Ace’s legacy will be explored as she encounters the Thirteenth Doctor in a new novel by the actor who played her, Sophie Aldred.
It’s a paradox perfectly suited to the world of Doctor Who. Ace is a character with many endings, or none, depending on your point of view. The Doctor’s companion from 1987 to 1989, she was last seen in the final episode of Doctor Who’s original run. Our last glimpse being her walking away with the Doctor ‘home’ to the TARDIS. The Doctor returned to our screens seven years later with the 1996 TV movie. But Ace was nowhere to be seen. So what happened to her?
Over the years novels, comics, and audio plays have all sought to answer the question. Rarely have they agreed. Perhaps Ace died in the Seventh Doctor’s arms. Or was left on Gallifrey to be trained as a Time Lord in her own right. Or became an older, more cynical, writer of wrongs on a time travelling motorbike as Time’s Vigilante. Now, finally, the woman who played her is getting her say.
Sophie Aldred’s new novel At Childhood’s End builds on the only hints to reach television itself. The Sarah Jane Adventures played with the uncertainty about Ace’s real name with the line “And there’s a Dorothy something. She runs that company, A Charitable Earth. She’s raised billions.” This version of the present day Ace even appeared in the trailer for the upcoming Season 26 Blu-Ray boxset. She’s first seen surveying the London skyline from the CEO’s office of A Charitable Earth (A.C.E., get it?). But quickly Dorothy is summoned back into the Doctor’s world by a knock on the door. A knock with a question mark handled umbrella.
But we never see or hear which Doctor is doing the knocking…
At Childhood’s End finally reveals the truth behind the Seventh Doctor and Ace’s final adventure, when the Thirteenth Doctor returns to face the consequences
At Childhood’s End sees Dorothy, companion to one of the most scheming, game playing Doctors, reunited with one of the most effortlessly open and honest ones. But how easily with Dorothy trust this new incarnation of the Time Lord? And what will Yaz, Ryan and Graham make of Dorothy’s stories of how the Doctor used to be?
First time author Aldred said she was “thrilled and honoured to have been asked to create this opportunity for the Thirteenth Doctor and Ace to meet each other. I had always hoped to be able to offer classic fans an encounter between Ace and a current Doctor in some form or other.”
Describing Doctor Who as “the most amazing programme in the Universe“, she expressed the hope that “fans of the present team will enjoy the blending of two eras” in the way that only Doctor Who can.
Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End by Sophie Aldred
Once, a girl called Ace travelled the universe with the Doctor – until, in the wake of a terrible tragedy they parted company. Decades later, she is known as Dorothy McShane, the reclusive millionaire philanthropist who heads global organisation A Charitable Earth.
Dorothy is haunted by terrible nightmares, vivid dreams that begin just as scores of young runaways are vanishing from the dark alleyways of London. Could the disappearances be linked to sightings of sinister creatures lurking in the city shadows? Why has an alien satellite entered a secret orbit around the Moon?
Investigating the satellite with Ryan, Graham and Yaz, the Doctor is thrown together with Ace once more. Together they must unravel a malevolent plot that will cost thousands of lives. But can the Doctor atone for her past incarnation’s behaviour – and how much must Ace sacrifice to win victory not only for herself, but for the Earth? Past or future, which path do you choose?
Sophie Aldred has been working as a professional actress, singer and director for the last 35 years in theatre, TV, film and audio. She is best known as the Seventh Doctor’s companion, Ace, who beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat. She has presented a huge variety of programmes on TV and radio. And she provides many voices for animations including Tree Fu Tom, Bananas in Pyjamas, Peter Rabbit and Dennis the Menace. Sophie lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two sons.
Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End by Sophie Aldred is 352 pages and will be published by BBC Books on 6th February 2020. RRP £16.99. At Childhood’s End will also be available as an audiobook in CD and digital download read by Sophie Aldred.