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The Scarlet Empress was the fifteenth novel in the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures series. It was written by Paul Magrs, released 7 September 1998 and featured the Eighth Doctor and Sam Jones.

It was also the first full-length novel to feature Iris Wildthyme, a Time Lady who first appeared in the short story Old Flames.

It was named after the Marlene Dietrich film of the same name, a trend which continued with Magrs' next Doctor Who novel The Blue Angel.

Publisher's summary[]

Arriving on the almost impossibly ancient planet of Hyspero, a world where magic and danger walk hand in hand, the Doctor and Sam are caught up in a bizarre struggle for survival.

Hyspero has been ruled for thousands of years by the Scarlet Empresses, creatures of dangerous powers — powers that a member of the Doctor's own race is keen to possess herself: the eccentric time traveller and philanderer known only as Iris Wildthyme.

As the real reasons for Iris's obsession become clear, the Doctor and Sam must embark on a perilous journey across deserts, mountains, forests and oceans. Both friends and foes are found among spirits, djinns, alligator men and golden bears — but in a land where the magical is possible, is anything really as it seems?


to be added



  • The Doctor, Sam and Iris visit Hyspero in 9968.


  • Aja'ib is a book of fantastic stories, tales and adventures.


The Doctor[]

  • The Doctor describes himself as an ethnomethodologist.
  • The Doctor recalls "jumping off an Ice Warrior ship over Central London. Scuba diving with Zygons. Causing havoc once again on Skaro."
  • Iris was not fond of the Seventh Doctor.

Foods and beverages[]

  • Iris consumes a variety of alcohol, mostly gin.
  • Sam drinks too much of the crystallised wine.
  • Gila buys some fish.
  • The Doctor offers the Mock Turtle a jelly baby prior to travelling through the vortex in Iris' bus.



Iris Wildthyme and the Doctor[]

  • Iris claims to have survived "Giant Spiders on Metebelis Three, the Cyberman tombs of Telos, the Drashigs in feeding frenzy on their foetid swamp world."
  • Iris has also recently escaped Xeriphas.
  • Iris refers to the Master as a "phallocentric dope".
  • The Doctor challenges Iris' claims, stating, "You didn't foil the Dalek invasion of Earth in the twenty-second century. I did! It was me, Susan, and Ian and Barbara! And the Cyber tombs on Telos...You weren't there Iris. You weren't to be seen!"
  • Iris replies by saying that in her version, she travelled with her "glamorous young assistant" Jeremy.
  • Whilst in a river with patriarchal psychic river jellyfish-like creatures, Sam is telepathically contacted by said patriarchal creatures, who tell her that the Doctor was woven on a loom and only thinks he has a human mother.
  • The Doctor recalls having Christmas dinner with Iris, Tegan and Turlough.
  • Iris once proposed to the Doctor in Venice.
  • Iris once travelled with an "obtuse shape-shifter who loved nothing better than to spend much of his time as a lippy garrulous penguin."
  • Kroton the Cyberman is a friend of Iris.
  • Iris astral projects herself around Hyspero while everyone sleeps in Major Angela's house with the bears.



  • Sam sees Draconian princes, Spiridons in purple furs and Martians in armour on the streets of Hyspero.
  • The Doctor mentions vampires to Sam while discussing the borders between magic and science.
  • According to the Doctor the Chelonian version of Cinderella had to be seen to be believed.
  • Iris is sick because she took high tea with a Draconian prince and ate a live Kaled mutant from the shell.


  • She has some cassettes in her TARDIS of Motown, ABBA, and Shirley Bassey.
  • In Iris's bus the time winds come in through the windows when it's in flight.


Time travel[]

  • The Doctor describes travelling through the Vortex as "vworp vworp".


  • This novel is often narrated in first person by Iris Wildthyme, Gila, Sam Jones and the Doctor.
  • There are numerous references to past stories.
  • There are bronze and verdigris towers in Hypero. Sam also bathes in a verdigris tub (there are a few other references). Verdigris is a novel Paul Magrs wrote after this novel which also features Iris Wildthyme.
  • Sam has a dream, which is probably not a telepathic trance where she and the Doctor had just left Victorian London with several slumbering Skarasen. She notices the Doctor's Volkswagen Beetle. The Doctor in the dream shows her his "Citizens Advice Bureau" which are seven heads on spikes.
"Really, Doctor, this is hardly -" (Third Doctor)
"You see, my dear, it's very simple..." (First Doctor)
"I'm not exactly breaking the Laws of Time, but -" (Second Doctor)
"There were once three sisters and they lived at the bottom of a treacle well..." (Fourth Doctor)
"Only in the direst of emergencies can you -" (Fifth Doctor)
"Nice? Nice?" (Sixth Doctor)
"I saw this coming." (Seventh Doctor)


  • When "he was sent to avert the genesis of the dreams and desires of one particular historical despot". (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
  • When he met "the vicious slime-like beast in the pit that only [he] could befriend and talk to". (TV: The Creature from the Pit)
  • When he "was forced to battle a multi-legged fiend that secreted acid from every pore in an arena watched by some million or more". (COMIC: Doctor Who and the Iron Legion)
  • When he visited "the world at the edge of the cosmos where [he] fell into a puddle and met the last known and very strangest creature in the world". (TV: Planet of Evil)
  • When he "went to the centre of the world and met people for whom time had stood still". (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
  • When he encountered "the demon who lived under a church and unleashed himself one sacred night". (TV: The Dæmons)

External links[]