In Review: Big Finish: The Diary of River Song Series 03

In fact, I would go so far as to write that this box set surpassed the story line that inspired it and would be a balm to River Song’s detractors.

Synopsis: Kovarian knows the universe’s greatest threat, the Doctor, must be eliminated. An assassin was created for that purpose.

But if Melody Pond has failed, Kovarian will simply have to try again…

Review: The Diary of River Song Series 03 is the most cerebral and poignant set of stories involving the titular time-traveling archeologist so far. In fact, I would go so far as to write that this box set surpassed the storyline that inspired it and would be a balm to River Song’s detractors.

Each story in this set forced River to hold a mirror up to herself, as all good genre storytelling should. While she’s holding a mirror up to herself, River must safeguard the fifth incarnation of her husband, played wonderfully as ever by Peter Davison. Davison and Alex Kingston have marvelous chemistry. Apart from anything else, this series is a brilliant excuse for Kingston to have infectious fun with the various actors who’ve played The Doctor. The highlight was listening to Davison bounce off of Kingston in a dual role.

Of course, there needed to be infectious fun to balance the decidedly dark themes throughout. “The Lady in the Lake’ by Nev Fountain dealt with cultism and the dark side of regeneration. “A Requiem for the Doctor” by Jac Rayner was a lovely historical (sucker for those) that doubled as a meditation on hatred. “My Dinner with Andrew” by John Dorney was a mind-bogglingly timey-wimey caper centered on the importance of a single life. “The Furies” by Matt Fitton is the epic finale where a whole bunch of psychotic chickens came home to roost in a story about guilt and fanaticism. Frances Barber was superb as Madame Kovarian faced the cost of her crusade.

Based on the quality of The Diary of River Song Series 03 and the previous box sets, I can’t wait to hear River Song’s adventures with the Fourth Doctor.

Written By: Nev Fountain, Jacqueline Rayner, John Dorney, Matt Fitton

Directed By: Ken Bentley


Alex Kingston (River Song), Frances Barber (Madame Kovarian), Peter Davison (The Doctor), Ian Conningham (Kevin / Rindle), Julia Hills (Sharon / Rindle), David Seddon (Mr Quisling / Tarn 2), Leighton Pugh (Lake 2 / Dave / Tarn), Sophia Carr-Gomm (Lily), Joanna Horton (Brooke), Issy Van Randwyck (Giulia), Rosanna Miles (Antoinette / Maid / Constanze), Teddy Kempner (Viktor / Mozart / Stefan / Apothecary), Jonathan Coote (Maitre D’ / Chef / Assassin), Nina Toussaint-White (Brooke 2), Francesca Zoutewelle (H-One / H-Two / Mission Captain), Pippa Bennett-Warner (O / The Deterrent). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson

Script Editors Matt Fitton, John Dorney

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Big Finish: The Diary of River Song Series 03
  • Story
  • Performances
  • Audio Production

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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