In Review: Big Finish: The Diary of River Song Series 02

The Diary of River Song Series 02 proved again that there is no dividing line between the Classic and New eras of Doctor Who.

Synopsis: 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!

From the space exploration vessel Saturnius – which is heading to a destination that never gets any closer – to a doomed planet Earth and beyond, River’s journey will bring her closer to a new foe… and an encounter with both the Sixth and Seventh Doctors.

2.1 The Unknown by Guy Adams

A planetary anomaly. A scientific impossibility. A mystery to be solved.

Of course, River Song expects to be consulted. She expects her valuable knowledge and experience will help the crew of the Saturnius unlock the strange phenomenon that has appeared in Earth’s solar system.

But what River doesn’t expect is a stowaway. An infuriating little man, calling himself the Doctor.

2.2 Five Twenty-Nine by John Dorney

River has made a terrible discovery.

Billions of lives hang in the balance. But if she can save just a few, then it might just help her solve the conundrum of Earth’s destruction.

But how can she win when survival becomes a race against time itself? A race against Five Twenty-Nine?

2.3 World Enough and Time by James Goss

When it comes to bringing down corrupt and exploitative regimes, there is no-one quite like River.

Until she arrives at Golden Futures and discovers that someone else has already taken on her job. Someone with almost as much style and panache as herself.

The Doctor is about to get the shock of his lives.

2.4 The Eye of the Storm by Matt Fitton

The Great Storm of 1703 approaches. The fate of planet Earth hangs in the balance.

The only person who can save it is the Doctor. Or River Song. Or quite possibly another Doctor. Or maybe this whole situation is their fault in the first place.

Two Doctors. One River. An infinite number of ways to destroy the world. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Review: The Diary of River Song Series 02 proved again that there is no dividing line between the Classic and New eras of Doctor Who. Alex Kingston, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy were in top form. They played the Doctor and River’s romance with more richly complex layers than Stephen Moffat ever could, limited as he has been by fanfic parameters. I did find all the memory wiping machinations to maintain the timeline annoying, however. River’s interactions with the Eighth Doctor felt more logistically organic. It will be interesting to hear how the writers handle her interactions with the even earlier incarnations in future stories.

The character beats were what sold this second set. The plot, with the added wrinkle of multiple Earths, was bog standard for the franchise. I particularly enjoyed “Five Twenty-Nine” by John Dorney. Robert Pugh, Ann Bell, and Salome Haertel masterfully play off of Kingston in a very intimate four-hander about the end of the world. Even though the story didn’t feature any incarnations of the Doctor, the heartfelt family drama was the narrative centerpiece in many ways.

Having exited the main series, The Diary of River Song audios are a welcome continuation for a fascinating character. Frankly, I’d rather have more River Song than a female Doctor any day.

  • You can purchase The Diary of River Song Series 02 here.

Written By: Guy Adams, John Dorney, James Goss, Matt Fitton

Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast: Alex Kingston (River Song), Colin Baker (The Doctor), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Anna Maxwell Martin (Maddie Bower), Gemma Saunders (Ellen Byrne), Justin Avoth (Robert Murphy), Salome Haertel (Rachel), Jessie Buckley (Sarah Dean / Speravore Queen), Ann Bell (Lisa Burrows), Robert Pugh (Emmett Burrows), Dan Starkey (Computer / Announcer), Aaron Neil (Steven Godbold / Computer), Sara Powell (The PA), Sam Alexander (Todd the Pod), Barnaby Edwards (Autocorrect), Paul Keating (Isaac George), Robert Hands (Daniel Defoe / Barkeep), Alan Cox (Robert Harley / Speravore / Warder). Other parts played by members of the cast.

9.5
Big Finish: The Diary of River Song Series 02
  • Story, Performances
  • The memory wipes got stale.
  • Story
    8.5
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.

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