Please feel free to comment on my review.
On Demonse 2 with the Tenth Doctor and River Song
I hoped ‘Ghosts’ by Jonathan Morris in ‘The Tenth Doctor and River Song’ would be the strongest of the three stories in the box set compared to ‘Expiry Dating’ and ‘Precious Annihilation’. I was correct.
Jonathan Morris is one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ writers in Big Finish audio. He’s written some of my favourite Fifth Doctor tales like ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ and ‘The Eternal Summer’. 😀
I feel Jonny’s got a grasp of how the Tenth Doctor and River’s relationship should be compared to James Goss and Lizzie Hopley. It also helps that this tale is set in a rather spooky atmospheric setting.
In ‘Ghosts’, the Doctor meets up with River and believes to have been summoned by her. But she didn’t summon him. The two are on the planet Demonse 2, the most haunted planet in the galaxy. 😮
As the two uncover what’s going on, they encounter ghost-like apparitions which turn out to be holograms. The Doctor and River investigate further, but the truth could be deadlier than they realise.
I like how Jonny Morris builds the story up to the reveal of what’s going on and why the Doctor and River are on this haunted planet. You have to pay closer attention to get some of the complexities. 🙂
Somehow, I found it easy to follow with what was going on without too many complicated elements. That’s probably down to Jonny’s writing being clearer and focused compared to some other writers.
David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor excels in this adventure. I like how he interacts with River here. There’s still a hint of frustration for not knowing who she is, but it’s clear that he’s very fond of her.
I enjoyed how the Doctor worked things out and came to the realisation that he and River are holograms. The flashback leading up to how the Doctor and River became holograms was intriguing.
Alex Kingston is equally good as River Song in the adventure. River isn’t so flirty with David Tennant’s Doctor as in the previous two stories in ‘The Tenth Doctor and River Song’ set since it’s toned down.
I like how River works in equal conjuncture with the Doctor in working out what the mystery’s about. River’s love for the Doctor is also emphasised towards the climax when she, as a hologram, is dying. 😦
The special guest stars include Tim Bentinck as Alfie. Tim Bentinck also voices a computer in this story. I’ve met Tim Bentinck in real life at a comic con and he’s done a number of Big Finish audios. 🙂
He’s done audios with Peter Davison’s Doctor including ‘The Contingency Club’ and ‘Moonflesh’. It’s a shame Tim Bentinck’s character Alfie got killed off early in the episode when the evil Mist came. 😐
Mina Anwar guest stars as Betty, Alfie’s husband in the episode. Mina Anwar is no stranger to ‘Doctor Who’ since she’s well-known as Rani Chandra’s mum Gita in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. 😀
There are traces of Vilma from ‘Orphan 55’ in Betty’s character when she loses her husband once he’s caught up by the Mist. Thankfully Betty doesn’t go too hysterical like Vilma did in ‘Orphan 55’. 🙂
The story also features Emma Swan as Dell and Sam Benjamin as Ziggy. It’s intriguing how the Doctor unveiled the colony ship and that the holograms of the people he and River met degraded over time. 😐
As indicated, I liked the spooky atmosphere featured in the episode. I could visualise the desolate planet the Doctor and River have stumbled upon and could visualise the evil Mist coming for them. 🙂
Speaking on a general note regarding the box set, I wish the episodes were like a linked trilogy where River joined the Doctor as his ‘companion’ rather than meeting up with him once and a while.
I’m not sure if there are going to be more audio adventures featuring the Tenth Doctor and River together. Maybe the current box set is the first of many box sets starring the Tenth Doctor and River.
Incidentally, the episode ends quite abruptly where the Tenth Doctor and River holograms are dying in the ‘ghostly’ realm. No scene is given on whether the real Doctor and River said goodbye to each other.
I greatly enjoyed ‘Ghosts’. It was a more enjoyable effort by Jonny Morris in ‘The Tenth Doctor and River Song’ box set compared to the previous two stories. I was pretty satisfied from listening to it. 🙂
At the end of the ‘Ghosts’ disc, there’s a track of incidental music to enjoy.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Disc 4 of ‘The Tenth Doctor and River Song’ box set is of course a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary disc looking into the three episodes of this special ‘lockdown’-made box set. I enjoyed hearing from the cast and crew the challenges of making this ‘Doctor Who’ box set during the 2020 lockdown.
The documentary begins with a brief introduction on how ‘The Tenth Doctor and River Song’ box set got made, featuring interviews with producer David Richardson and with David Tennant and Alex Kingston. I could tell David and Alex talked to each other via Zoom when interviewed for this box set.
We then look into the making of ‘Expiry Dating’, featuring interviews with David Tennant and Alex Kingston as well as interviews with director Nicholas Briggs and writer James Goss. I was disappointed Peter Davison and Colin Baker weren’t interviewed for this section of the documentary. 😦
There’s then a look into the making of ‘Precious Annihilation’, featuring interviews with David Tennant and Alex Kingston as well as with Barnaby Kay, Anjli Mohindra, director Nicholas Briggs and writer Lizzie Hopley. It was intriguing to hear the cast and crew’s thoughts on ‘Precious Annihilation’.
And there’s a look into the making of ‘Ghosts’, featuring interviews with David Tennant and Alex Kingston as well as interviews with Tim Bentinck, Mina Anwar, director Nicholas Briggs, writer Jonathan Morris, etc. People shared their thoughts on what they think of ghost stories in general. 😀
The documentary concludes with producer David Richardson sharing whether there’ll be more Big Finish audios featuring David Tennant’s Doctor and Alex Kingston’s River Song. He doesn’t say there are definite plans for future box sets with the two characters, but he doesn’t deny that it will happen. 🙂
‘The Tenth Doctor and River Song’ CD box set has been an enjoyable collection of ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures featuring David Tennant’s Doctor and Alex Kingston’s River Song. I wouldn’t say it was a great box set, but I’m glad to have heard these audio adventures during the tough times we live in.
‘Ghosts’ is my favourite out of the three episodes compared to ‘Expiry Dating’ and ‘Precious Annihilation’. I’m glad the Tenth Doctor and River Song’s relationship has been explored more in the Big Finish audios, which is what I hoped for to happen when I was watching the TV series back then.
‘Ghosts’ rating – 8/10
‘The Tenth Doctor and River Song’ CD rating – 7/10
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