It’s been a while since Sophie Aldred has been to Australia, but she’s relishing her trip in her “year of travel” which has already seen her head to the US earlier this year, with other trips planned later in the year.
With her iconic Classic Who character making her return to the show for Jodie Whittaker swan song, it’s the perfect time for her to come and visit fans around the Whoniverse – new stories to tell and a new generation of fans to meet.
“It was a thrill, it really was, and it was also lovely to be back and to be doing so much because I must say, initially I thought oh we’re just going to be cameos Me and Janet,” she said of her appearance in The Power of the Doctor.
“I thought, we’re just going to kind of pop in, say hi and not be involved very much. But it was just so amazing to be an intrinsic part of the story and to be just as Ace ever was, just doing what the Doctor needed. I was going to say doing the Doctor’s dirty work, that was sometimes true, willingly.
“Just being able to beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat again, how great was that,” she laughed.
And now on the back of that success she is out talking to fans and telling those stories.
“This year really is the year of travelling for me. I’ve already been to America, nearly every weekend I’ve got a convention,” Sophie said.
“I’m really making the most of it. I realise the fans want to talk about The Power Of The Doctor and I’ve got some new stories to tell. I’m getting myself out there as much as possible to see as many fans as possible.
“It’s really exciting because I haven’t been for a while and there is so much more to say and I can’t wait to meet everybody, it’s going to be great.
“And also going different places, I started on the Gold Coast but then obviously popping over to New Zealand, going to Christchurch and Wellington and then I’m coming back and I’m doing Adelaide, I’ve never been there, and then Melbourne and Sydney. It’s going to be like a really good comprehensive tour and I’ll have met a lot of people.”
“Janet was the forward scout preparing the ground making sure everything is ok. She looked like shé had a whale of the time.”
It’s a long-awaited return for Sophie who first visited just after she was married in 1997 and then again when her children were small.
“I haven’t been to Australia for a longtime,” she said.
“Last time I came was with my husband and the kids and they were quite young and now they’re blooming 24 and 19 so they’re very jealous.
“They loved it, we loved it.”
While that more recent trip had plenty of special family memories it wasn’t Alldred’s first trip to our shores with her husband, who is accompanying her on this trip (with her kids getting regular updates along the way).
“We’ve been before, we came on a sort of semi honeymoon so that must have been 1997,” Sophie said.
“That was the first time we visited. We came for a couple of very small Doctor Who events, actually I think the Doctor Who Fan Club of Australia organized a thing in Melbourne and Sydney. Some fans got together – we had a lovely time.”
Ace aside, Sophie said she is very excited about the return of Russell T Davies and the direction that the show is going to go now under his watch.
“I think there’s going to be an explosion,” she said.
“It’s interesting because when Ncuti was announced my youngest son, who is gay, and very into social media came running down the stairs and he said Mum I’m going to watch Doctor Who now. He said loads of my friends have been saying what is this Doctor Who, we’re going to watch it.
“I think it’s going to attract a whole new audience, a whole demographic of young people who don’t know it yet. What I’m noticing already is that people have been watching the New Who and then going oh my goodness there is this whole history and going back and watching the classics.”
Interview by Tania Spiers-Phillips