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Bafflement and Devotion was a metatextual short story that was published in DWM 289 to coincide with the release of the novel Verdigris.

Bafflement and Devotion was most notable for the introduction of Paul Magrs into his universe of stories, a character who would go on to become a prominent recurring character in the Iris Wildthyme series and beyond.

It featured Paul Magrs, the Jane Fonda incarnation of Iris Wildthyme and her companion, the Eighth Doctor.

The story also provided a range of fictional citations that furthered the story's meta-fictional aspects.


Paul Magrs writes about Iris Wildthyme and the Doctor Who series, while simultaneously Iris attempts to convince her companion, the Eighth Doctor, to stop being so adamant about how his past played out...


After a brief recap of certain encounters between the Doctor and Iris Wildthyme, from Paul Magrs' point of view, Iris herself talks about Paul Magrs, while she and the Doctor are in her TARDIS.

From Paul Magrs' point of view, he recalls that he was asked to write about the books he had written, and Paul mentions the impact that the Doctor Who series had on him.

Iris and the Doctor then talk about her origins, and the conflict of the Thals and the Daleks (the events that the First Doctor was a part of, after the escape from the Tribe of Gum). Iris thinks to herself that the events happened differently for her, and the Doctor is huffy about Iris' claims, and he wants to know which version of events actually happened, all those years ago.

Again from Magrs' point of view, he admits that even he can't remember the order of Iris' incarnations. He talks about the Edith Sitwell, Shirley Bassey, Beryl Reid, and Jane Fonda incarnations.

The Doctor doesn't talk to Iris for a while, and he puts the kettle on. He's disturbed by the the fact that the claims from Iris are potentially true, in part due to his own past constantly changing. He realises that he suddenly remembers having adventures that he previously didn't do, such as being in Antarctica and seeing dinosaurs, and being there when Venice crumbled into the Adriatic. The Doctor is happy that he's experiencing these events like this, but that happiness turns to horror as he realises that this means he could live forever.

The TARDIS comes out of the Time Vortex, and the Doctor and Iris are flung into a new adventure together...



The Jane Fonda incarnation of Iris next to a Dalek War Machine.


  1. The Doctor first met Iris on Hyspero. (Doctor Who and the Scarlet Empress)
  2. Iris had previously met the Doctor in the 18th century. (Iris Wildthyme's Old Flames)
  3. Iris had met the Doctor even before that, when he was exiled to the 1970s. (Doctor Who and Verdigris)
  4. Iris, Jenny, and the Second Doctor fought the Dalek Supreme in the diamond mines of Marlion. (Iris Wildthyme and the Fabulously Priceless Baubles of the Dalek Supreme)
  5. Iris was sent on an investigation of Geoff Love by the Ministry. (Iris Wildthyme and the Maestro of Doom)
  6. Iris mentions a faction of paradox-inducing psychopaths from the far future. (Doctor Who and Interference)
  7. The Doctor speculates that Iris might've come from another dimension where her claims of knowing the Doctor were true. (Doctor Who and the Blue Angel)
  8. The Doctor is unsure if he is a renegade, (Doctor Who and the War Games) a President, (Doctor Who and the Invasion of Time) exiled to Earth, (Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion) or [his] homeworld, (Doctor Who and the Infinity Doctors) whether he had a mother (Doctor Who: The Novelisation of the Hit TV Movie) or whether [he] had been processed out of some diabolical gene-splicing machine, (Doctor Who and Lungbarrow) or if it's all been some peculiar distraction or fantasy. (Iris Wildthyme and the Mauve Autodidact)
  9. Iris suggests to the Doctor that she came from a place where he doesn't exist. (Iris Wildthyme and the Gilded Utensils)
  10. Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks (Doctor Who and the Dead Planet) contradicts another book. (Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child)
  11. Iris once visited Skaro. (Iris Wildthyme and the Extremely Lively Planet)
  12. Iris' describes her life as stories, about "paradoxes, time travel, mind control, virtual selves, cloning, regression, reincarnation, talking vegetables, cybernetics, regeneration, prolepsis, analepsis, alternative dimensional instabilities, metatextuality, allegory, satire, fantasy, revisionism, cliches, plagiarism, and hoodwinkery". (The Sacred Ajai'ib of Hyspero)
  13. The "Edith Sitwell" Iris met all seven of her future incarnations in the Death Zone. (Iris Wildthyme's Seven of Thirteen)
  14. The "Shirley Bassey" Iris posed as the singer for a while. (Iris Wildthyme's Goldfinger)
  15. The "Beryl Reid" Iris, on Hyspero, "doggedly pursued" the Doctor as she felt she was destined to die. (Death to Iris Wildthyme)
  16. The "Jane Fonda" Iris worked for MIAOW in the 1960s. (Iris Wildthyme's Fabric of Time Itself (MIAOW))
  17. The Doctor remembers new events after his fifth incarnation had left Tegan at Heathrow Airport. (Doctor Who's Time Flight)
  18. After Heathrow Aiport, the Doctor remembers he and Nyssa reuniting with Tegan in Amsterdam. (Doctor Who and the Arc of Infinity)
  19. The Doctor remembers being in Antarctica and seeing dinosaurs (Doctor Who and the Land of the Dead) and when Venice crumbled into the Adriatic. (Doctor Who and the Stones of Venice)
  20. The Doctor mentions the Brigadier and his nervous breakdown. (Doctor Who and Mawdryn Undead)
  21. Iris Wildthyme's TARDIS makes a loud, rasping, droning noise as it rematerialises. (Iris Wildthme's Wheezing, Groaning Enigma)


Jane Fonda incarnation of Iris from the table of contents of DWM 289.

  • The table of contents for DWM 289 included a publicity photograph from Barbarella to represent the Jane Fonda incarnation of Iris that was not included in the story itself.
  • Through the description of the "Edith Sitwell" Iris, it's implied that she is the same incarnation of Iris that first appeared in Magrs' Phoenix Court series.
  • The short story was later reprinted in the 2021 charity anthology Bafflement and Devotion: Iris at the Edges.


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