Iris Wildthyme was a member of the Clockworks who claimed to be a renegade Time Lady and who encountered the Doctor on a number of occasions.
Iris claimed to be a Time Lady who grew up on Gallifrey in the House of Aunts, (The Scarlet Empress) although the Doctor was unable to find any record of her on the planet. (The Wormery) The Eighth Doctor suggested Iris may have been a Faction Paradox creation. (Bafflement and Devotion)
Iris later revealed her true origins as a member of a race known as the Clockworks, which originated in the Obverse. The Clockworks kept the multiverse structured and orderly. Iris found this dull, so she rebelled and stole the bus. (The Blue Angel, The Land of Wonder)
She had several children. (Whatever Happened to Iris Wildthyme?) She also had a grandson named Steven and a nephew and niece named Jimmy and Jenny. (The Panda Invasion)
When Iris was a child she went by the name Lilith, and grew up in Wherewithal House. She was mistreated by most of her family and her only friend was another young member of the Clockworks named Dick. One day Lilith and Dick went exploring in the desert and found the remains of an old bus.
Some time later Lilith crossed paths with Panda who told her that her destiny was to escape the Obverse and have adventures of her own. Lilith then went into the desert with Panda and Dick to find the bus.
When they reached the bus, Dick began stealing treasure from the wreckage and threatened Lilith and Panda at gunpoint. Panda told Lilith to get in the bus and Lilith instinctively piloted the bus through the Ringpull and out of the Obverse. Panda then told Lilith to adopt the name Iris Wildthyme for when she travelled the multiverse. (Wildthyme Beyond!)
ADVENTURES IN THE MULTIVERSE
Iris once proposed to the Doctor in Venice, when she appeared to be a woman in her sixties, with long white hair that reached to the ground. (The Scarlet Empress) The Doctor, in his third incarnation, had recently left Jo behind. He suggested they team up to defeat a common foe; Iris misinterpreted this as seduction. (The Wormery)
On one occasion, she spent Christmas with the Fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan Jovanka. Iris adored the Fifth Doctor but also worried about him being so serious lately, stating that he didn’t seem as fun as he used to be. Iris was fond of Adric and was devastated to hear of his untimely death. However, she was not fond of Tegan, describing her as “that shrill Australian woman.” (Excelis Dawns)
She was likewise not fond of the Doctor’s seventh incarnation. She once described him to the Eighth Doctor as “a portentous little feller, swaggering around, thinking he’s got all the world’s darkest secrets under his hat.” Furthermore, she thought that he was “a pretentious old thing” who “got on [her] nerves” as he regarded himself as the Guardian of Forever and Time’s Champion. She held the Master in a similarly low regard, referring to him as “that pitiful, deluded phallocentric dope.” (The Scarlet Empress)
She was in London in March 1868 when the Doctor and Nyssa were stranded there due to Thomas Brewster accidentally sending the TARDIS on a solo flight. The Doctor decided against requesting Iris’ assistance in retrieving it. (The Boy That Time Forgot)
She once shared breakfast with US President Abraham Lincoln on the White House lawn in the 1860s after saving the United States from “Martian invaders” for the third time. She told George Strangeways that they had “such a laugh.” She also met Napoléon Bonaparte on the Russian front in 1812 and claimed that, in spite of what the history books said, he was “anything but small.” (The Panda Invasion)
She claimed to have been present for the Great Fire of London in September 1666. (Excelis Dawns)
Iris was part of the Sisterhood of Karn for a couple of years and was one of those present crying ‘Death!’ when the Fourth Doctor paid Karn a visit. (Verdigris)
Under the alias Brenda Soobie, Iris visited 1960s Las Vegas where she met the Eighth Doctor, along with his companions Fitz Kreiner and Anji Kapoor. It was also here where she met Noël Coward for the first time. (Mad Dogs and Englishmen)
Iris, with her companion Tom, visited Earth and aided the Third Doctor in defeating Verdigris. (Verdigris) In the same incarnation, Iris also met the Eighth Doctor and Samantha Jones. Iris ate a Kaled mutant during this period, which proved harmful and forced her to regenerate. (The Scarlet Empress)
Iris’ next incarnation met the Eighth Doctor in Paris, 1934 and also in the Obverse. (Femme Fatale, The Blue Angel)
Iris encountered the Fourth Doctor in 1764. She was trying to obtain a house in every century and had brought Turner to marry Bella Huntingdon, thereby gaining the Huntingdon estate. In fact, the Huntingdons were of an alien species and Lady Huntingdon wanted Iris’ TARDIS so she could return to her home world. When Iris refused, Lady Huntingdon raced to the TARDIS and attacked Iris when she got there. The Doctor was able to trap Lady Huntingdon in a message pod. With her plan failed, Iris simply left 1764, leaving Turner trapped in the past. (Old Flames)
In her sixth incarnation, Iris had an adventure with the Doctor’s fifth incarnation on Artaris. (Excelis Dawns) Iris travelled to Artaris again in the 27th century, where she met Bernice Summerfield. (The Plague Herds of Excelis) After this adventure, Iris dropped the drunken Bernice on the space liner the Empress to take her home, telling her to act like she owned the place. (The Dance of the Dead) She decided to take a drink in Bianca’s Bar where she met the Sixth Doctor and faced Bianca, Iris’ evil future self, who attempted to steal her remaining regenerations. (The Wormery)
Iris travelled back to Earth, where she met her old companion Tom and his friend Panda, both of whom joined Iris in her travels. (Wildthyme at Large) Although Tom later left, Panda travelled with Iris for a long time, and through many adventures, though the two often fell out. (Couch Potatoes, Future Legend)
During their travels, the two encountered George W. Bush, (Chicken Fried Banana Republic) Marlene Dietrich, (The Scarlet Shadow) Professor Challenger (The Found World) and Sherlock Holmes. (The Shape of Things)
After Iris lost Panda when he jumped into a rift to save the multiverse, (The Panda Invasion) she spent many years searching for him and eventually turned to Santa Claus for help. Iris and Santa found that Santa’s ex-wife, Mary Christmas had kidnapped Panda. Iris used Clockworks technology to regress Mary’s mind to a time when she and Santa were happy together. She then left with Panda for new adventures. (The Claws of Santa)
After dropping Panda off somewhere to complete a mission for her, Iris met Jo Jones while on Earth in 2010 and took her to meet the Third Doctor in the 1970s. After this, Jo and Iris began to travel together. (Find and Replace) On one occasion, Iris and Jo arrived in Los Angeles, 1930s. While there, they encountered the Eighth Doctor, and together defeated a movie star who was turning her husbands into monstrous characters using an elixir left behind by Iris on a previous misadventure. (The Elixir of Doom)
Iris had a tattoo of a “bumblebee riding a bike.” (Iris Rides Out)
The h Sitwell Iris – Iris’ first incarnation.
The Shirley Bassey Iris – Known in this incarnation as Brenda Soobie while in 1960s Las Vegas, she met the Eighth Doctor, along with his companions Fitz Kreiner and Anji Kapoor. It was also here she met Noel Coward for the first time. (Mad Dogs and Englishmen)
The Barbarella Iris – Iris regenerated into this incarnation after eating a Kaled mutant. She later encountered the Eighth Doctor in the Obverse. (The Blue Angel)
The Fifth Iris – This incarnation is not mentioned in any media and can only be distinguished because it is explicitly stated that the Barbarella Iris is her fourth incarnation and that the Katy Manning Iris is the sixth.
Iris’ sixth incarnation. She left a handbag, which later became a mythical treasure, on the planet of Artaris and became a nun for a while before encountering the Fifth Doctor. (Excelis Dawns) She encountered the Doctor again in his sixth incarnation at Bianca’s Bar. (The Wormery) Since then, she has been travelling the universe with her friend, Panda. By the time of this incarnation, she was at least 900 years old. (The Two Irises)
In the real world, this incarnation is unofficially known as the Katy Manning incarnation as this incarnation is portrayed by the actress in audio dramas for Big Finish Productions, and is depicted with Manning’s likeness on book and audio covers.
Other incarnation(s?) – At least one of Iris’s incarnations were part of a group consisting of seven of Iris’ incarnations sent to the Death Zone in a plot by Morbius to gain Rassilon’s gift of immortality. (Excelis Dawns, The Scarlet Empress) One of Iris’ future incarnations starred in a successful television series as well as several films. Panda only appeared in the pilot episode of the series before he was replaced by a kangaroo named Hoppy. (The Iris Wildthyme Appreciation Society)
The Dan Hogarth Iris – Iris’ fake seventh and male incarnation. He wasn’t actually an incarnation of Iris Wildthyme, merely a projection generated by Iris Wildthyme’s TARDIS. (The Two Irises)
Bianca – Bianca acted as Iris’ equivalent of the Valeyard. Working with a group of psychic worms, Bianca rebuilt her TARDIS as a nightclub at a dimensional nexus. From there she endeavoured to bring ultimate harmony to the universe, and to steal the remaining regenerations from Iris. The plans failed when her club was destroyed, and she faded out of existence. (The Wormery)
Iris Wildthyme’s TARDIS was usually known as the “Celestial Omnibus” or simply “the Bus,” resembled a red London double-decker bus, specifically the Number 22 to Putney Common. Lacking the standard dimensional transcendence exhibited by other TARDISes, it was smaller inside than out. (The Scarlet Empress)
Captain Turner, who left Iris after only one trip to marry Bella Huntingdon. (Old Flames)
Timmy, whom Iris referred as her “glamorous assistant.” (The Scarlet Empress)
Iris mentioned Gary as another of her previous companions. (The Scarlet Empress)
Jeremy, who helped her defeat The 22nd century Dalek invasion of Earth. (The Scarlet Empress)
Iris refers to one of her former companions as “an obtuse shape-shifter who loved nothing better than to spend much of his time as a lippy and garrulous penguin.” She is most likely referring to Frobisher, a Whifferdill who travelled with the Doctor during his sixth and seventh incarnations. (The Scarlet Empress)
Flossie and Fritter joined Iris following the adventure with the Doctor and Noël Coward. (Mad Dogs and Englismen)
Traffic warden, (a confirmed lesbian), used to get diarrhoea whenever they went through the vortex. (Verdigris)
A poodle from Dog World. (Mad Dogs and Englishmen)
Tom (who was gay) and his talking panda travelled with Iris for some time, before he returned to Earth, Iris came looking for Tom once more. While on Earth, Tom wrote mildy successful books about his travels with Iris, although most people regarded the books as fiction. (Wildthyme at Large)
He looked like a stuffed panda, liked more than a drop of alcohol (any really) and was a freelance journalist in 1972. He would often get self conscious at any mention of him being stuffed or looking like a toy panda. He continued to travel with Iris even after Tom departed. (The Land of Wonder)
BEHIND THE SCENES
Iris Wildthyme can be described as a meta-fictional character, able to comment on the world she is in, and on the Doctor’s own adventures from a point of view removed from the normal narrative structures. Iris first appeared in novels by Paul Magrs outside of the Doctor Who universe, making her a crossover character. The “old woman” Iris Wildthyme appears like actor Beryl Reid (who has guest-starred on Doctor Who). On audio, Katy Manning supplies the voice for the character; her image is usually also used to depict the character, as on the cover of Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus.
Many of the experiences Iris claims as hers are very similar to the Doctor‘s own. In some cases she vividly remembers the First Doctor’s first trip to Skaro as being part of her own past rather than his. Among the explanations she has offered for this are the possibility that she is an alternate universe’s equivalent of the Doctor or that she is a creation of Faction Paradox. In truth, Iris has a metafictional awareness of the fact that she is a parody of the Doctor, and is consequently madly in love with him. (Bafflement and Devotion) In the short story First Meetings, (Iris: Abroad) it is claimed that someone named El Jefe, who closely resembles the Doctor, stole Iris’ diaries and passed the enclosed adventures off as his own, rather than vice-versa.
Along with Bernice Summerfield, Wildthyme is one of the more prolific Doctor Who universe characters never to appear on screen (although Bernice did appear in the animated webcast Dead and Buried).
To date, Katy Manning and Maria McErlane are the only actors to portray Iris officially. None of Iris’s other incarnations have as yet been portrayed in audio form.