Doctor Who - The Ninth Doctor Adventures - Star-Crossed cover art crop

The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Star-Crossed – Doctor Who audio review

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In his final boxset (for now), Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor encounters River Song for a trio of Star-Crossed audio adventures. 

The formidably flirty Professor River Song has caught up with most of her husband’s faces.

Since concluding her television adventures, she’s rattled though his regenerational back-catalogue in her own audio series. She’s also hooked up with the Eighth and Tenth Doctors in their adventures too.

Doctor Who - The Ninth Doctor Adventures - Star-Crossed cover art

However, there’s one Doctor she’s failed to cross off her temporal bucket list – until now.

Swipe Right

The first tale, from writer John Dorney, brings dating dilemmas on a planet which forces its citizens to couple up. Under Crell’s Matchmaker app, users only get a limited number of swipes before they are lethally penalised for their indecision.

Separately, both the Doctor and River arrive to investigate and crash a date between the reluctant Bethany (Francesca Mills) and the desperate Julien (Tom Neenan). She ends up meeting the Doctor while he encounters River Song.

The Ninth Doctor Adventures - Star-Crossed: Swipe Right cover art

As the two time-travellers collaborate to take down the Matchmaker, writer John Dorney introduces the concept of asexuality to the story. It’s fitting as this Doctor, who famously doesn’t “do domestic,” is seemingly immune to River’s charms.

In the supporting cast, David Holt and Beth Chalmers play a sniping pair of restaurateurs. However, their banter has a darker edge as they’re obliged to report failed dates.

Face of the Apocalypse

Lizzie Hopley paints a much broader story which begins when the Doctor encounters River’s face as the key to a banking system. With the security AI obsessed with her, it has begun scooping people from across history from places she has been.

They begin to take the abducted back and become involved in the lives of Spore and Keytree. The pair are the Adam and Eve of a whole galaxy, but their fabled relationship doesn’t quite live up to the legend of love the Doctor knows…

The Doctor and River’s relationship warms up a little here as the pair endeavour to deliver a little relationship therapy while outmanoeuvring a stalker. As Spore and Keetree, Paul Reynolds and Nadia Albina entertain as a couple who have their wires crossed.


The set concludes with a haunting and romantic tale from writer Tim Foley. River needs the Doctor to save someone but refuses to say why it’s so important. Together, on the planet Fortuna, they risk a temporal maelstrom to join a desperate mission. Their ship’s captain is certain that his husband can still be saved despite being missing for more than a decade.

The Ninth Doctor Adventures - Star-Crossed: Archipelago cover art

It’s only in this third story that we see this Doctor truly accepting who River is. Trapped together, she’s able to challenge the walls he puts up and confront his Time War trauma. After dynamite scenes, they eventually connect on a new level – one of trust and companionship.

Of course, it’s apparent that we’re heading towards a form of grand memory-wiping reset – we always are with River. Here, the journey is exquisitely plotted and performed.

While there’s a strong emphasis on River and the Doctor, with both actors at the top of their game, it’s not quite a two-hander; Trevor Cooper also puts in an affecting performance as the weary Captain Thaddeus Grey.

In Summary

Christopher Eccleston surprised us all when he agreed to reprise his Doctor on audio. Across three series, plus a 60th anniversary story, he’s notched up a remarkable 37 stories – ably proving that his stripped-down incarnation of the Time Lord had so more to offer.

Paring him with Alex Kingston’s irrepressible River Song provides a terrific clash of personalities and the set cleverly takes us from first meeting to old age. Star-Crossed is bags of fun, with the highlight being the beautiful finale of ‘Archipelago’.

Christopher Eccleston is apparently bidding adieu to the Doctor again – let’s hope it’s not for too long!

Four Stars

Doctor Who – The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Star-Crossed is available now from Big Finish.