Origin : Earth
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 – and was killed. The death affected Ace very badly.
Ace also got herself in trouble, with the law. Burning down an old house in Perivale – called Gabriel Chase, sensing evil – in Ghostlight – 1989.
After these events, Ace found it difficult to trust anyone; especially authority figures. She was then caught in a “time-storm” wormhole 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 huge 80’s “ghetto-blaster” portable tape player. Even though, the ghetto-blaster’s appearance was anachcronistic – in some time periods, such as 60’s London. After the ghetto-blaster got destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks, the Doctor built Ace a brand new 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. Ace met Lethbridge Stewart – in Battlefield – 1989 and Group Captain Gilmour in Remembrance of the Daleks and bickered constantly with both characters.
In terms of a Doctor Who companion, Ace started the trend of much deeper companion characterisation – in Doctor Who. Previous to Ace, only Tegan Jovanka had had anything like a stab – at an extended character background.
Much of the Seventh Doctor’s final season (27), 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 Perivale – and carried on travelling with the Seventh Doctor, after the show was cancelled – in 1989. Ace left the Seventh Doctor’s company, sometime before the subsequent regeneration to Eighth.
Season Twenty-Four – 1987