster which also doubled up as a communication signal blocker (Silver Nemesis).
“It’s just!… I don’t feel properly dressed without a couple of cans of nitro!” Ace – Dragonfire
However, Ace’s rougher qualities were useful to the Seventh Doctor and she doubled for a bodyguard; frequently blowing up or smashing her way through opposition.
She had problems with self imposed authority figures, especially the retired Unit Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart; who she met in Battlefield – 1989 and Group Captain Gilmour in Remembrance of the Daleks bickered constantly with him.
In terms of a Who companion, Ace started the trend of much deeper companion characterisation in Who. Previous to Ace, only Tegan Jovanka had had anything like a stab at an extended character background. This deeper companion characterisation continued into the newer post-2005 series – with Rose, and Amy Pond.
Much of the Seventh Doctor’s final season (24), was spent uncovering elements of Ace’s past. Including; the events surrounding Ace’s traumatic childhood, in Ghostlight – 1989. The birth of Ace’s mother Audrey in Curse Of The Fenric – 1989 and her eventual return home to Perivale in Survival – 1989.
Ace didn’t stay too long in her old stomping patch and carried on travelling with the Seventh Doctor, after Who was cancelled in 1989. She left his company sometime before his regeneration.
Season Twenty-Four – 1987