In Review: Big Finish: The Diary of River Song, Series 05

River and The Master strode through the universe. Everyone else just lived there… until they died, of course.

Synopsis: The Doctor isn’t the only Time Lord River runs into on her travels up and down the timeline.

The Master, in all of his – or her – guises, also has a chequered history with Professor Song. And whenever they meet, it’s a close call as to who comes out on top…

It’s something River must get used to: there are three people in her marriage – at the very least!

Review: I’m scoring The Diary of River Song, Series 05 a perfect 10 out of 10 for two reasons. First, Alex Kingston, Geoffrey Beevers, Eric Roberts, Michelle Gomez, and Derek Jacobi are all superb as The Doctor’s Wife and His Best Enemy. Second, writers Jonathan Morris, Roy Gill, Eddie Robson, and Scott Handcock ably assisted their leading actors by constructing stories that perfectly encapsulated each of The Master’s incarnations.

“The Bekdel Test” by Jonathan Morris was a consummate exercise in how to build a story around an ironic pun. It also established the template for the rest of the box set. Kingston and Gomez were essentially acting in a two-hander play, even when there were other actors in the scenes. River and The Master strode through the universe. Everyone else just lived there… until they died, of course.

In “Animal Instinct” by Roy Gill, Geoffrey Beevers played the deliciously old-school villainy to the hilt, encountering River Song in exactly the way his incarnation would. I really appreciated the marvelous classic Doctor Who vibe and the savagely lyrical world-building.

“The Lifeboat and the Deathboat” by Eddie Robson marked the return of Eric Roberts, reprising the role after 23 years. I’m glad Mr. Roberts understands that we bear him no ill will after the unfortunate 1996 outing. Furthermore, I’m heartened that he’s finally had a chance to play The Master as written and produced by people who actually give a damn about this franchise. I hope he continues with Big Finish.

“Concealed Weapon” by Scott Handcock proved that less is more, building up to Derek Jacobi’s War Master perfectly. I’m glad Handcock succeeded in finding the balance of power between two beings who won’t be defeated. I also loved getting another chance to hear one of my favorite actors gleefully eat all the scenery with every condiment he could find.

I’d like more of everyone and everything in this box set, please!

Written By: Jonathan Morris, Roy Gill, Eddie Robson, Scott Handcock

Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast

Alex Kingston (River Song), Geoffrey Beevers (The Master), Eric Roberts (The Master), Derek Jacobi (The Master), Michelle Gomez (Missy), Laurence Kennedy (Director), Fiona Hampton (Zerelda / Charlotte Henries), Richenda Carey (Darial / Admiral), Andrew Fettes (Hewel / Prison Guard), Timothy Blore (Luke Sulieman), Delroy Atkinson (Dav Christos / Therian Leader), Emily Woodward (Adella Franz Therian), Lucy Heath (Alison), Sasha Behar (Admiral Eno), Himesh Patel (Ayrton Valencia / Engineer), Eleanor Crooks (Kaliopi Mileska / Robot), Christopher Naylor (Number Two / Computer / James), Vineeta Rishi (Amita Burman), Orion Ben (Nina Purkis), Tom Price (Hugo), Jacqueline King (Michelle Lambon). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson

Script Editor Matt Fitton

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

10
Big Finish: The Diary of River Song, Series 05
  • Story
    10
  • 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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