River Song dances on the outskirts of Doctor Who history

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A new series of Big Finish Productions’ The Diary of River Song is sending Alex Kingston’s anarchic archaeologist on a whirlwind trip through Doctor Who history. The Doctor’s wife has many ways to amuse herself away from her husband, and with access to his diary she knows exactly when he might be around, and when best to slip in unnoticed and liberate valuable trinkets.

But first, she must ensure he makes it out of Totters Lane alive!

the first episode of this new box set sees River encountering the original TARDIS team. Jamie Glover plays Ian Chesterton, Jemma Powell plays Barbara Wright, and Susan – the Doctor’s granddaughter – is played by Claudia Grant.

“I remember William Hartnell (playing the Doctor),” Kingston said in a statement. “I have very strong childhood memories of his Doctor and his granddaughter Susan… I love this whole concept of River Song travelling back and connecting with an episode from the past. It’s such a genius idea. I didn’t know we’d go this far back, and it was fabulous to be part of it.”

In the second story of the set, River Song returns to London but she arrives during an invasion of Abominable Snowmen. Set during the classic Second Doctor TV episode “The Web of Fear,” John Dorney’s “The Web of Time” will see River using all her archaeological skills as she navigates the London Underground in search of… a painting.

The third episode, “Peepshow” by Guy Adams, sees River trapped in a battle between classic Doctor Who monsters the Ogrons and Sontarans – plus the Drashigs will be making a reappearance. But will she cross paths with the Third Doctor and Jo Grant?

And in the final episode, River will be travelling back to Victorian London, just before the classic Fourth Doctor story “The Talons of Weng-Chiang.” In “The Talents of Greel” by Paul Morris, River will be playing detective, working out what is happening to the performers of London town. Her investigations take her to the Palace Theatre where she’ll meet the great Henry Gordon Jago, played by Christopher Benjamin.

6.1 An Unearthly Woman by Matt Fitton

Coal Hill School has a new member of staff: an educated woman, who seems to specialise in every subject. Meanwhile, teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright have concerns over the behaviour of one of their pupils.

Susan Foreman is intrigued by Dr Song, but something else is stalking her in the darkness and fog of London, 1963…

6.2 The Web of Time by John Dorney

The capital has been evacuated. Monsters stalk the Underground. For River, it’s the perfect opportunity to steal a priceless artwork, so long as she can avoid looters, soldiers and an alien invasion.

With the gallant Captain Knight at her side, River faces the Great Intelligence and its Yeti army. But her biggest challenge may be keeping time itself on track…

6.3 Peepshow by Guy Adams

Miniscope parts fetch quite a price on the open market – luckily, River knows where she can find one that’s about to be decommissioned. Unfortunately, this particular miniscope is chock-full of aliens, as well as unsuspecting Earthlings.

River must face a carnival of monsters before she can claim her prize – across miniature habitats, Ogrons, Sontarans and Drashigs await!

6.4 The Talents of Greel by Paul Morris

River visits Victorian London on the trail of anachronistic technology. But when young women are stolen from the streets, she takes a stand. River’s investigation leads to theater impresario Henry Gordon Jago, and his latest star act: Li H’Sen Chang and the unnerving Mr Sin. But if River’s going undercover at the Palace Theatre, she needs to have a song…

Producer David Richardson said in last month’s Vortex  for Big Finish magazine: “The working title of this box set was ‘Fringes’. I pitched it to script editor Matt Fitton as four stories in which River lands on the fringes of classic Doctor Who adventures – and from there we just had to work out which ones.

“It was a really exciting process, there are 26 years of the classic series to choose from, after all. But I suppose we were drawn to the landmark of the very first story, ‘An Unearthly Child,’ and adventures that I felt were classics: ‘The Web of Fear,’ ‘Carnival of Monsters’ and ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’.”

The Diary of River Song Series Six is available today.

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