It's ten years since Tom's adventures aboard Iris Wildthyme's
trans-dimensional bus. He has now settled into a life of writing
novels about his erstwhile friend. Then one night there's
a ruckus at a book launch, and suddenly the loud-mouthed floozy
of the multiverse is back in his life. Before Tom knows it,
Iris has entrusted him with her most precious possession,
ridden off into the night with Robin Hood, and revealed that
she's being hunted by evil forces from a higher dimension...
This new series of audio adventures bursts forth into our
ears with an appropriate degree of whimsy and innuendo. The
wonderful Katy Manning is as dotty as ever as the "sort of"
Time Lady Iris Wildthyme, while Ortis Deley sounds uncannily
like CBBC presenter Andi Peters in his role as Iris' former
travelling companion Tom.
previously appeared in the BBC Doctor Who novel Verdigris,
which also featured the Third Doctor and Jo Grant. Iris herself
was in a different incarnation at the time, but here's an
idea for an audio adventure: Jo Grant meets Katy Manning's
Iris! Maybe one day...
the most intriguing aspect of this series is the addition
of a new character to the mythology. Panda, voiced by David
Benson as a kind of hybrid of Frankie Howerd, Leslie Phillips
and the sinister baby Stewie from Family Guy (if such
a combination is possible to imagine), is a haughty, sardonic,
frequently exasperated creature of superior intelligence,
whose origins and true nature have yet to be explained. Just
don't dare call him a bear!
I seem to be comparing characters' voices with those of other
people, I might as well add that the evil, ranting disembodied
Head (Stephen Chance) sounds a lot like Gareth Thomas' villainous
Editor from MJTV's Soldiers of Love. In fact, SoL
fans will find plenty to enjoy in this wacky sci-fi comedy
drama, penned by Iris' creator, Paul Magrs, though the double
entendres don't (ahem) come quite as thick and fast.
Big Finish currently holds a licence to produce Doctor
Who merchandise, the company evidently wishes to maintain
the Iris Wildthyme series as a separate entity (though
with undoubted cross-over appeal to Who fans). The
words "Time Lord" and "TARDIS" are never once uttered, and
when Iris' trans-temporal double-decker bus disappears it
is accompanied by a different sound than the familiar TARDIS
you happen to regard this as an extension of the Whoniverse
or something distinct from it (after all, Iris started out
as a character in a non-Who Magrs novel, Marked
Wildthyme is most certainly back and doing it large!