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Old 19-01-2013, 11:19
Pull2Open
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This is my first thread so here goes!

I'm asking this of you lot because I have noone who I know personally who would have an opinion or even gives a monkeys about Doctor Who!

I was watching Bonnie Langford recently in Doctor Who and was trying to put my finger on why she just wasn't suited for the programme or why she was so disliked (I know this is subjective and no doubt there are probably those of you who think she was the best companion) and it suddenly hit me while watching her departure scene, a scene that is generally regarded as a bit rubbish in any case!

Anyway, Bonnie Langford was from Stage school as we all know and started off her career on the stage as a singer and dancer and musicals actress, and that was pretty much what she has done for her whole career!

Now, I noticed how over pronounced her acting was in Doctor Who, acting that would look perfect on a stage where you have to project emotions, facial features/expressions etc...but on the small screen that really doesn't work!

So, I believe that she didn't work because she was acting as if she was on the stage and basically, over doing it and looking like she was going to slap her thigh at any moment!

Look at her final scene where she is about to depart, she is crying and wipes a tear/snot away from her face/nose...it would look perfect on stage but looks ridiculous on telly. That scene sums her up for me!

Anyway, what do you all think, would she have been better if she was more toned down or was Bonnie Langford simply not for Who??
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Old 19-01-2013, 11:41
daveyboy7472
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This is my first thread so here goes!

I'm asking this of you lot because I have noone who I know personally who would have an opinion or even gives a monkeys about Doctor Who!

I was watching Bonnie Langford recently in Doctor Who and was trying to put my finger on why she just wasn't suited for the programme or why she was so disliked (I know this is subjective and no doubt there are probably those of you who think she was the best companion) and it suddenly hit me while watching her departure scene, a scene that is generally regarded as a bit rubbish in any case!

Anyway, Bonnie Langford was from Stage school as we all know and started off her career on the stage as a singer and dancer and musicals actress, and that was pretty much what she has done for her whole career!

Now, I noticed how over pronounced her acting was in Doctor Who, acting that would look perfect on a stage where you have to project emotions, facial features/expressions etc...but on the small screen that really doesn't work!

So, I believe that she didn't work because she was acting as if she was on the stage and basically, over doing it and looking like she was going to slap her thigh at any moment!

Look at her final scene where she is about to depart, she is crying and wipes a tear/snot away from her face/nose...it would look perfect on stage but looks ridiculous on telly. That scene sums her up for me!

Anyway, what do you all think, would she have been better if she was more toned down or was Bonnie Langford simply not for Who??
I don't personally have a problem with Bonnie Langford, just don't think she was suited for Doctor Who. As you say, some of her performances were very theatrical in nature especially during Season 24.

It didn't help that her character was so lightweight either so really only lightweight stories suited her, like Delta And The Bannermen. I couldn't see her character working in a story like The Caves Of Androzani.

To be fair to Bonnie Langford as well, she was cast alongside the Sixth Doctor and I felt she worked a lot better with him. She was also the victim of Colin Baker's sacking so she ended up with a Doctor not really suited to her. So circumstances weren't with her. Add in the behind the scenes chaos between Seasons 23 and 24 and that didn't help either.

You also have to blame the writing as well. Her debut story with the Vervoids was actually a good one for her and used her character well but after that it just went downhill.

I think if she'd been cast maybe a few years earlier she may have worked. In short, she was in the show at the wrong time and place but I think the theatrical acting was her downfall as well.

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Old 19-01-2013, 11:52
Batmannequin
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I always feel bad for poor Bonnie.

You simply cannot deny that she's a talented lady - especially her singing voice - and she's a very deft entertainer. And, on top of that, she's one of the loveliest people you'll ever meet.

But, let's face it, Mel just didn't really work out, did she...?

I think that the problem is that they wrote the part too much for Bonnie, rather than for Mel - the shrill voice, the nagging, the godawful perma-chirpiness. They'd basically just made Violet Elizabeth Bott: The Space Years. Bonnie was perfect for Violet Elizabeth Bott, and she deserves all the credit for making that character so memorable, don't get me wrong, but here's the thing that the Who team seemed to miss: Violet Elizabeth was SUPPOSED to be unbearably annoying. Why on Earth they thought that basing the companion on such a character - especially when they didn't have the warmenst of most likable Doctor either - is a mystery to me.

This then lead to the secondary problem - since Bonnie was essentially being asked to be "herself" [or the public perception of her, anyway] she very quickly falls into the bad habits that you note above, the sort of things she'd done in the past in roles that it was more suited to, but that just seemed awful in Doctor Who. Bonnie's not actually that bad of an actress - not GREAT, but not noticably worse than a lot of the past companions - but the role didn't ask her to show any of that, and so - rather than trying to do something interesting with the shambles she was given to work with - to elevate the character from self-parody or add depth - she just got on with the screeching and shrieking and nagging instead.

The terrible writing/character design lead to the bad acting, and the bad acting highlighted the terrible writing, until we were left with a shrill, ginger-permed perfect storm of crap.

It's not all bad, though - when given good scripts and better character depth, like in the Big Finish plays, Bonnie actually does a superb job, and Mel becomes a far more engaging character - in fact, I'd argue that the "redemption" Mel has received via Big Finish is second only to Colin's.
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Old 19-01-2013, 12:00
Pull2Open
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It's not all bad, though - when given good scripts and better character depth, like in the Big Finish plays, Bonnie actually does a superb job, and Mel becomes a far more engaging character - in fact, I'd argue that the "redemption" Mel has received via Big Finish is second only to Colin's.
I have downloaded about 40 big finish Doctor Who stories which I have yet to listen to, maybe I need to have a go. Not sure if I got a Mel story, they were given to me by a friend of a friend!
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Old 19-01-2013, 12:03
Rowls
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Yes, Bonnie unfairly gets the blame but the problem lies in the character conception and the writing teams inability to use their creation effectively. That's without going into all the production problems.

Sums up what was wrong with Dr Who in the 80s. You could have cast Laurence Olivier as the Doctor and had Kate Hepburn as Bonnie and they still wouldn't have been able to make it work.
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Old 20-01-2013, 10:31
AdelaideGirl
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The costume didn't help her get away from the panto performance - hard to play it straight and sensible with more than one emotion is hard when you are dressed in polka dots.
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Old 20-01-2013, 11:58
Listentome
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The costume didn't help her get away from the panto performance - hard to play it straight and sensible with more than one emotion is hard when you are dressed in polka dots.
Tell that to Colin Baker! Great Doctor hindered by a ludicrous costume.

Have to agree with the OP though, Bonnie's acting always seemed like she was projecting on stage. Not a bad actress, I just don't think she suited Doctor Who, especially coming in at a time when it was already considered a pantomime by the powers that be.
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Old 02-02-2013, 00:37
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Hello
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:24
Mrfipp
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It all comes down to writing, something the show wasn't too good with at the time.

From what I've heard, Mel's character greatly improved in the Big Finish Audio stories. I greatly enjoyed her in the book 'Spiral Scratch', she wasn't as chipper, a bit more cynical, and had great chemistry with the Doctor; I was a little moved by her during the last few pages of the Doctor's life. My only real complaint is that her use of a single curse word once during the whole book. She doesn't really seem like the kind of person to say 'bitch' even if it's before punching a reality eating snake. (That doesn't work out too well for her.)
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Old 02-02-2013, 23:43
TRT1968
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Bad thing #7 - Failed to halt to decline of Doctor Who in the late 1980s.
I was a keen cyclist in my youth. I cycled everywhere and did a few charity rides to boot. Manchester-Southport, London-Brighton, Manchester-Birmingham to name a few. I even used to brave the traffic of Manchester city centre when I headed off down to the nearest Maplin store to me. As a complete geek, I used to live in there, practically every weekend.

My cycling style is considered by some, SWMBO to be precise, reckless. Not that I am a danger to anyone. I always use the road, not the pavement. I have lights, a rare sight nowadays. I always signal my intentions and wait for the lights. I also have a pannier, puncture kit, foot-pump and an old steel-framed tourer bike, so it is heavy and stays on the road.
No, the issue is speed. I am of the "gears are for wimps" school of cycling, so I stayed in 5th gear all the time. This meant that, aside from snapping chains quite often, my legs were like tree trunks, and my average speed for most journeys was around 23mph; including stopping at lights. I had built my own digital cycle computer, by the way, before they became popular like they are today (I did say I spent my youth in electronics stores). It feels to me somehow safer to be doing the same speed as the other traffic, so just shy of 30mph was pretty normal for me. I have never been pulled over for speeding, but I did once get up to 65mph going down the Clough in Bolton. Never again. Oh, the Raleigh Sunburst... it develops a vibration in the steering at 55mph; thought I ought to mention that.

One particular'y fine Saturday afternoon, however, I was cycling near the Granada TV studios. Going past the Apollo Theatre on my heavy bike, doing around 30mph who should step out of the alley-way leading to the stage door right in front of me but Bonnie Langford.

I pulled on the brakes as hard as I dared and swerved to avoid her. I just clipped her make-up bag (something akin to a ski-bag, it was that big) and spun her around. I shouted an obscenity at her, something along the lines of "Open your eyes, you stuck-up ginger ****", as I swerved yet again to avoid the oncoming van, the driver of which was, in turn, swearing at both me and Bonnie. I have a potty-mouth, but it was as nothing to the tirade of abuse White Van Man could muster. I carried on going, as I wanted to get to Maplin before closing time, and avoid Mr. Diesel-Van-Angry.

Later that day, on the way home, I stopped at a Newsagent to buy milk, bread and a newspaper. At this point in my life I was drinking four pints of milk a day, one pint of orange juice and would only eat toast.

There, hidden away in the paper was something that will haunt me for the rest of my days.

"Bonnie the screamer boards Tardis!"

Yes, just a few days before, unknown to the world, the nauseating brat girl from Just William had signed the deal which rung the final death mel of Doctor Who. The ailing show which shaped so, so much of my life could no longer be pulled back from the brink once the ginger-haired talentless twatess had joined the cast.

Just a few milliseconds difference, just a few centimetres to one side, and I'd have collided with the pixie-like orange quasi-thespian with such a wallop that, if it hadn't snapped her in half like the over-baked twiglet that she is, would've put her in hospital for months. I'd have no doubt written off my bike, and ended up in traction myself, but it would have been well worth the pain, I can tell you.

Please, don't send me hate mail over this, I've agonised about it for years, and there's nothing you could say to me which I haven't already said to myself. I do, truly, hate myself for this missed opportunity to rid the world of The Langford.
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Old 03-02-2013, 00:11
Pull2Open
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Bad thing #7 - Failed to halt to decline of Doctor Who in the late 1980s.
I was a keen cyclist in my youth. I cycled everywhere and did a few charity rides to boot. Manchester-Southport, London-Brighton, Manchester-Birmingham to name a few. I even used to brave the traffic of Manchester city centre when I headed off down to the nearest Maplin store to me. As a complete geek, I used to live in there, practically every weekend.

My cycling style is considered by some, SWMBO to be precise, reckless. Not that I am a danger to anyone. I always use the road, not the pavement. I have lights, a rare sight nowadays. I always signal my intentions and wait for the lights. I also have a pannier, puncture kit, foot-pump and an old steel-framed tourer bike, so it is heavy and stays on the road.
No, the issue is speed. I am of the "gears are for wimps" school of cycling, so I stayed in 5th gear all the time. This meant that, aside from snapping chains quite often, my legs were like tree trunks, and my average speed for most journeys was around 23mph; including stopping at lights. I had built my own digital cycle computer, by the way, before they became popular like they are today (I did say I spent my youth in electronics stores). It feels to me somehow safer to be doing the same speed as the other traffic, so just shy of 30mph was pretty normal for me. I have never been pulled over for speeding, but I did once get up to 65mph going down the Clough in Bolton. Never again. Oh, the Raleigh Sunburst... it develops a vibration in the steering at 55mph; thought I ought to mention that.

One particular'y fine Saturday afternoon, however, I was cycling near the Granada TV studios. Going past the Apollo Theatre on my heavy bike, doing around 30mph who should step out of the alley-way leading to the stage door right in front of me but Bonnie Langford.

I pulled on the brakes as hard as I dared and swerved to avoid her. I just clipped her make-up bag (something akin to a ski-bag, it was that big) and spun her around. I shouted an obscenity at her, something along the lines of "Open your eyes, you stuck-up ginger ****", as I swerved yet again to avoid the oncoming van, the driver of which was, in turn, swearing at both me and Bonnie. I have a potty-mouth, but it was as nothing to the tirade of abuse White Van Man could muster. I carried on going, as I wanted to get to Maplin before closing time, and avoid Mr. Diesel-Van-Angry.

Later that day, on the way home, I stopped at a Newsagent to buy milk, bread and a newspaper. At this point in my life I was drinking four pints of milk a day, one pint of orange juice and would only eat toast.

There, hidden away in the paper was something that will haunt me for the rest of my days.

"Bonnie the screamer boards Tardis!"

Yes, just a few days before, unknown to the world, the nauseating brat girl from Just William had signed the deal which rung the final death mel of Doctor Who. The ailing show which shaped so, so much of my life could no longer be pulled back from the brink once the ginger-haired talentless twatess had joined the cast.

Just a few milliseconds difference, just a few centimetres to one side, and I'd have collided with the pixie-like orange quasi-thespian with such a wallop that, if it hadn't snapped her in half like the over-baked twiglet that she is, would've put her in hospital for months. I'd have no doubt written off my bike, and ended up in traction myself, but it would have been well worth the pain, I can tell you.

Please, don't send me hate mail over this, I've agonised about it for years, and there's nothing you could say to me which I haven't already said to myself. I do, truly, hate myself for this missed opportunity to rid the world of The Langford.
Just GO!
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:04
inspector drake
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Bad thing #7 - Failed to halt to decline of Doctor Who in the late 1980s.
I was a keen cyclist in my youth. I cycled everywhere and did a few charity rides to boot. Manchester-Southport, London-Brighton, Manchester-Birmingham to name a few. I even used to brave the traffic of Manchester city centre when I headed off down to the nearest Maplin store to me. As a complete geek, I used to live in there, practically every weekend.

My cycling style is considered by some, SWMBO to be precise, reckless. Not that I am a danger to anyone. I always use the road, not the pavement. I have lights, a rare sight nowadays. I always signal my intentions and wait for the lights. I also have a pannier, puncture kit, foot-pump and an old steel-framed tourer bike, so it is heavy and stays on the road.
No, the issue is speed. I am of the "gears are for wimps" school of cycling, so I stayed in 5th gear all the time. This meant that, aside from snapping chains quite often, my legs were like tree trunks, and my average speed for most journeys was around 23mph; including stopping at lights. I had built my own digital cycle computer, by the way, before they became popular like they are today (I did say I spent my youth in electronics stores). It feels to me somehow safer to be doing the same speed as the other traffic, so just shy of 30mph was pretty normal for me. I have never been pulled over for speeding, but I did once get up to 65mph going down the Clough in Bolton. Never again. Oh, the Raleigh Sunburst... it develops a vibration in the steering at 55mph; thought I ought to mention that.

One particular'y fine Saturday afternoon, however, I was cycling near the Granada TV studios. Going past the Apollo Theatre on my heavy bike, doing around 30mph who should step out of the alley-way leading to the stage door right in front of me but Bonnie Langford.

I pulled on the brakes as hard as I dared and swerved to avoid her. I just clipped her make-up bag (something akin to a ski-bag, it was that big) and spun her around. I shouted an obscenity at her, something along the lines of "Open your eyes, you stuck-up ginger ****", as I swerved yet again to avoid the oncoming van, the driver of which was, in turn, swearing at both me and Bonnie. I have a potty-mouth, but it was as nothing to the tirade of abuse White Van Man could muster. I carried on going, as I wanted to get to Maplin before closing time, and avoid Mr. Diesel-Van-Angry.

Later that day, on the way home, I stopped at a Newsagent to buy milk, bread and a newspaper. At this point in my life I was drinking four pints of milk a day, one pint of orange juice and would only eat toast.

There, hidden away in the paper was something that will haunt me for the rest of my days.

"Bonnie the screamer boards Tardis!"

Yes, just a few days before, unknown to the world, the nauseating brat girl from Just William had signed the deal which rung the final death mel of Doctor Who. The ailing show which shaped so, so much of my life could no longer be pulled back from the brink once the ginger-haired talentless twatess had joined the cast.

Just a few milliseconds difference, just a few centimetres to one side, and I'd have collided with the pixie-like orange quasi-thespian with such a wallop that, if it hadn't snapped her in half like the over-baked twiglet that she is, would've put her in hospital for months. I'd have no doubt written off my bike, and ended up in traction myself, but it would have been well worth the pain, I can tell you.

Please, don't send me hate mail over this, I've agonised about it for years, and there's nothing you could say to me which I haven't already said to myself. I do, truly, hate myself for this missed opportunity to rid the world of The Langford.
Blooooodyy hell!
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:06
GDK
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Bad thing #7 - Failed to halt to decline of Doctor Who in the late 1980s.... [snip] ..... do, truly, hate myself for this missed opportunity to rid the world of The Langford.
You have a great turn of phrase.

Thankfully, the incident doesn't seem to have upset Ms Langford. Having abuse hurled at her for a simple mistake, I mean.

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Old 03-02-2013, 23:12
DavetheScot
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You have a great turn of phrase.

Thankfully, the incident doesn't seem to have upset Ms Langford. Having abuse hurled at her for a simple mistake, I mean.

She probably just thought "Typical cyclist". Anger management problems seem to be the norm in the cycling fraternity.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:19
TRT1968
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She probably just thought "Typical cyclist". Anger management problems seem to be the norm in the cycling fraternity.
I have mellowed considerably in the intervening years! And I now realise that Mel was merely a symptom of the disease that killed my favourite programme, rather than the cause.
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Old 04-02-2013, 23:17
JayPee86
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when did the doctor meet mel?
i watched some of the trial of a timelord and she just seemed to appear...
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:13
Mrfipp
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when did the doctor meet mel?
i watched some of the trial of a timelord and she just seemed to appear...
The Mel we meet in Trial of a Timelord is from the Doctor's future. It was planned for in the next season to explore how the Doctor first met her from her perspective, but when Colin Baker was fired this became impossible.

One of the books deals with this though. I'm not sure what the name is, but I do think it involves the Brigadier, and maybe Autons.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:24
gslam2
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The book is Business Unusual by Gary Russell
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:28
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I think Bonnie's a lovely person - but yes, TOTALLY unsuited to Dr Who.

This was part of the BBC's decision to make Dr Who "child friendly" again, having felt it had become too violent in the early-mid 80s. Alas, "child friendly" seemed to be interpreted as 'panto-esque', something Bonnie would have ben ideal for.

Only in its final (old Who) season did it start to regain some of the gravitas that had defined it as quality telly in the early-mid 70s.

I think Bonnie was simply a victim of behind-the-scenes 'b*ggering around' (to put it succinctly) rather than an active participant in the downfall of Who in the late 80s.
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Old 05-02-2013, 22:50
DavetheScot
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I think Bonnie's a lovely person - but yes, TOTALLY unsuited to Dr Who.

This was part of the BBC's decision to make Dr Who "child friendly" again, having felt it had become too violent in the early-mid 80s. Alas, "child friendly" seemed to be interpreted as 'panto-esque', something Bonnie would have ben ideal for.

Only in its final (old Who) season did it start to regain some of the gravitas that had defined it as quality telly in the early-mid 70s.

I think Bonnie was simply a victim of behind-the-scenes 'b*ggering around' (to put it succinctly) rather than an active participant in the downfall of Who in the late 80s.
I believe Bonnie herself acknowledges her casting was a mistake.
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Old 05-02-2013, 23:20
AdelaideGirl
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She does. Too bad we couldn't have gone straight from Peri to Ace. I would love to have been able to watch what they had planned for her. She and Sylvester had such great chemistry.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:11
DavetheScot
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She does. Too bad we couldn't have gone straight from Peri to Ace. I would love to have been able to watch what they had planned for her. She and Sylvester had such great chemistry.
Ace was one of my favourite companions. I'd love them to reveal sometime how things ended up for her - though I guess we know from SJA that she did end up back on Earth in the present day.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:30
AdelaideGirl
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I think you have to go to audio books to hear what happened. But the original plan was to have her become a Time Lord which would have been a fascinating idea to explore.
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Old 06-02-2013, 23:28
DavetheScot
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I think you have to go to audio books to hear what happened. But the original plan was to have her become a Time Lord which would have been a fascinating idea to explore.
Ah, but I don't accept the audio books as definitive. I wouldn't accept anything about Ace until it's been on the show. And the original plan never came to fruition, so it doesn't count either.
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:03
JCR
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Ah, but I don't accept the audio books as definitive.
Big Finish tends to be quite melancholic anyway, I doubt they'd do anything too drastic to a tv character, but happy endings ain't really what they do. The companions BF create, well, they tend to get violently killed off. And seeing as they probably couldn't get away with exterminating Ace, I'd imagine she'll carry on much as before ad infinitum in Big Finish.
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