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Iris Wildthyme: The Claws of Santa by Cavan Scott

1/01/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Iris Wildthyme: The Claws of Santa in the USA - or Buy Iris Wildthyme: The Claws of Santa in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 60 minute CD. Price: CD: £12.95 (UK), download: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-443-6)cast: Katy Manning, David Benson, Conrad Westmaas, Sarah Douglas, Peter Sowerbutts and Scott Handcock.

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Iris Wildthyme is drowning her sorrows in a few snowballs. Yes, she is in the bar again but this time she has a reason. The last time we heard Iris, she was losing Panda to an alarming rift in time and space. He sacrificed himself to save the Earth (call me Buffy). She has looked everywhere for him, even in places that don't exist, even in Penge, but he is lost forever.

Out of her drunken stupor, Iris hears Panda's voice and meets with a fat, forty-something shoplifter who appears to have kidnapped him. But the shoplifter disappears and there's a naughty great temporal rift to contend with. Just another life in the day for our Iris.

Thereafter follows a tale of unbelievable complexity and Christmas in which Iris is falsely accused, tied up and abused but never for one moment, sober.

This Christmas special outing for the indomitable Time Lady is sweetly sentimental, a tale of love and loss and gin and an unaccountable attachment to a small annoying furry animal. Of course it's not 'Doctor Who' but it is peppered with great local colour including Santa Baby and his mad wife, Mary Christmas. A store-detective droid and, of course, the indestructible Panda also helped to rejuvenate my Christmas spirit as the plot rolls along and endeavours to put as many Christmas song lyrics and clichés into its hour's length.

It's a simple feel good tale as usual and it's a funny story for Christmas. It also resolves the mystery of the missing Panda. You can welcome him back but don't whatever you do, call him a bear.

Sue Davies

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This book has 12 votes in the sci-fi charts

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