DWO’s Spoiler-Free preview of the 2015 Christmas Special, The Husbands of River Song;
So here it is, Merry Christmas! Everybody's having fun. Not least of them being Doctor Who, which is off on a bit of a lark following a season which saw the Doctor go through some fairly significant losses.
Bringing back Alex Kingston’s River Song to bounce off another incarnation of the Doctor was always going to be a recipe for fun, and The husbands of River Song doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Watching her dance around the screen with Peter Capaldi’s incarnation of the Time Lord is a real delight. There’s something about seeing the Twelfth Doctor let his hair down (so to speak… let his eyebrows down? There’s a breeze when he moves them…) and engaging in a bit of fun with his wife which is completely endearing and so perfect for Christmas Day.
As ever with River, the Doctor turns into a bit of a love-struck fool, and it’s really great to see a new side to Capaldi’s Doctor. Don’t fret that he’s not the Time Lord we’ve grown to know over the last two seasons, though; there’s a lot about his wife’s activities that this Doctor doesn’t approve of. Popping up with a new face (his thirteenth - one he’s not supposed to have and one River certainly doesn’t gave a picture of) gives him a chance to see what his beloved is like when he’s not around.
Oh, but the two of them absolutely sing together. Was there ever any doubt that they wouldn’t?
It helps that they’re supported by a stellar guest cast of husbands, fronted by the likes of Greg Davies as King Hydroflax, and Matt Lucas and Phillip Rhys as River’s partners in crime. As ever with names like this, there’s been a certain amount of grumbling about ‘stunt’ casting for the episode, but when you see the way everyone comes together on screen, you can’t help but get swept up in the ride. Make sure you hold on tight and don’t lose your head…
The episode also sees a very welcome return to the director’s chair for Douglas Mackinnon, who was sorely missed throughout the main bulk of Series Nine. Mackinnnon brings his style brilliantly to the worlds of the special, and there’s several moments where Doctor Who has rarely looked better.
There’s a danger that throughout this preview so far I’ve made the Christmas episode sound like a lot of larking about with no real substance, but never fear - the Doctor and River’s relationship has always been laced with emotion and sadness - how could it not when one of them dies on their first date? - and there’s a big dollop of that embedded in here, too.
Happiness and joy mixed with a hint sadness and thoughts of those we’ve lost. Is anything more Christmas than that?
Five things to look out for;
1) "I think I’m going to need a bigger flowchart…"
2) "The diary of River Song! The ultimate guide to the Time Lord known as the Doctor…"
3) "You are a time/space machine! You’ve a vehicle! I’ve never asked you to cheer me up with hologramatic antlers!"
4) 24 years.
5) "An archeologist is just a thief with patience. I never had much of that."
[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]