DVD Review: The Husbands of River Song

(BBC, PG) – by Chris Gardner (@chrisgardnernz)

Husbands of River SongMake the most of The Husbands of River Song, the 2015 Christmas Special is the only new Doctor Who to arrive on Blu-ray and DVD this year after Series 9.

The Doctor will not call this year.

The terrific twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi is resting his running shoes this year as the sublime show runner Steven Moffat prepares to write up a storm for what looks to be their final year in the TARDIS in 2017. Meanwhile the equally excellent Chris Chibnall, the brains behind the brilliant Broadchurch, is preparing to take the TARDIS in 2018 with a brand new Doctor.

While Big Finish Productions continues its relentless release of new Doctor Who full cast audio dramas starring the actors who played the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eight incarnations of the Doctor, televised tales of the twelfth incarnation of the Time Lord will have to wait another 11 months for the next Christmas special.

All this, announced in between the last Christmas special’s airing and arrival to the home market, means expectations for the last televised Doctor Who for a year are suddenly raised.

I’ve been hoping for Alex Kingston’s return as the Doctor’s wife, River Song, for some time – advocating for her to be made a full time companion to Capaldi’s Doctor. Their characters are opposites in every way. He’s sharp, angular and spikey. She’s soft, rounded and cuddly. And together they make sparks.

But in this story River Song, whose own personal time line is moving in the opposite direction to the Doctor’s, doesn’t know who the Doctor is while he is fully aware of their history together.

They meet by accident when she calls for a doctor for her husband King Hydroflax (Greg Davies), a disembodied head with an out of control robot body, but she’s only married him to get at his diamond. But she also has another man who she calls husband, which I found thoroughly interesting.

Really no other aspect of the plot is important other than the fact that the pair are reunited, not even Matt Lucas’s comedy character. What is important is that it this episode gives Capaldi and Kingston time to shine together and if they were to shine any more brightly there would be a white out – rather appropriate for a Christmas special.

It’s glorious when it really does eventually get going. The end result is daft, silly, funny, sexy and then touching beyond belief.

Could this be the last appearance of River Song? Since she died saving David Tennant’s tenth Doctor in her first appearance, anything is possible.

A trio of extras helps round this release off. There’s a trailer for the episode and a couple of behind the scenes features, which run to about half an hour.


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