REVIEW | Iris Wildthyme and the Polythene Terror

The Iris Wildthyme and Friends range of audiobooks from Big Finish continues with Iris Wildthyme and the Polythene Terror written by Paul Magrs.

The story itself is a kind of spin on the Doctor Who episode Spearhead from Space, seeing Iris exiled to Earth in the 70s, where she joins the Ministry for Incursions and Ontological Wonders (MIAOW) as they investigate deadly plastic rubbish men coming to life and terrorising London. That’s not to say it’s derivative or repetitive in any way; there are some really fresh ideas here and a wackier, more offbeat atmosphere that sets it apart from any Doctor Who story. For example, there’s a section involving an anthropomorphic cat which is totally crazy but thoroughly entertaining at the same time.

Katy Manning is on narration duties here, and I was absolutely blown away by the wide variety of voices she uses to bring the story to life. You can tell exactly which character is speaking from the moment Manning reads their dialogue, and it’s clear she’s put a lot of effort into making sure that’s the case, once again proving herself to be one of the most talented performers in the Doctor Who universe. She brings a real warmth to the whole tale, augmenting Magrs’s charming prose with her trademark twinkle.

The strength of the writing and Manning’s narration, alongside the short, maximum 20-minute chapters, makes this an easy and enjoyable listen, the near six hour runtime simply flying by. I often find some audiobooks to be a slog to listen to, but all of these factors means The Polythene Terror is nothing of the sort: a truly delightful listen from start to finish.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Iris Wildthyme and the Polythene Terror is available as a download from


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