“Muse of Fire” is a Doctor Who audio play written by Paul Magrs, adding to the cast catalog of Big Finish Productions. Sylvester McCoy is reunited with Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier. Ace and Hex are back together, joining the Doctor in another caper. This time, they are in 1922 Paris during a time when various artist have converged in France’s capital for inspiration. Or that was supposed to have happened, but Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and other artistic geniuses have mysteriously departed after particularly brutal reviews were published.
Hex isn’t the only welcome return to Big Finish. Katy Manning reprises her performance as trans temporal adventuress Iris Wildthyme. Iris was introduced in the original novels from BBC Books and was a reckless, mysterious figure who had crossed paths with all of the various incarnations of the Doctor. I liked the moment in this adventure when the Doctor admitted not quite remembering how or when he first met Iris. Manning has said how much she enjoys playing the part and that comes across quite well in this episode.
Christine Kavanaugh plays a veiled bookshop owner with extraterrestrial origins of her own and a very strange preference for sustenance.
There is actually quite an interesting mix of characters in this overall light-hearted episode. Apparently Paris in the 1920’s was a quite the draw for various artists and American expatriates.
The eventual meeting between the Doctor and Iris didn’t disappoint although it took quite a while to get there.
On top of everything, there is a talking toy panda named Panda who serves as Iris’s companion. David Benson was the voice talent here. Iris has her own range with Big Finish, and I gather this is not the first time that Panda has been appeared. I haven’t listened to the Iris Wildthyme series, so I had to piece together some of these things.
It’s a pretty enjoyable episode with some nice treats for the more loyal collectors of Big Finish.