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who is paul magrs?

Shrouded in mystery really. According to the BBC, who published the books in which Iris has appeared and Big Finish who produce her audio plays, the character of Iris Wildthyme was created by the author and creative writing lecturer, Paul Magrs (pronounced Mars). So far, so straightforward.

But how does this square with the fact that the Virgin Doctor Who novel Love and War includes a character called Paul Magrs, an archaeologist?

Given that the author of Love and War, Paul Cornell, also introduced the character of Bernice Summerfield in that novel, isn't it at least possible that Paul Magrs is in fact a pseudonym for Mr Cornell and it was he who wrote the Iris novels?

Can it be entirely co-incidental that that other well known Doctor Who authoress, Ms Tara Samms, speaks in a decidely lower register than you might expect from any lady other than Bea Arthur and - it has been claimed - that Magrs and Samms are friends of many years standing?

Alternatively, perhaps the Paul Magrs of Love and War wrote the Iris novels and the fact that those novels play with ideas of meta-fiction and inter-textual references is merely a sly hint that the fictional character Iris Wildthyme is really the construct of the fictional character Paul Magrs?

Or could Magrs be the same Northerner who wrote some of the more spectacular magic realist novels of the past decade?

Could the same person have written Verdigris, Could it be Magic? and Never the Bride?

Maybe it's all true - maybe Iris actually exists and Paul Magrs is a far-future digger in the dirt. Who knows? One thing is for sure - Paul Magrs is unlikely to be a tall, slim academic, as he has in the past been described.

Paul Magrs Bibliography

"Patient Iris", in New Writing 4 (1995), eds. A. S. Byatt and Allan Hollinghurst.

Marked For Life, Vintage (1995).

"Anemones, My Labrador, His Puppy", in New Writing 5 (1995), eds. Christopher Hope and Peter Porter.

Does It Show?, Vintage (1997).

Playing Out, Vintage (1997).

"Boys Keep Swinging", essay on Angela Carter in The Infernal Desires of Angela Carter (1997), eds. Joseph Bristow and T. Broughton.

"The 1971 Tube Journeys", in New Writing 6 (1996), eds. by A. S. Byatt and Peter Porter.

Could It Be Magic?, Chatto and Windus (1998).

"Nude on the Moon", in Crossing the Boarder (1998), edited by Lisa Tuttle.

"Never the Bride", broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (1998).

"Old Flames", in Short Trips (1998), ed. Stephen Cole.

The Scarlet Empress, BBC books (1998).

"Femme Fatale", More Short Trips (1999), ed. Stephen Cole.

The Blue Angel, with Jeremy Hoad, BBC Books (1999).

"Entertaining Mr O", Perfect Timing (1999), ed. Helen Fayle.

"It's raining again", with Stewart Sheargold, Perfect Timing II (1999), ed. Helen Fayle.

"Being an extract from 'Iris Wildthyme on Neptune'", Tales from the Solar System (1999).

Pretext Volume 1, ed. with Julia Bell, University of East Anglia (1999).

Verdigris, BBC Books (2000).

Modern Love, Allison & Busby (2000).

Pretext Volume 2, ed. with Julia Bell, Pen & Inc (2000).

"The Longest story in the world", Short trips and Side Steps, BBC Books (2000).

"The Godfather", The Gay Times Book of Short Stories: New Century, New Writing (2000).

"Collecting Ada Jones", Sunday Express (2000).

All the Rage, Allison & Busby (2001).

The Stones of Venice, Big Finish audio play (2001).

The Creative Writing Coursebook, with Julia Bell and Andrew Motion, Pan (2001).

"Should have been dancing", Missing Pieces (2001), eds. Mark Phippen & Shaun Lyon.

"In the Sixties", Walking in Eternity (2001).

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, BBC Books (2002).

Excelis Dawns, Big Finish audio play (2002).

Strange Boy, Simon & Schuster (2002).

Aisles, Allison & Busby (2003).

UEA Creative Writing Anthology 2003: Contains Small Parts (introduction only, 2003)

"Kept Safe and Sound", Doctor Who Short Trips: Companions (2003)

To the Devil - a Diva, Allison & Busby (2004).

Hands Up!, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (2004).

A World of her Own, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (2004).

"Lust: Suitors, Inc", Doctor Who Short Trips: Seven Deadly Sins (2005)

Wildthyme on Top, ed, Big Finish (2005) (2005)

Wildthyme at Large, ed, Big Finish Audio (2005) (2005)

Exchange, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (2006)

Never the Bride, Simon & Schuster (2006)

"The Foster Parents", Phobic, Comma (2006)

Twin Freaks, Simon & Schuster (2007)

Something Borrowed, Simon & Schuster (2007)

Sick Building, BBC Books (2007)