As I was saying, in my previous column for “The DW-Time Zone,” before I was so rudely interrupted by Bells Palsy and Unemployment for the last seven months – Doctor Who rocks.
And while I was away, I spent a ton of time watching and re-watching the relaunched series with the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. Each were different. Each brought their own strengths and each brought their own weaknesses, but each of them needed a foil of sorts. They needed someone to show how clever they were, to show how awesome the universe was, and just how cool it was to go back and forth in time.
Say what you will about the current companions; I liked ‘em for the most part. Although, I thought the entire run of the Eleventh Doctor focused too much on Amy Pond. After all, Amy was the mother of the River Song – who is “the one who got away” for the Doctor.
In a very weird way, River was one of the only bridges between the Russell T. Davies run of the series to the Steven Moffat run series. For me personally, I have thought the Doctor has almost had three incarnations – the Classic, the Russell T. Davies years, and now the Steven Moffatt years. I have always wanted to see more of a bridge between the latter two.
One of the strengths of the Russell T. Davies series was the ability to bridge between his series and the Classic Doctor Who – the best example was bringing Sarah Jane Smith back to the series. Thanks to the BBC-Powers-That-Be, she was given her own series “The Sarah Jane Adventures.” Yet, sadly, Elizabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane, died in April 2011 and with it one of the most brilliant links to the original series.
(It would be idiotic for me not to note the passing of Nicholas Courtney who played the Brigadier and was a major part of the series. However, he did not appear in the “Doctor Who”-series proper. He did appear in “The Sarah Jane Adventures”).
So what should the “Doctor Who” franchise do?
Simple…bring back Ace.
Portrayed by Sophie Aldred, Ace was the young girl companion to the Seventh Doctor. She wore a leather coat and carried a sack that had grenades and a rope ladder in it (eat your heart out, Batman!). Aldred last played Ace on screen in 1989 when the Classic series was canceled.
Sophie has gone to have a lucrative career as a voice over actor. She plays the role of “Dennis the Menace” in the British version of the character (not to be confused with Hal Ketchum’s U.S. Creation). Aldred has also gone on to star in the series “Tree Fu Tom.” “Tree Fu Tom” is, according to this article by The Radio Times, “set in an enchanted world where movement creates magic, the show will find Tom (Aldred), an apparently normal eight-year-old boy, transformed into a magical superhero and transported to an enchanted kingdom called Treetopolis, where he will meet faithful sidekick sprite Twigs (Tennant).”
Aldred went on to say:
“I had previously played a character called Ace who was Doctor Who’s companion and now, some years later, I’ve got a Doctor Who as my companion! It’s been really great working with David and we have shared a couple of Doctor Who stories!”
That is cool.
It’s funny, because as much as I adore the Eighth Doctor, the Seventh Doctor and Ace were my “first Doctor and companion.” Whereas most of my comic book nerd friends had crushes on Princess Leia and Counselor Troi…I wanted to take Ace to my Junior/Senior Formal in high school.
While clearly Sarah Jane Smith set the standard for the Doctor Who companion, Sophie Aldred carved out her own path as Ace. I for one, would love to see her back in the Who-Universe, because while Doctor Who sure does rock, so does Ace!