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Dorothy Gale “Ace” McShane was a companion of the Seventh Doctor.

Ace covered her fears and insecurities with a tough, streetwise exterior. Her weapon of choice, disapproved of by the Doctor (who nonetheless found it useful on occasion), was a powerful explosive she called “Nitro-9”, which she mixed up in canisters and carried in her backpack. She also wielded a baseball bat.

She was convinced the Doctor needed her to watch his back and was fiercely loyal to him. (TV: The Curse of Fenric) In turn, the Doctor took a special interest in Ace’s education, taking her across the universe and prompting her to come to her own conclusions rather than giving her all the answers. (TV: Ghost Light) She believed that the Doctor had the “deepest, saddest eyes.” (AUDIO: The Prisoner’s Dilemma) Ace once told the Doctor that she loved him. (AUDIO: Signs and Wonders) She did not want to have children. (AUDIO: Signs and Wonders)

Ace’s full name was never revealed on the television series, in which she was usually referred to by her nickname. Her surname was not established until original novels featuring the character were published, but her first name, Dorothy, was referred to on screen in the television story Dragonfire.

Production notes suggest that it was intended that her last name would be Gale, given the fact that she was transported to Iceworld via a time storm, much like Dorothy Gale, transported to Oz by a tornado in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The novels (and, later, the Big Finish audio dramas) gave Ace the last name of McShane. The Past Doctor Adventures set after the television story Survival and written by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry used the surname Gale, as the authors were unaware of the name used in the New Adventures. This was eventually resolved to some extent when the novel Relative Dementias by Mark Michalowski gave her full name as Dorothy Gale McShane, a version later taken up by the audios.

Ace is the only televised companion whose departure from the Doctor’s company has not been definitively established in any media. Instead there are a number of conflicting accounts.

If Doctor Who had continued as a television series after Season 26, Script Editor Andrew Cartmel had planned that Ace go to attend university on Gallifrey where, despite her human heritage, she would have trained as an apprentice Time Lord. She would have left halfway through Season 27.

Beginning with the the novelization of The Curse of Fenric, spin-off media have put forward conflicting scenarios of how Ace finally departed the company of the Doctor. The TV movie Doctor Who did not explain or rationalise her absence.

In The Sarah Jane Adventures television story Death of the Doctor, a reference was made to a former companion of the Doctor named “Dorothy”, who was running an organisation known as “A Charitable Earth”. Sophie Aldred has stated that she does not believe that this would be Ace’s chosen profession, unless the charity was nothing more than a front for UNIT.

Russell T Davies revealed in issue 445 of Doctor Who Magazine that he hoped to have Aldred return as Ace in The Sarah Jane Adventures, both in the present day and potentially also in flashback sequences. The death of Elisabeth Sladen, however, prompted the premature conclusion of the series.


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