❉ Well acted, written and directed, it’s another fantastic audio outing for River Song – and two classic Doctors!
Time travelling archaeologist and adventurer River Song returns – and this time she will be stepping into the past life of the Doctor, encountering two of his incarnations at once!
Coming off series 1 of ‘The Diary of River Song’ and her smattering of appearances in the ‘Doom Coalition’ sets I thought I thoroughly knew what to expect from ‘The Diary of River Song’ Series 2.
I was wrong.
What’s presented here is a very quiet, dark, and serious affair. It’s different, but I like it because of that. I expected some insanely fun and glamourous hijinks with River and the Doctors and that would be that, but this box set shows that it’s not quite all fun and games for River when she’s alone, and even though two Doctors appear here she is very much running the show. Shall we take a look, sweetie?
❉ The Unknown by Guy Adams
Right out of the gate we get some River Song/Doctor action. This time it’s the 7th Doctor (played by Sylvester McCoy, who else!?), but the catch is they don’t remember who they are. It’s the start of a very complex tale that leaves the listener with quite a few answers. Ones you are only to happy to listen on and find out. The centerpiece of the episode, however, has to be River Song and Seventh Doctor’s relationship. In their befuddled states, they actually don’t quite like each other! A joy to listen to, but it’s an audio where you do have to listen very carefully.
❉ Five Twenty-Nine by John Dorney
Gosh, John Dorney is good isn’t he? This story alone justifies why Big Finish should have a River Song series, and indeed this is her only solo effort in the box set. It’s a quiet, ominous foreboding four-hander picking up from the events of the previous story. Here River races, literally, against time to save a family from an impending disaster, but does she? The story plays like a particularly bleak episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ which has a suitably serious River Song. I must call attention to the superb cast here. Ann Bell, Robert Pugh, and Salome Haertel are such a convincing loving, albeit unconventional family. Kudos especially to Salome (the leading lady’s daughter) who’s acting debut this is. Hopefully Big Finish will have more uses for her in the future.
❉ World Enough and Time by James Goss
Oh, Sixie. You sly dog you! THAT was not expected, either.
Colin Baker & Alex Kingston. Need I say more? Oh all right. In what serves as a palette cleanser from ‘Five Twenty-Nine’, ‘World Enough and Time’ is a romp with those lovebirds The Doctor and River. Whilst undercover at Golden Futures, the Doctor bumps into a similarly undercover River Song and sparks fly. We see a side of this Doctor that’s never been seen before, which makes this a vital piece of his mythology. That and we get to delve further into River’s relationship with him. It just shows how well she knows and loves him. Make no mistake though, despite all of this going on, it’s still firmly rooted into the ongoing mystery of the 2 Earths and Golden Futures’ sinister schemes for them….one that draws all our heroes together.
❉ The Eye of the Storm by Matt Fitton
I thought things were supposed to be calm in the eye of the storm? Apparently, River and the two Doctors didn’t get that memo.
To say much more about this story would ruin your enjoyment of it, but I will say that the 10-ish minute scene toward the end with River and the Seventh Doctor is probably a highlight of Big Finish’s 2016 output. Two cunning, clever people trying to get one up on the other, and neither getting anywhere with it. Worth the price of the box set alone.
All in all, it’s another fantastic audio outing for River Song. Here we get to delve deeply into what makes her tick, but we also get to see a more serious side of her nature. River Song, as a character, is all the better for it. Big Finish has made a business out of fleshing out character’s from ‘Doctor Who’s past, so it makes sense for them to work their magic on some of the show’s newer ones too.
Each story marches to its own beat, yet they still all weave together into one hell of a story. Well acted, written and directed ‘The Diary of River Song’ Series 2 is a delightfully dark Christmas present for ‘Doctor Who’ fans young and old.
More please. (Does we mean we get Davison and Tom Baker in Series 3?)
❉’The Diary of River Song: Series 2′ was released digitally only on 25 December 2016. It will be released in January 2017 on CD through Big Finish and then exclusively available to buy from the BF website until March 31st 2017, and on general sale after this date.