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Ace!: The Inside Story of the End of an Era…

Ace!: The Inside Story of the End of an Era

by Sophie Aldred, Mike Tucker

Series: Doctor Who

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The style of this book reminds me of a scrap book someone might have lovingly compiled about a treasured period of their life, littered with photos and cuttings. That's were the resemblance ends. There are no curling edges or glue stiffened pages, of coarse, but most of all it's a work that can be enjoyed by more than the compiler or interested friends and relatives.
The bulk of the book focuses on each of the serials that Sophie appeared in from the last two seasons of Doctor Who, ordered as they were produced instead of when they were transmitted. Each serial has a cast and production list followed by the two authors memories of their involvement.

At first, reading one of Mike's segments, I thought that I would soon grow bored of his detailed descriptions of effects and models. I'm the sort of person who can go to a magic show and watch the performance without trying to figure out how the illusions were really achieved. I'm the same with special effects, so it came as a slight surprise that he was holding my attention. I'm fairly sure that there's not much chance of just anyone being able to learn what the effects department does like a trade; it's probably like being an artist - you either have the imagination and skill or you don't. Many of the effects were limited by cost or time or by the restrictions of the format of the show. It's probably the balance of what they would have liked to achieve against what they eventually had to settle for that makes these segments so fascinating, that and the enthusiasm of a man who clearly enjoys his job.

Sophie's segments are completely different. She recounts her time on the show with a series of anecdotal stories, filling the gaps with her feelings and thoughts of the time. There is a real sense of what it must have been like for a relatively unknown young woman suddenly landing a lead role in one of the most famous t.v. series of all time. She writes amusingly and well.
The contrast of the subject matter and writing styles of the two authors enhances the book. Contributions from the production team and to a much smaller degree by the cast are included as insets alongside Mike and Sophie's writings, most notably John Nathan-Turner and Sylvester McCoy.
I earlier compared the book to a scrap book and perhaps the wealth of photographs included on every page was the reason why. Like their writing styles even the photographs take on the personalities of the owners; Mike's are more focused on the different stages of the effects and models being constructed whereas Sophie's are of people and herself. Sophie can be seen mugging for the camera, striking silly poses or catching the other members of the cast and crew in either candid or posed shots. I've read a lot of other Doctor Who books and magazines and usually the same pictures are rolled out again and again which isn't the case here; the majority of photographs are totally unique to this book. There are so many that each serial has a double page spread devoted to just pictures and insets, and some serials have two.
All good things come to an end, they say, and this proved to be the case eventually for the original series of Doctor Who. The book ends with a look at what life has been like for Sophie, Mike and Ace after the show was axed and includes Doctor Who spin offs, conventions and a look at the further adventures of Ace in books and comics. On the whole the book is an excellent tribute to a show that is no more but still lives on in the hearts of the fans and the memories of the people who worked on it. ( )
1 vote Finxy | Jul 7, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sophie Aldredprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tucker, Mikemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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