Ace's Girls of the Week

So. I have, at this point, seen every episode of the Classic series featuring Ace, nearly every Main Range story between 1 and 200 that she’s been in, and the Big Finish adaptation of Love and War off the VNAs. I’m noticing a small but nagging difference in how Ace is typically characterized in stuff before and after the start of the Wilderness years.

In the Classic series, Ace is shown to be very charismatic and friendly and very quickly makes friends with people she meets around her age. In every serial (minus Silver Nemesis, I guess) she’s got a sort of one-off companion of her own (ex: Mags, Shou Yuing, Mike Smith). Notably, most of the characters she develops a strong bond with are girls. There’s a strong degree of homoeroticism in a lot of these relationships, enough that fans have coined the term Ace’s Girl of the Week to refer to them. For some of these, the homoeroticism is definitely intentional – Rona Munroe has gone on-record about the dynamic she wrote between Ace and Karra, and it’s hard to imagine certain scenes from Ghost Light being written that way accidentally – while in others it’s less clear. Either way, Ace is pretty firmly cemented as a queercoded character.

In my experience thusfar with the Monthly Range, Ace seems to rarely make close connections with new people, and when she does its mainly with men – usually with a romantic undertone if it isn’t already outright romantic. The only exception to this I can think of is in this weeks audio club, The Genocide Machine with Bev Tarrant (as a side note: Ace becoming friends with a character from the Bennys without meeting Benny herself in this line of canon is so funny to me). Also notable I think, when Ace does get the opportunity to form a connection with other women in the Main Range, it’s [spoilers here for Black and White and beyond] Aristedes and Sally Morgan, both of whom she’s pretty hostile towards. The antagonism makes sense for their shared history, admittedly, but the fact that she seems particularly hostile towards Sally Morgan, who seems to be pretty well in line with the typical Girl Of The Week archetype – going so far as to call her Barbie is a little… interesting.

Once I noticed the difference in how Ace interacts with new people I couldn’t stop noticing it. I’ve got a few little conspiracy theories about the causes, personally.

Anyways, my questions for you all are these: What do you think of the differences in Ace’s characterization post-Survival? If you’ve gone through the VNAs, her appearances in Gallifrey, or any of her other non-Classic-series appearances, does Ace ever get another Girl? Do any other Extended Universe writers give her back her friendliness? What’s your favorite Ace/Girl dynamic?


Wow, you’re so right!! I had never really thought about this before now, but yes, thinking about it the EU does seem far more keen to give Ace edgy boyfriends than any female friends at all (or ‘‘friends’’)

I must say I do enjoy her fleeting interactions with Leela in Gallifrey though, and it’s heartbreaking to me that the two of them never really get to spend that much time together - even if Ace and Narvin are a dreamteam, I would have liked to have seen Ace and Leela bond over being human outcasts together.


ahhhh!! ive been getting into Gallifrey and i knew Ace showed up later, it’s a shame to hear they don’t get more time together, they seem like they would make such good friends :frowning: now i want to draw them hanging out… and the ‘edgy’ part is so right lol.


I won’t spoil it but yes she and Leela are brilliant friends and if they gave us 100 boxsets with just them I’d be happy haha

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i’m excited to see them together!!! I’m pleasantly surprised by how much i enjoy gallifrey thusfar since it has a lot of elements that on paper i find really tedious lol. maybe one day we’ll get lucky and there’ll be an audio that’s just the two of them…

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I do think Ace’s lack of friendliness (at least later on in the Monthly Range) can be put down to her increasing emotional reliance on The Doctor and her getting worse at relating to normal people, as is pretty well demonstrated in A Death in the Family, seeing how her relationship with Henry Noone goes. Still think she deserves some more friends. when will Big Finish hire me…


There is one Main Range audio where Ace forms an explicit romantic attraction with a girl! (It’s The Grey Man of the Mountain—a very recent one.) But you’ve articulated something I also find frustrating with the EU’s approach to Ace. From my experience the VNAs do the same thing but even more, and I think a lot of Big Finish writers are taking notes from her arc in those books, even if they’re in separate continuities.

Slightly separate, but I think early Big Finish is substantially less queer than either the EDAs or the TV show at the time. It’s only really in the past five/ten years they’ve really pushed for more queer characters in every range, which I really appreciate.


Both of these points, yeah exactly - I think the audios generally do follow on from the VNAs, if not canonically then at least spiritually. After all, a lot of the same people were writing and editing both in the beginning. And I think I get why they wanted her to become an edgier kind of character, and it is kind of heartbreaking the way that it’s because she knows the Doctor that she becomes such a wreck, but imagine how fun it would have been if she had had not only a string of dubious boyfriends, but also continued having dubious affairs with women too.

I suppose it is what it is for the early 2000s, and it is nice that lately BF have been including casual queer characters in their ranges - sometimes I find it a little frustrating because they clearly have been put there as ‘representation’ rather than a real character (looking at you, Tania from Stranded… oh you could have been so great (and she is. I just have a Stranded rewrite in my head where she’s even cooler)). But I’m running the risk now of becoming a grumpy old man, so in short, yes. I love that BF have been unashamed to try and be better, even if it hasn’t been perfect


nice to know somebody else picked up on it hehe. i totally agree… and im definitely going to check out that story, good for my girl !!

I TOTALLY GET THIS. its so frustrating because so many people use ‘people only put in diverse characters to check boxes instead of writing good characters’ as an excuse for hating on any diverse characters at all… and then this kind of stuff only proves them right :grimacing:
Man… I would love seeing Ace having a string of doomed relationships with women throughout space-time lol. I mean, really she deserves a non-doomed relationship, but that might be a bit difficult with some of the turns her character arcs take.


Fortunately, there are also shows that get it right. I feel like the Owl House did a particularly good job of diversity and representation. Of course, it also ended up getting cancelled…

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You and me both!


Has any of the other production staff from her era, other than Rona Munroe that is, said anything about Ace being deliberately queer coded?
I know Sophie Aldred has said that she didn’t know Ace was perceived in such a way until several fans told her how important Ace’s queerness/bi-sexual identity was to them - and she has definitely, wholeheartedly embraced that identity for Ace.

I think her personality onscreen is very friendly and flirtatious with basically everyone she meets and not necessarily decidedly romantic in nature, there is probably a degree of projection on the perception of Ace (as is probably also the case with Yaz in series 11 and 12). But such projection can also significantly heighten your enjoyment of media.

I was just wondering if her portrayal in the VNAs and early Big Finish is not merely a continuation of the initial outline of Ace’s character?

For the record, I love the queer aesthetic associated with Ace - it is wicked :rainbow_flag:


for sure for sure!! sad to see how often the good rep gets cancelled before its time… im still always happy to see how far we’ve come in terms of what makes it on-screen, just in the past decade even. I still have yet to get into Owl House but it always makes me smile to see people talking about it, its totally the kind of thing I would’ve loved to have when i was a kid :]

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My eldest absolutely adores Owl House and stayed up till the early hours of the morning to watch the final episode.

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