Ace: The First LGBT Companion

 

Ace is one of the best companions of all time. Maybe even the best we’ve had. Not only that, you could argue that she was the first LGBT character in Doctor Who; kick starting the vast diversity in the show. Today we will be looking at Ace’s character and how she became a fan favourite companion that will be forever remembered in the many decades of Doctor Who.

It hasn’t been made clear of Ace’s sexuality. Writers for the seasons 25 and 26 have confirmed to writing the character as LGBT. An example of this is Rona Munro who wrote Survival. Munro inferred a lesbian relationship between Karra one of the Cheetah People. Although it wasn’t confirmed on screen, it was a great step to take for developing the Doctor’s companions.

Ace is not only the first LGBT character but the first to be properly developed. Personally I think Ace is the best written and developed companions we’ve had. She is such a complex character who was strong yet also vulnerable. Many have said Ace acts as the blueprint for the modern companion which I have to agree. The legacy she left back in 1989 reflects modern companions and plays a vital part in inspiring the modern series we have today.

Ace’s origins are an interesting one. With an admiration for explosives, one of her own explosions even transported her to Ice World where she met the 7th Doctor and Mel in Dragonfire. Ace was a fresh start when it comes to companions. Instead of the stereotypical role of the asking questions and the continuous screaming sort, she could hold her own and was completely independent. She even beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat so it automatically makes her one of the best.

Through to Doctor Who’s final series she began to get more complex. Instead of being a naive teenager we saw grow more into a woman. This was the first sort of character development we got from Doctor Who which we sadly didn’t get to see more of after season 26. We even learnt more about her backstory which made the character of Ace just as interesting as the Doctor. We learnt of her hatred of her mother that was explored in The Curse of Fenric and how her friend was killed which Ace spoke about in Ghost Light. You can see that there is a lot more to Ace more than meets the eye which I adore from her character.

Additionally, Sylvester Mccoy and Sophie Aldred have brilliant chemistry together making them my favourite Doctor and companion pairing. In the modern series, it seems Clara is defined as the Doctor’s most loved companion that he would go to extremes for. In my opinion I am not convinced by this. You could tell that the Doctor treasured Ace as a companion and had a father and daughter relationship. I can’t imagine the Doctor loving Clara more than Ace or even the iconic Sarah Jane compared to Clara. Ace is such an iconic companion that I think the Doctor will forever remember.

For me, Ace is the main reason I marathon all of the 7th Doctor’s story. Her character in a way revitalised the show near its end and made it feel like it was going in a new and better direction. Stories in the ‘80’s were beginning to decline in the 6th Doctor and early 7th Doctor stories. However, when Ace came along, we received incredible stories and are now renowned as classics. What I’m most pleased about season 26 is that it didn’t end terribly, but ended on a high. There’s not a single story I hate in season 27 and is one of my definitely one of my favourites. Stories became so much more complex, darker and enjoyable throughout her time which had the potential to develop so much more if it wasn’t cancelled.

With show being cancelled by Michael Grade in 1989, Ace was supposed to become a Time Lord on Gallifrey when she would depart from the Doctor. This would have been such a fitting end for her character and would really make her stand out from other companion goodbyes. It would have also been brilliant to see how Ace would further develop and learn more about her past. Instead of televised stories, we now have Big Finish to enjoy this dynamic duo and also the Virgin Adventure books that are sadly now extremely rare that continued the show during the hiatus. Ace was also supposed to appear in The Sarah Jane Adventures which would have be incredible to see two of the best companions’ side by side.

Overall, Ace is my favourite companion of all time. Not only was she the first to be fully developed, she was also complex, layered and the first LGBT companion to appear on screen. What are your opinions on Ace? Leave your comments below or tweet us at @GallifreyRchive. You can also tweet us at @Who_Pride which is dedicated to our LGBT month.

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