Doctor Who: BBC release anniversary special trailer
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Doctor Who actress Sophie Aldred has spoken up about being asked to come to the BBC series after three decades. Aldred, 60, portrayed companion Ace opposite Sylvester McCoy’s seventh Time Lord in the long-running series between 1987 and 1989. The London-born actress reprised her role as Ace in the 2022 episode The Power of the Doctor as part of the BBC 100 celebrations, marking the broadcaster’s centenary.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Aldred said: “It was the call I’d always been waiting for.”
She went on to say: “I ended the call and I burst into tears” and described it as a “magic moment” being asked back.
Aldred and fellow classic Doctor Who actress Janet Fielding – better known as Tegan Jovanka – both came back to the show, alongside their respective Time Lords McCoy and Peter Davison.
Even though Aldred has been part of the Doctor Who world through the ever-popular Big Finish audio dramas and convention circuit, her turn in The Power of the Doctor was a true return to the franchise for the actress.
She also addressed donning Ace’s famous bomber jacket again, revealing she’d actually had the original one after Doctor Who’s showrunner at the time John Nathan Turner told her and the rest of the cast to hold into their costumes amid the original 1989 cancellation.
“So, I’ve had that jacket hanging in my cupboard for all these years and occasionally brought it out when people asked at conventions and things,” she said.
Reflecting on teaming up with McCoy once more, Aldred said: “Working with Sylvester was an absolute dream.
“Obviously, we’ve worked together a lot in the intervening years and I’m pleased and forever thankful to call him one of my very best pals still.”
She said it was a “really moving moment” for the pair to be reading lines together and filming in the studio.
Aldred also reflected on the key differences between filming in the 1980s versus now, admitting some things had strangely remained the same.
“It was a very similar atmosphere,” she said but there was one key difference: rehearsals.
When she worked on Doctor Who there was rehearsal time before the cast got in front of the cameras – something of a rarity in today’s fast-paced era of television-making.
“The first day I did on my own and that was a bit terrifying,” she said. But after meeting everyone, she felt a sense of familiarity as the crew and cast were “incredibly friendly”.
On a practical level, the cameras and the filming equipment were “much smaller” than during her time on Doctor Who, added into this the special effects which were notoriously low budget on the series previously.
“I think it provided fans with something they had been looking for,” she said about the episode, which serves as a bridge between old and new Who with Aldred and Fielding getting meatier parts rather than just small cameos.
The star addressed meeting Jodie Whittaker’s first female Time Lord: “The moment Jodie bounded onto the set to say hello to us, from there it was like we’d always known her.
“And Ace has a line in The Power of the Doctor which is, ‘That’s a good look on you, Professor’, she says. ‘Professor’ was her nickname for the Doctor.”
Sadly, Aldred confirmed she wouldn’t be in the 60th anniversary celebrations this year as it was already “done and dusted” but was still happy to have been part of the BBC 100 episode.
Weighing on whether she’d like to appear in an Ace spin-off, Aldred said: “I mean, yes, come on!
“I think I’ve got everything crossed that Russell T. Davies is thinking, ‘Oh yes.’ He’s playing his cards very close to his chest.”
Aldred is now busy working on some other projects including returning to Doctor Who conventions which are taking her to America, New Zealand and Australia as well as working on some new audiobooks.
Doctor Who celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and will be returning to BBC One in 2023
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