Happy Birthday To The Doctor & Ace
Today, the 20th August is the joint birthday of former Doctor Who stars Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred who are 70 and 51 respectively.
Sylvester McCoy was born Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith on 20th August 1943 in DUnoon, Scotland. McCoy has numerous stage and TV acting roles including the legendary Saturday morning children’s show TISWAS, prior to being cast as the seventh incarnation of The Doctor in 1987. Sophie Aldred was born in Greenwich, England on 20th August 1962. Aldred was cast as Dorothy ‘ACE’ McShane in 1987, replacing Bonnie Langord as Melanie Bush, companion to the sixth Doctor Colin Baker.
We first saw the pairing of Sylvester’s Doctor and Sophie as Ace in the Series 24 opening serial DRAGONFIRE which aired 23rd November 1987 – 7th December 1987.
Synopsis: On Iceworld, the Doctor and Mel unexpectedly encounter an old friend –Sabalom Glitz. Joined by Ace, a teenage waitress with a love for explosives, the group ventures off to find the fabledDragonfire treasure. But as usual, dark forces close in on them – and Iceworld itself.
Series 26 ended with Survival which aired 22nd November – 6th December 1989. This was to be the final ever episode of the world’s longest running science fiction television proramme, and Sylvester and Sophie’s swan song. The series’ finalé saw the Doctor and Ace head ‘home’ to the ever faithful and sometimes unreliable TARDIS. After 27 years, Doctor Who had come to an end, finally losing the fight to stay on UK screens to BBC1 Controller Jonathan Powell who pulled the plug; despite his predecessor Michael Grade’s initially attempt to cancel the show during Colin Baker’s tenure in 1985.
Here is their final scene together in Survival (although they went on to film Ghost Light which was the second serial of Series 26 which aired 4th October – 18th October 1989). John Nathan-Turner brought McCoy back in to the studio on 23rd November 1989 to record the now iconic voice-over for the scene …
Doctor: “There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, the sea is alseep and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on Ace, we’ve got work to do”
Remembering Anthony Ainsley
As a matter of fact, today would have been the 81st birthday of the late, great Anthony Ainsley, who played The Master from 1981 – 1989. His Master went up against four incarnations of The Doctor, from what is now referred to as the vintage or classic series of Doctor Who; played by and in order: Tom Baker (Fourth), Peter Davison (Fifth), Colin Baker (Sixth) and Sylvester McCoy (Seventh). First appearing in The Keeper Of Trakken.
Ainsley reprised his role as The Master in the 1997 BBC computer game Destiny Of The Doctors, which was to be his last appearance as the character.