Much like Rose Tyler in 2005, and long before Buffy, Xena, and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica were lauded for capable female characters [and] progressive story arcs, - Ace became the emotional core of Doctor Who. While more adult connotations were initially vetoed by producer John Nathan-Turner, in companion terms Doctor Who was poised to step closer to the real world. Far from distracting from the character of the Doctor, this actually allowed the Time Lord to be viewed more as an enigma - removed from humanity but forever its champion. While we may never truly identify with the Doctor, here we had arguably the first companion, we all either knew, could be, or could spot on the street.
Disproving the theory that a companion’s main role is to provide exposition, themes of teenage angst, racism, and sexuality all presented themselves in young McShane - a notable first for not only Doctor Who, but all genre TV of that age. Unaware of the significance of their actions, Andrew and his colleagues were formulating and plotting decades ahead of their time, “I only realised how different it was from the standard template years later. At the time, I just knew I liked it.”