The much-anticipated Christmas special of Series nine Doctor Who has finally arrived! And so has the much-loved companion Professor River Song. It was brilliant to once again see Alex Kingston’s name included in the titles once again projecting her name as a leading lady. When we first found out that Alex Kingston would be returning as River Song the reaction of the fans was split. Many fans believed that Rivers character was not able to return any longer and her ‘song’ had ended. Even the Doctors themselves were split in the decision for her to return. “I’m really possessive over Alex [Kingston],” said former Doctor Matt Smith. “Anyone else, but don’t give [Capaldi] River… I am really proud of the fact that Alex was part of number Eleven’s life. My wife!” David Tennant was also a supporter of this view.
Her return however was a wonderful Christmas present from Moffat to see the old River return. One plot downside in the episode however was the whole character of the Doctor. At the end of series nine we saw Capaldi’s Doctor was a lost man who was besotted with the idea of a character called “Clara” and he was on a mission to find her. It was after this story that we found it hard to believe that the Doctor was a dancing between comedy and romancing with River Song. Given that she is far closer in age to Capaldi than she ever was to Matt Smith, this pairing of River and the Doctor is the most realistic relationship age that we’ve seen. Meanwhile with her memory loss in the episode it’s great fun to see the Doctor turn her catchphrases back at her.
Another character that has to be noted is that of King Hydroflax who I think has one of the best alien names in a long while. King Hydroflax is played Greg Davies (of Inbetweener’s fame) who spent the episode playing a disembodied head on a robotic body. Even so he probably contributed to one of the funniest scenes in the episode when his head was inside the hold-all bag.
Another of the funniest scenes in the episode was when the Doctor finally got to play the companion therefore getting his Tardis ‘it’s bigger-on-the-inside moment’ this was surely a moment where the audience thought who was having the more fun: Moffat in writing it or Capaldi in playing it!
Photographer: Ray Burmiston/Simon Ridgeway
The ending of the episode did however leave the Tardis doors open for a possible return of River as one night last much longer than on earth. With the series due to start filming shortly in Cardiff we will wait with anticipation on whether River will continue to fly with the Doctor through all of time and space. Doctor Who will return in the summer next year with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and his latest sidekick with him.