Five Hundred Eyes

Ace Electric

Whilst sitting in the bath one day (having a bath) I came up with an amusing little idea. Being a generous sort of chap, I'd like to share it with you all. Here it is.

Ace is not human.

There you go. Not bad eh? Oh ... you want to know why? Well, that's very complicated.

There are a lot of small, nagging facts that suggest this theory to me. Firstly, do you remember Ace's explanation of how she got to Svartos in Dragonfire (1)? She was whisked away by a timestorm whilst experimenting with nitro. Oh, yeah. Right. Happens to me all the time in Chemistry lessons. Unbelievably dodgy isn't it? Exactly. So dodgy it's suspicious. Obviously Ian Briggs must have had a good reason to stick in such a blatantly ludicrous line - I mean, he would have been better off not mentioning where Ace came from at all, it would have been a huge cop-out, but at least not downright pathetic! Instead he chose to slap the 'time storm' guff on us. There HAS to be a reason. I think that, knowing at some late draft stage that Ace was going to be staying on, Briggs added the line so that in future seasons a certain ... plot development could take place.

My theory is that Ace is in fact controlled by The Master, and was actually created by The Master. She is not a 'natural' human being, but some sort of incredibly complex artificial construct that walks, talks (a bit), and lobs deodorant cans. This 'time storm' was in fact The Master's doing - he controlled it and put her on Svartos.

How do I know she's not human? Well, it's obvious ... she's so totally unbelievable. Sixteen year-old girls do not act like Ace. They do not dress like that (photographs in THE FACE, which is where Sophie Aldred says she got the ideas for the costume, have no relevance whatsoever to the real world!); they do not use that hideous slang ('Doughnut' and 'Bilgebag'?); they are not members of 'Fanderson' (come on, credit the youth of today with more sense!); they do not adapt easily to being thrown across the galaxy by timestorms and attacked by hideous monsters and, believe it or not, they are not explosives experts! I mean ... a sixteen year-old girl interested in CHEMISTRY? Ian Briggs has GOT to be kidding, right?! NO ONE likes Chemistry ...

I like to think there is a reason for this artificiality, other than the obvious one that Ian Briggs is an untalented hack. To make sure the Doctor would take her on board, when creating Ace The Master was very careful in trying to make her 'believeable' and 'real'. Unfortunately he didn't know anything about sixteen year-old girls from 1987 - which was the type of companion he decided to create (to find out why, see later on) - so he did some research. He analysed a random sampling of sixteen year-old London girls (much like Ian Briggs did, less scientifically, with his motley gang of young pals - Annemarie, Joanne and Juno ...), mixed up their physical and mental characteristics, and used them to create what he thought was an Average London Girl. Unfortunately this sort of thing simply doesn't work - you can't create a rounded, real human being with all their quirks and idiosyncracies using logic. In much the same way as a man from Beetlegeuse quite logically chose the name 'Ford Prefect' as a "nicely inconspicuous" name, The Master quite logically created a totally unreal parody of a London girl of 16, with a strange pot pourri of opinions and characteristics. For example, look at Ace's taste in music. Her dress suggest to me she's sort of, like, 'rilly into' hip-hop - you know, Salt 'n' Peppa, idiots with skateboards, that sort of thing, because they're the sort who wear cycling shorts and black jackets covered in badges. But this is at odds with evidence both in Remembrance of the Daleks - she arrives carrying a ghetto which is blasting out rather heavy rock music - and Silver Nemesis, where she's suddenly 'into' Jazz, to the extent of having one of Courtney Pine's tapes and going to see him sax-blowing. This suggests three possibilities to me: (a) she's a remarkably well-adjusted girly with a wide range of musical tastes - but this seems at variants with the rest of her thick character; (b) Cartmel didn't think about it; (c) it is an incredibly subtle pointer to the fact that Ace is a jumbled-up hotch-potch of 'other girls', and is not REAL, but a mistake.

Then again, quite possibly this caricaturish persona was a deliberate mistake by The Master. The whole twisted reasoning behind the creation of Ace is, I think, that by getting The Doctor to believe in her and take her in, The Master can finally kill the Doctor, using Ace, and humiliate him at the same time - partly by using Ace in some way (getting her to take photographs of him in the shower and giving them to the News of the World?), and partly by simply pointing out how stupid the Doctor was to be taken in by the Master's cheap tricks. How much more embarrassing and humiliating for the Doctor then if the Master drops him lots of big clues as to the 'truth about Ace' that he could pick up on, but which he doesn't spot? I think this is the reasoning behind some of Ace's stranger traits - it's all caused by the Master's dark, Joker-ish sense of humour.

Following on from this, we can tell that the Master is obviously familiar with The Wizard of Oz. Wasn't it clever of him to drop some HUGE hints to the Doctor using this knowledge? This is why Ace is called DOROTHY, why she speaks of a 'time storm', why she has a (stuffed) dog (in the novelisation, anyway), as well as a speech about "looking up at the stars" and "wondering where (she) really came from" - sounds like "When you wish upon a star ... la la la". (Yes Ian, if you say so.) How surprising the Doctor hasn't noticed this yet. (All right, you could argue this is Ian Briggs pulling our legs - especially considering the end of Dragonfire with the melting man (cf. Wicked Witch of the West) but my explanation is much more fun! Incidentally, Ace has also met a Tin Man who hasn't got a heart - the Cyberleader, some Munchkins - the Pipe People, a White Witch - the Nemesis, and presumably will soon meet up with a cowardly Tharil and Jon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge ...)

Further confirmation of my theory comes in Remembrance of the Daleks and Silver Nemesis, in which Ace is seen casually massacring brigades of Daleks and Cybermen. Now, I don't know about you, but if I was faced with a situation like that I'd shit myself and jump out of the window, not take on the alien monsters with whatever I happened to have with me at the time (such as a baseball bat, a catapult, an orange and white key-ring, etc. ...) Obviously Ace is ... somewhat remarkable.

I think that Ace can run for a time on her own - somewhere inside there she has some form of organic brain or a computer that can run her independently, so she can be set on 'auto-pilot', as it were, and will behave according to a set programme of 'typical' '16 year-old girl responses'. Examples of the results of this include her eyeing-up Mike in Remembrance (1), the 'Yuk, this is horrible' lines in Greatest Show (1) when she eats a bowl of Plaup, and her somewhat hollow-sounding declaration of "I'm weally weally scared, Doctor" in Silver Nemesis (3).

However, sometimes the Master switches her onto direct control, and guides Ace's actions himself, remotely. I can very easily imagine him grinning gleefully and shouting things like "Stupid Pepperpots!" as his 'toy' destroys first the Daleks and then the Cybermen. That would be good entertainment for a twisted psychopath like the Master.

Then there's Dodo. A 1960s companion who bears a remarkable similarity to Ace. Her real name is Dorothy (all right, Dorothea, same difference), but she prefers her 'trendy' nickname. She comes from London - Wimbledon in fact. She's the same age as Ace. She's also an orphan. She talks in slang - "Blimey, cor, fab gear, crikey, flippin', ta" - just like Ace - "Blimey, strewth, ace, wicked, hang about ...". Fellow Travellers in DWM 74 describes Dodo as "petite, dark hair, brown eyes and a forceful personality". There is even a slight physiognomal resemblance - compare pictures of Jackie Lane and Sophie Aldred. Coincidence seven or eight times over? I thinnk not. Obviously, to make sure that the Doctor would take in his creation, the Master analysed his mind to find out what sort of companion he would like to have ... and perhaps he found that the Doctor would like a young companion. The Master already knows that the Doctor likes humans, and that most of his companions have been female. Then perhaps he took a look in the Doctor's memories, or searched into some records, and found a companion called Dodo, a young Earth girl. Obviously he decided to use her as a blueprint to start with, and mix in Dodo's characteristics with those of the 80s Earth girls. Presumably he guessed rightly that just as the first Doctor took in Dodo because she was so like Susan, the seventh Doctor would take in Ace because she reminded him of Dodo, and perhaps also Susan.

It adds up, doesn't it?!? When you add all this to some of Ace's 'heart-wrenching' background, which is so badly written it smacks either of a terrible hack writer or someone pulling the legs of us and the Doctor ("I ain't got nop mum and dad, I don't need no mum and dad, it's just me, awlright?"), and the previously mentioned 'teenage-angst' crap about "looking up at the stars", it seems patently obvious that Ace is not a real girl. She's a plant. The Master is just biding his time, enjoying himself bashing up Daleks and Cybermen and laughing away to himself at the Doctor's gullibility. Any minute now he's going to reveal all, perhaps use Ace to humiliate or disgrace the Doctor publicly, and then use her to kill him (shouting EX-TER-MIN-ACE!?). And then he'll have finally won the eternal game the two of them play.

Which brings me to Season 26. I told all this to a friend of mine, because I thought it was a pretty neat ideas and I was going to do a comic strip based on the theory. He came back to me, all shocked, and told me about a rumour he'd heard for Season 26. In this scenario, in one story it is revealed that the Master PUT Ace on Svartos using the time storm, and has been waiting all the time, ready to take control over Ace and use her to get one over on the Doctor - although she hasn't realised it and is a normal Earth girl. Spooky, eh?

Now, let's see. Next season features - oh look - THE MASTER in Survival, which is set in - oh, Perivale, Ace's home. And the next story is set in Perviale too. Well, well, well. I wonder. If it is the truth, just remember - I wrote this article on July 6th (1989), and I had the idea about three months ago, sitting in the bath. The trouble is, I don't think this scenario will be used. It's far too imaginative and complex an idea for the present production team to come up with! Still, it's possible I suppose. Do I have a psychic link with Andrew Cartmel? Stay tuned till the Autumn [1989] and find out ...

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