Iris Wildthyme was a transtemporal adventuress who travelled the multiverse in a double decker bus, often with friends, most notably her best pal Panda. (PROSE: Wildthyme Beyond!) She lived under the name Brenda Soobie as a 20th century Scots Caribbean singer. (PROSE: Mad Dogs and Englishmen)
Iris talked about her mother leaving with an older man, an offworlder, when Iris was young, leaving her to grow up with a group of older, matriarchal "Aunts" in a great house in the mountains, and how after Aunts died one by one, she travelled to her world's great city. There she planned to demand a place in their elite society. But she only found bickering old men who knew the secrets of the cosmos but would not do anything, and wouldn't let a woman like Iris in even though their president was a woman. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress) She said that she found her bus abandoned and dying in the mountains and coaxed it back to health, (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress, Verdigris) and that it told her what to do with her life. (PROSE: Verdigris)
The Doctor said that Iris wasn't a "proper Time Lady": she was a commoner, from somewhere like the New Towns under the Capitol. (PROSE: Verdigris) She claimed at times to be Gallifreyan, (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress) but also that she wasn't who she claimed to be, and her home was the Obverse — a mysterious region in which Time and Space were not only not one, but never had been and never would be. (PROSE: The Blue Angel)
The Doctor speculated that Iris had been retroactively injected into his past (to which she sarcastically blamed Faction Paradox) or from another reality where all the times she claimed to have met him, and which he didn't remember, really did happen. (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion) She did, in fact, meet him out of the correct sequence, which created events in his past that shouldn't technically have happened. (PROSE: Verdigris)
When Iris was held captive by birds of paradise on Hyspero, who threatened to kill her if she didn't tell them stories, she told them of a life in the southern hemisphere of Gallifrey. She said she was born in the mountaintops, where she and her dozen Aunties were perpetually kept inside their house — which had hundreds of storeys — by fierce snow. She said that her favourite Aunt was Baba, who had a shawl made from the feathers of every bird her people knew, with which she could travel anywhere in the world. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
Iris once travelled with someone named Jenny, whom she described as "a butch dyke traffic warden." Time travel "[gave her] the runs," which was very inconvenient. They had an adventure (PROSE: Verdigris) with the Second (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion) Doctor in the Crystal Mines of Marlion. Iris liked to take credit for pleading for the Doctor's life to the Dalek Supreme, (PROSE: Verdigris, Bafflement and Devotion) but it was really Jenny. (PROSE: Verdigris)
Iris met Mary, Queen of Scots in Edinburgh with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith, and Mary knitted her a cushion for the bus's driving seat. (PROSE: Verdigris) Iris was there when the queen was executed — although in her memory she always confused it with the movie, and the queen looked like Katharine Hepburn. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
Iris spent a while as part of a witch cult, the Sisterhood of Karn; the mysticism and outfits and rites appealed to her mysterious side. At one point the Fourth Doctor had a run-in ("the perplexing case of the brain of Morbius") with the Sisterhood, who tried to sacrifice him on a pyre. Iris was there chanting "Death! Death! Death!" along with the rest of them, but she claimed she would've rescued him if it got too bad. The adventure ended with Morbius's apparent death. But afterwards, the Sisterhood's leader Ohica took Morbius (who was only wounded) to the Death Zone, where he might gain immortality. When she found out Iris had inveigled her way into the cult, she (PROSE: Verdigris) and Morbius Time Scooped several of Iris's other selves to the Death Zone. In this body, Iris was old and imperious, glittering with pearls. She was like Edith Sitwell, as described in the memoirs of novelist Denton Welch. She called together the seven Irises, (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion) one of whom — burly, haggard, and accompanied by Tom — was on Earth working for the Ministry. (PROSE: Entertaining Mr. O) In the Death Zone, the seven Irises had to fight Ice Warriors, Ogrons, Sea Devils, Zarbi, Mechanoids Quarks, (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress) and Voord. (PROSE: Verdigris)
At the conclusion of the adventure, Ohica sent Iris and her bus to the planet Makorna. There she got terribly drunk with a group of archaeologists, and they told her that while she'd been in the Sisterhood, the Doctor's mysterious superiors had exiled him to Earth for the crime of trying to help people. Even though that was all in her relative past, Iris thought it'd be a good idea to do something about it. So she summoned up the genie-like spirit of Makorna's verdigrised copper city, in the form of a being called Verdigris, and commanded him to end the Doctor's exile. The next day Iris was terribly hungover with no memory of what she'd done.
Fifth Iris Edit
When Iris was around nine centuries old, on a trip to London in November 2000, a drunk man named Tom mistook the bus for the real No. 22 to Putney Common and stumbled aboard. He made fun of the kitschy way Iris had decked out her bus's interior and Iris, angered, took off. They landed in Calgoria, where they had "adventures" with the Jirat and Trinarr. Iris hoped that he'd be enraptured by the adventures and want to stay with her, but instead he declared that he had been kidnapped. They then had several "historical adventures," (PROSE: Verdigris) including to the Elizabethan Court (PROSE: Entertaining Mr. O) Almost none of the historical adventures pleased him, though he did enjoy meeting the "fabulous" Cleopatra.
Iris decided that Tom would enjoy meeting her old friend and sometime lover the Doctor, and looked for a convenient Christmas to drop in on him. They arrived in 1973, where the Doctor — in his third incarnation, and therefore Iris's relative past — was exiled to Earth by his mysterious superiors. At this point she was already familiar with the Doctor's secret past, had met him in the future travelling with Romana and K9, and had been told about when the TARDIS fell off a cliff face on Peladon.
As it turned out, it wasn't Christmas when Iris found the Doctor: it was May. The Doctor was on a break from his work with UNIT, staying in his country house with his assistant Jo Grant. Iris disliked Jo, whom she considered dim. Iris, Tom, the Doctor, and Jo became caught up in a ludicrously convoluted scheme Verdigris had concocted. Iris and the Doctor were able to stop him, and he had to think up another way. (PROSE: Verdigris)
With his unpaid scientific advisor "pensioned off rather suddenly," a "non-person living in Wales" Alistair hired Iris as a replacement. Tom — who was going through a "purist" phase, refusing to believe in aliens — assisted Iris, though Alistair disapproved of him as a security risk. In 1973, Alistair sent Iris to deal with Mr O, a very forgettable-looking man who claimed that his real body was trapped in a universe of antimatter, and that he was going to hold them to ransom. Iris told him that there was no such thing as antimatter, so he sent jelly-like beings to whisk away the Ministry's furniture to his antimatter realm. Iris's future self showed up to help, in a silver catsuit bikini affair and leather boots. She had masses of golden blonde hair and green eyeshadow. She was touched by one of Mr O's antimatter jelly-beings and disappeared. Iris figured future-her had been zapped to the antimatter universe, but another Iris (old, haughty, wearing fantastic jewels) appeared on television and told her that they'd all been kidnapped to the Death Zone. (PROSE: Entertaining Mr. O) "Mr O," or Omega wasn't really even exiled to a universe of antimatter at all: he was sitting in a B&B in Bournemouth. With help from the Doctor, Iris was able to stop him. (AUDIO: Excelis Dawns)
So Iris became caught up in an adventure in the Death Zone with six of her other selves. She was Iris number five at the time, and and got to properly meet her number six: "a gorgeous, slinky sex kitten, [who] look[ed] about thirty in human terms, with masses of honey-blonde hair. She was in a shiny plastic bikini cut very daringly, and thigh-length boots. She had a look of Jane Fonda about her." (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
After Verdigris succeeded in freeing the Doctor from Earth (the Time Lords rewarded him his freedom for helping stop Omega), Iris and Tom celebrated with the Doctor and Jo in an alien bar. (PROSE: Verdigris)
Iris, the Doctor and Jo once visited Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas at 27 Rue de Fleurus in 1935. Iris changed her mind about Jo, calling her a "nice girl." Picasso was there, and had brought Jean Cocteau. The Doctor got into an argument with Stein because she claimed she had personally been responsible for Dadaism, surrealism, and cubism. Iris sided with Stein and that she could rewrite cultural history with herself at the centre if she wanted to. Jo wanted to see the Cabaret so she, Iris and the Doctor caught a train to Berlin. They met Christopher Isherwood before he was famous. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
In this body Iris collected real estate: she aimed to have a "house in every century" on Earth. In the eighteenth century she was a Lady, owning a grand house in the North of England. In 1764 she tried to acquire the house of one Lady Huntingdon by marrying her companion, the nineteenth century-originating Captain Edwin Turner, to Lady Huntingdon's daughter Bella. It transpired that the Huntingdons were the last of a race of shapeshifting space tigers, and that Lady Huntingdon — bent on undoing her race's extinction — would only give up the house in exchange for Iris's bus. Iris refused, but Lady Huntingdon tried to take the bus by force. The Doctor was on hand with his friend Sarah, however, and succeeded in trapping Lady Huntingdon inside a message pod Iris had lying around in the bus. Iris left Captain Turner, and he married Bella. (PROSE: Old Flames)
Iris had adventures involving Giant Spiders on Metebelis III with her "glamorous companion" Timmy, the tombs of the Cybermen on Telos with another glamorous young assistant, Jeremy, and Drashigs in feeding frenzy on "their fetid swamp world." She foiled the Dalek invasion of Earth in the 22nd century, and she was there when the Great Fire of London broke out. She once saved Federation envoys trapped on Peladon. One of Iris's companions was Kroton, a friendly Cyberman. Another was a shapeshifter disguised as a penguin.
Iris and the Doctor once encountered fish people in Venice. Another time, when the Doctor was having something of a midlife crisis, they met Oscar Wilde in Paris after his imprisonment. She met the Doctor in his seventh incarnation and thought he was terribly pretentious. She met his first self, newly on the run and with his hair not even white. He'd flung himself into the French Revolution and told her that his biggest thrill was escaping captivity over and over.
Iris once accidentally left her favorite gold lamé handbag, which she'd bought at a bazaar on Hyspero, on the planet Artaris. She had no idea at the time that it contained the afterlife inside. In fact, she only wore it for show and never bothered to look inside at all.
Iris's body outlasted five of the Doctor's, but after she ate a raw and living Kaled mutant at tea with a Draconian prince, she was poisoned: it killed her slowly, over a period of months. She knew that she should survive, reborn in a body that looked like Jane Fonda — she'd met her future self in the Death Zone. But if the disease continued, it would wipe out every cell of her body and there would be nothing left to regenerate. Desperate for a cure, Iris made an agreement with the Scarlet Empress of Hyspero: the Empress would cure her, if Iris brought her Gila, the Cyborg Duchess Major Angela, and the Mock Turtle; they had once composed the mercenary group the Four, and the Empress believed that they held Cassandra, the first Scarlet Empress.
Shortly after capturing her first quarry, Gila, Iris ran into the Doctor (in his eighth body) and Sam Jones. They joined her on a quest/road trip/adventure across Hyspero. Soon, the entire purpose of the venture had pivoted and Iris, the Doctor, Sam, and all of the Four were assisting Cassandra in overthrowing her descendant. Iris slipped into a coma but the Doctor saved her life with some of the honey-like substance the Scarlet Empresses used to preserve themselves. When she woke up, Iris crept off in the bus. She sent a video to the Doctor and Sam, showing herself regenerating into a younger body with honey blonde hair. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
Sixth Iris (Jane Fonda) Edit
After her regeneration, Iris decided she deserved some time to get herself together. She settled down in New York in 1966, hanging around the Factory with Andy Warhol. There she wrote a book, Wildthyme: Confessions of a Time Lady, based on the adventures of the Doctor. When the Doctor visited with Sam in 1968, planning to see Warhol, he was none too pleased with the book. Ultimately it was published with the genre shifted, thinly disguising the truth it was based on. (PROSE: Femme Fatale)
While in the sixties, Iris helped Jacqueline Susann with her own novel, The Love Machine. Jackie was very grateful, presenting Iris with many gifts in thanks. They included a cigarette holder and a gold-and-cream embroidered kaftan. Iris found that wearing it helped her think better, although she preferred to wear catsuits for action and adventure.
Iris was on the planet Skaro back when it was an ashen wilderness with petrified forests overrun with Aryans with blue eyeshadow. She led the attack on the electrified city of the Daleks. The Daleks had been experimenting with hallucinogens and "weird sex"; it was a Philip K. Dick-style '60s tale.
Iris was present for (and gave suggestions about) the recording of Geoff Love's 1978 orchestral version of the Doctor Who theme, disguised as a cellist/Space 1999 fan: the Ministry had sent her to investigate the subliminal messages Love was hiding in his reworkings of sci-fi themes.
On one occasion Iris met Paul Magrs when he was excited to have found a copy of Geoff Love's rendition of the theme; it had been one of his favourite records when he was eight. (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion)
Iris was special scientific adviser to UNIT during the 1990s. She tended to vanish for weeks on end, (PROSE: Interference) or go "on vacation." (PROSE: Bullet Time) In 1996, Sarah Jane Smith interviewed her for her programme Voodoo Economics, about the cults and culture of the "security" market. (PROSE: Interference)
As War between the universe and its Obverse encroached, and the peoples of the Enclave — such as the Glass Men of Valcea, the giant owls of Ichor, the Ghillighast, the Steigertrudes, and the Sahmbekarts — began to come out of Daedalus's extruded Corridors, Iris desperately tried to keep the Eighth Doctor (accompanied by Fitz Kreiner and Compassion) from getting involved. She knew that there was nothing he could do to stop it, and didn't want to see him fail. (PROSE: The Blue Angel)
In the Obverse Edit
In the Obverse, in the North of England, Iris (in an older body) lived in a basement flat next door to a woman named Sally. She often went by Sally's for tea and cake. They got along well because they both saw nothing wrong with talking to Sally's terrier, Canine. She kept a tatty, decaying old double-decker bus, which she referred to as "she," in the communal garden. The neighbours complained about it for years, but nothing was ever done about it. It didn't even seem possible how it got in — there were no alleys it could pass through. It just showed up when Iris did.
Sally wrote a book in which she imagined Iris travelling the cosmos in her red double-decker bus, encountering Men of Glass with ruby hearts, a Scarlet Queen of Jam, a Mock Turtle, a Bearded Lady, savage owls, an angel boy, and a demoniac elephant. They were set on Hyspero and Valcea. Iris and Sally got drunk and Iris got the idea that she was acting as a medium to give Sally a warning: what Sally wrote was real, and by writing it she might accidentally bring the Glass Men to them.
Iris went to dinner at the Doctor's house, along with Sally and the Doctor's lodgers Fitz and Compassion. After dinner, she and the Doctor went for a nude midnight walk in the snow, as Iris often liked to do. The Doctor's calf muscle was swollen and bothering him, so Iris cut it open with an icicle and let out what was inside: a blue, winged baby boy. (PROSE: The Blue Angel)
Further life Edit
Iris stayed with the Doctor and his adopted daughter Miranda Who for a while in the 1980s, when he was stuck on Earth. She tried to explain his past and amnesia to him, but only confused him more. (PROSE: Iris Explains, Mad Dogs and Englishmen)
In 1979 Iris created the company Suitors, Inc. to sell "Suitors" or "Erotic DoctorBots" based on the Fourth Doctor. She manufactured them at a factory called Wildthyme Unlimited. It was fun, initially — until the Siamese cat Madame Binky revealed herself to be a nefarious warrior queen of Pussyworld, took Iris's bus hostage, and demanded that Iris use the DoctorBots to kidnap her elderly customers and transport them to Pussyworld. The Fourth Doctor himself came to investigate the kidnappings, with Romana and K9. Sarah Jane Smith suspected Iris because of their meeting in 1764 and separately investigated, with Harry Sullivan. (PROSE: Suitors, Inc.)
In one body, Iris was a huge woman in her late sixties. She had a long white braid which trailed behind her, and she'd yell at people when they stepped on it. The Doctor thought that she looked like she had been a great beauty when she was younger, and couldn't let go of it, wearing an excessive amount of makeup. But he still thought she was terribly glamorous, and that the fact that she carried herself as if she was very beautiful made her so. She proposed to him in Venice at dawn, on the Bridge of Sighs. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
Iris abandoned the adventuring life for a singing career. As Brenda Soobie, she was a world-famous Scots Caribbean songstress, singing songs which hadn't even been written yet. By 1960, Brenda's official life chronicled her rise from a poor background in Glasgow, to singing in working men's clubs, to the stage of the Palladium, to Las Vegas. Brenda met Noël Coward in 1957, at the Royal Variety Performance, and they became good friends. She taught him to navigate the Very Fabric of Time and Space with pinking shears, allowing him to even travel past the point of his own death. For sixty years, Brenda was accompanied by a poodle from the dogworld, Martha, once handmaiden to the dogworld's slain Empress. Noël Coward wrote a song about Martha, also called "Martha." Brenda was going to sing it at the end of all her shows — it would become a huge hit, become the theme tune of the film adaptation of The True History of Planets, and ultimately become a revolutionary anthem on the dogworld.
In 1960, Brenda was singing in Las Vegas when she was interrupted by Fitz Kreiner and a chef, Flossie, who were (somewhat haphazardly) investigating changes to The True History of Planets for the Doctor. Brenda and Coward soon discovered that they were actually pawns in the opposable-thumbed-hands of Martha and the dogworld's Princess, but the poodles' plan failed when the dog-themed version of True History was erased from time and they were killed by Imperial agents. Brenda encountered the Eighth Doctor, but his only memory of her was in a different body and under a different name, in the '80s, so he failed to recognise her. To console Brenda over the loss of Martha, Flossie and a poodle named Fritter joined her on the bus. (PROSE: Mad Dogs and Englishmen)
Iris helped the Doctor defeat the Sontarans when they snuck in the back door and invaded Gallifrey. She was there when the Time Lords sent him back to avert the creation of the Daleks. She once visited Frontios.
For no reason she could remember or even guess at afterwards, Iris joined a convent on a mountain on Artaris. She was a terrible fit for the occupation. She told outrageous and immoral stories of her past adventures, smuggled in bottles of liquor, listened to loud music, offered the other nuns "day trips" on her bus, and generally made a nuisance of herself until the Mother Superior got her out by assigning her an important-sounding quest: following a legendary map to find the Relic all of Artaris was obsessed with.
Accompanied by the Fifth Doctor, the warlord Grayvorn, and Sister Jolene, Iris set off in the bus. They found the Relic in the heart of a forest, guarded by an army of flesh-eating zombies. The zombies captured Jolene and planned to sacrifice her, but the rest of the party managed to abscond with the Relic: Iris's old handbag, which she'd accidentally abandoned years ago in her own past, and thousands of years in the past of the planet. Iris and the Doctor tried to return the Relic to the Mother Superior, but Grayvorn tried to fight her for it and they both toppled off the mountain with it. Iris offered to let the Doctor travel with her on the bus, but he declined and they left Artaris in their separate conveyances. (AUDIO: Excelis Dawns)
Iris returned to Artaris thousands of years later, when it was a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland. There she met Bernice Summerfield. Immediately they got exceedingly drunk and Iris roped Benny into a scheme to pinch the Relic. Things quickly degenerated into a capture-escape routine, featuring Benny's public humiliation and Iris driving her bus into a building.
As Iris reluctantly revealed, her real motivation for stealing the Relic wasn't to wear it: it was because she knew that it represented something extraordinarily terrible. Something awful which would affect all of Artaris. Not that she could remember what, specifically, that was. She could remember some things, though, like how the entire mess started: Iris had helped broker a peace for a once-warmongering but reformed alien queen, and a faction unwilling to forgive so easily had brainwashed her. They'd been the ones to send her to Artaris with the Relic in the distant past, where she had left it. The Relic was meant to form part of a complicated explosive system, which would blow up the planet as the warrior queen passed by.
Iris was able to put the kybosh on the whole centuries-long plan with minimal effort; the Relic responded to her because of her previous experience with it. Afterwards, Iris and Benny agreed that they deserved a good party. (AUDIO: The Plague Herds of Excelis)
When Panda sold himself on eBay, Iris tried to track him down. She looked in the Boulevard of Alternate Brutalities, but was unable to find him, even though he was there. The Boulevard was worn out and no longer functioning properly, so Iris shut it down. (PROSE: Library Pictures)
Iris participated in an auction for the TARDIS, but dropped out when she discovered that the key was still being held by the Twelfth Doctor and thus wouldn't be part of the sale. (PROSE: Buyer's Remorse)
Iris used the Twitter handle @realwildthyme. On 17 November 2011, she sent a message to Chinwagz Magazine on their article about the encounter between "Jane" and the Hussar. (PROSE: Weapons Grade Snake Oil)
Iris was several entirely different people at different times. Unlike some, she didn't even pretend to be consistent about when those times were. She lived her life completely out of order. A bit like Merlin, really. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress, The Blue Angel, Bafflement and Devotion)
One Iris was very old and haughty. As Paul Magrs described her, she was "[r]ather like Edith Sitwell as she's described in the novelist Denton Welch's memoirs. A sagacious arachnid; a grande-dame glittering in a carapace of ebon pearlse. It was she who called all seven Irises to the Death Zone on Gallifrey." (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion) She appeared to be huge, but only because she wrapped herself in layers and layers of clothing. Beneath, she was a thin and bony thing — as was obvious on the nude midnight walks she liked to indulge in. She lived in the North of England, in the Obverse — a place she later claimed to originate in. (PROSE: The Blue Angel)
There was the Iris who described herself as "number five." She was fat and inelegant, and liked to exaggerate her size with bulky cardigans and coats. (PROSE: The Blue Angel) She looked a bit like Beryl Reid, but with lilac hair. (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion) In that body she avidly collected houses, aiming to own at least one home in every century. (PROSE: Old Flames) Iris had a hot pink ray gun she toted around and made liberal use of. She was obsessed with the Doctor even more than in her other lives. That Iris managed to outlive five of him, until she contracted a deadly disease by eating a live Kaled mutant. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
The following, sixth Iris had huge honey blonde hair and looked like Jane Fonda in the late 1960s. She was stylish and glamorous, wearing catsuits and impractical high-heeled thigh-high boots, in which she holstered the blaster she'd inherited from her predecessor. She gravitated towards the 1960s, where she worked for MIAOW defending the Earth and met celebrities like Andy Warhol and Dr Who. (PROSE: The Blue Angel, Bafflement and Devotion, Suitors, Inc., In the Sixties)
There was an Iris — ostensibly the third — who looked like Shirley Bassey. At first she masqueraded as Bassey, but she became a famous singer in her own right, with an impressive career, under the name Brenda Soobie. (PROSE: Bafflement and Devotion, Mad Dogs and Englishmen)