To celebrate the glorious return of Iris Wildthyme in the Doctor Who monthly adventure, Muse of Fire, we are turning the clocks back (or is it forward?) to 2015 to revisit Wildthyme Reloaded.
Iris Wildthyme is one of Big Finish’s most bonkers characters ever. For those unaware just how bonkers she is, she is a trans-temporal adventuress who travels through the multiverse in a red double decker bus. Intrigued? You should be. The character of Iris Wildthyme was created by Paul Magrs, first appearing in a short story titled ‘Old Flames’ in which she encounters the Fourth Doctor and Sarah-Jane Smith. We won’t delve too much into the backstory of Iris, but let’s just say there are many, many origin stories for her…
On Big Finish, the character of Iris has featured in a variety of ranges such as The Monthly Adventures, The Worlds of Big Finish, The Companion Chronicles and her own self-titled series. After the fourth series of Iris Wildthyme concluded, the character only featured in two further stories within her own range. It was destined that some day she would make her glorious return – with a gin & tonic in her grasp. Wildthyme Reloaded reinvigorated the series, providing a great jumping on point. Wildthyme Reloaded consists of eight 30 minute stories that are all completely different from one another. There is never a dull moment with Iris around, that’s for sure!
Wildthyme Reloaded is the perfect starting point for anyone wanting to get a glimpse into the world of Ms Wildthyme. Each story tells a unique tale and offers an insight into a wonderful world which Big Finish have meticulously formed. This set really utilises Katy Manning’s performance as Iris heavily, providing her with not only hilarious comedic moments but also some very poignant scenes. Geoffrey Breton, who plays Captain Turner, is a seamless addition to the range. The dynamic between the unlikely pairing makes for some hilarious scenes throughout the eight stories. Each adventure excels in providing both a comedic and thrilling tone. The guest cast are marvellous and utilised very well.
The score throughout the set has to be acknowledged as being one of Big Finish’s best. Ioan Morris and Rhys Downing have excelled themselves in creating a wonderfully unique score that captures the essence of Iris superbly. Particular highlights include, ‘Oracle of the Supermarket’, ‘Murder At The Abbey’ and ‘Looking for a Friend’. These three stories are utter perfection. You could easily listen to them countless times and never grow tired or bored at all. Each of the eight writers perfectly and seamlessly, bring the amazing character of Iris to life in the best ways possible. This is easily one of the best sets of stories Big Finish has produced to date, and a set that I will continue to listen to over and over again.
Comeback of the Scorchies by James Goss.
Iris and Captain Turner arrive in Margate and witness the return of the 80’s one-hit wonder, Brian Bonamy. Only, something more devious is behind his return.. The Scorchies! Returning once again, the Scorchies have a plan, one that Iris is about to put a stop to.
Dark Side by Nick Campbell.
Deciding to take a break from their trans-temporal adventuring, Iris and Captain Turner visit her previous residence – Pink Gables. It transpires that at Pink Gables there are some unearthly forces at large, ones that Iris had not anticipated.
Oracle of the Supermarket by Roy Gill.
In an ordinary branch of Fergusons in Scotland, Iris and the Captain are doing their shopping. Checkout girl Cassie Burdock uncovers the secret to predict the future and the truth to telling the future lies in the form of a children’s ride.
Murder At The Abbey by Mark B. Oliver.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Iris Wildthyme was a detective? If so, this is the story for you. Channeling her inner sleuth, Iris, alongside the Captain, investigate the death of one of their friends. With a plethora of suspects, it’s certainly going to prove a tricky feat for Iris indeed.
The Slots of Giza by Hamish Steele.
On the casino planet of Giza, Iris Wildthyme and Captain Turner begin to notice an increasingly alarming number of deaths. It becomes transparent that the guests at The Giza are not only gambling away their money, but their lives. Just who is Seth The Sensational, and how does he ensure the guests keep gambling?
High Spirits by Cavan Scott.
Looking for a peaceful trip, Iris takes Captain Turner to The Garden in the Clouds, a place of serenity and relaxation. When Iris encounters her deadliest foe – herself! – she begins to realise that the place she once knew to be peaceful is now the most terrifying place in the known universe. With ghosts trying to kill anyone who visits, just what is going on?
- An Extraterrestrial Werewolf in Belgium by Scott Handcock.
After making an emergency landing in Flanders, Iris and Captain turner come face to face with an alien Werewolf. There is only one way to solve the mystery, and it lies in the most unexpected place you could think of.
- Looking for a Friend by Paul Magrs.
This story takes a very different approach to Iris Wildthyme. It provides fans with some much needed answers over the lack of her previous companion, Panda, and it also allows for some very emotional scenes with Iris. Paul Magrs pens the conclusion to this set, and it is an incredible story to say the least. Iris and the Captain both have very emotive monologues, and the story is simply amazing. Words cannot express how beautiful and poignant this instalment truly is. An absolute triumph!
“If you’ve never heard Iris, I really really really think that you owe it to yourself just to give her a listen. It really is something different, and once you hear her and the stories and all these wonderful actors, I think you’ll become a huge Iris fan” – Katy Manning