Doctor Who Review: The Wedding of River Song

I still don’t get why they needed a spacesuit.

Cast and Crew

Matt Smith as The Doctor
Karen Gillen as Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill as Rory
Alex Kingston as River Song
Frances Barber as Madame Kovarian
Simon Fisher-Becker as Dorium Maldovar
Ian McNeice as Emperor Winston Churchill
Richard Hope as Dr. Malokeh
Marnix Van Den Broeke as The Silent
Nicholas Briggs as the Voice of the Daleks
Simon Callow as Charles Dickens
Sian Williams as Herself
Bill Turnbull as Himself
Meredith Vieira as Newsreader
Niall Greig Fulton as Gideon Vandaleur
Sean Buckley as Barman
Rondo Haxton as Gantok
Emma Campbell-Jones as Dr. Kent
Katharine Burford as Nurse
Richard Dillane as Carter
William Morgan Sheppard as Canton Delaware

Written by Steven Moffat

Produced by Marcus Wilson

Directed by Jeremy Webb

Originally shown on the 1st of October 2011


It’s time…

High Points

  • “And the wifi down here is excellent.”
  • “It would help if you didn’t keep asking questions.”
  • Amy Pond in a very sharp suit.
  • The Ponds (why isn’t it Melody Williams?) get time as a family

Low Points

  • History all happening at once seems to me just an excuse to show cool shots of steam trains entering pyramids.
  • Didn’t that all seem a little easy to you?


Originality: Two prominent tropes spring to mind here, neither of them particularly unusual. I’m sure you know which ones I’m talking about. This just wasn’t particularly new, and had a lot of hints of the end of the previous series as well. Three out of six.

Effects: This is where the effects budget went. It’s all done well, although rather over the top at times. Five out of six.

Story: Despite the unoriginality, the story is pretty interesting, even if the big reveal was a bit too easy for my taste. The main benefit of this is probably the effect it’s going to have on the next series, which could be very interesting indeed. Four out of six.

Acting: I think they all enjoyed this one. Five out of six.

Emotional Response: Variable. I got River’s pain and the Doctor’s responsibility, but the final twist didn’t seem to match up in weightiness and spoiled things a little. Five out of six.

Production: Silly, but appropriate. The Silence were handled very well initially, and the rest of that I’ll blame on the plot. Five out of six.

Overall: It was entertaining, but not mindblowing, and there’s a definite pattern forming for Doctor Who series conclusions. Five out of six.

In total, The Wedding of River Song receives thirty-two out of forty-two.

32 replies on “Doctor Who Review: The Wedding of River Song”

  1. Another one for the High Point and Emotional Response:
    “Sorry Doctor, we didn’t know how to get in touch with you. I’m afraid Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart died three months ago.”

    • Oh, yeah, I teared up.
      I can’t imagine what they will do for Sarah Jane Smith, but I’ll likely girl-out and bawl for a week!!!

      • There were vague mutterings here and there about her not getting a mention, but the new series of the Sarah Jane Adventures started this week so better to wait until after that.

        • I believe they also dedicated an episode to her earlier in the season – perhaps the Demon’s Run episode. So they’ve done something, at least. I agree that they’ll wait for SJA to end before doing it here.

          • Yes, but I’m certain they won’t let her death just hang… There will be something and it will be AMAZING!!

            (Cuz she was)

            Maybe he’ll get K-9 back? And her “son” …. wouldn’t that be a twist to have him on the show? :)

    • Yeah, that was very well played. I know my spouse didn’t recognize the meaning of it, didn’t know who he was (she’s only interested in the “New Who”), but I was really impressed – definitely hit me, and I could understand the impact for Matt’s doctor…


      • I love how it was deep, a nod to those of us who have been around forever, and just so emotionally strong and decisive. It was beautiful! :)

    • Agreed. We knew the Doctor who cheat death. The method made good use of recent show developments, but it felt like too much of a cheat.

      The vision of simultaneous time was playfully amusing, but it really made no sense. People clearly experienced time passing. This felt more like a goofy mixing of times, rather like the “Warp Zones” in DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. Or the cover painting from an old kids’ history book.

  2. “Why isn’t it melody williams” – because, IIRC, Rory took Amy’s name at the wedding. He’s technically Rory Pond now.

    • Rory never took Amy’s name. The Doctor called him Rory Pond and Rory argued for a moment and then agreed.

      But legally, he is not Rory Pond.

      • Yeah, I have a feeling it’s because Pond solely because the Doctor says so, and in the context of the Doctor and all that, really, what’s a name? In a legal sense, on Earth in the current time, we don’t actually know if she kept her name or took Rory’s. (Although, wait… When the Doctor sees Amy & Rory in Closing Time, then sees the advertisement with Amy, did it have her name on it? If so, what did it say?!)

        Anyway, Melody doesn’t exactly have a birth certificate that declares her legal name and parents or anything, so they can really call her anything! (Which, of course, gives us River Song. ;-)


    • Amy says at Demon’s Run, “Melody Williams is a geography teacher. Melody Pond is a superhero.”

  3. But on the whole I completely agree. Fun, entertaining, definitely tied up all the loose ends (well, all the ones that HAD to be tied up just then) and yet…still felt like it was too easy.

    and if he really “only got singed” – where did the regeneration energy that came pouring out of the robot come from?

    • I was wondering about the regeneration energy, also, but decided one of two things:
      1) The Teselecta might be able to create images outside the body to give the impression of regeneration energies.
      2) The Doctor changed the version seen in The Wedding of River Song. (I don’t remember seeing the regeneration effect in that version, but I’ve slept since then so I might just not be remembering it. ;-)


      • I suspected something similar.
        River’s not the only one who would research “idle gossip” so he would know how it looked the first time.

      • It was well established that the Tesellecta has a energy weapons system. I think that could be quite useful in creating some effects that look like regeneration.

  4. I imagined the spacesuit was a take that from the Silence over the Doctor’s shenanigans in (Space!) 1969 – they had to be pretty angry over that, wouldn’t you think?

    As for the rest – Hidden in plain sight, indeed. This very much sets the stage for the 50th anniversary in 2013

  5. Why they needed the space suit: without it, River would have been able to break their control. From a story perspective, it kept her in line, and provided the firepower needed to take out the Doctor. If it was a weapon that could be discarded, resistance would have been too likely. Of course, it also gives the filmmakers the means to hide the face of his killer at the start of the season/series, although she has always been my first guess. (Heck, she was my first guess when they made comments last year about the importance of the person she must have killed to get that prison sentence. Granted, I thought it was still baby River in the suit, but I was betting on River.)

  6. Boy am I glad I waited to watch the last two together. Nothing like getting home after driving for 8 hours and watching a few Doctor Whos (;

    Also she’s not Melody Williams because, as I recall, “Melody Williams sounds like an accountant” or something.

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