For Our Doctor Who Fans: River Song’s Timeline Explained Chronologically

The sixth series of Doctor Who has wrapped, with a wild, occasionally ridiculous, timey-wimey ride through “The Wedding of River Song.” [Warning: There’ll probably be a few spoilers in the following, if you’re not caught up with this season. Proceed with caution!]

While there appear to be mixed opinions on the overall quality of both this episode and Series 6 in general – there’s a bit of brilliance from making-of series Doctor Who Confidential that’s is a must-read for anyone attempting to make sense of this season.

One of the things that has given many fans headaches during the Steven Moffat era has been trying to untangle the crisscrossed order of River Song’s life. The whole “having a relationship backward” aspect of the Doctor and River’s relationship is appealing in an epic, star-crossed sense, but often viewers needed a TARDIS journal of their own to keep their interactions straight. 

Thankfully, Doctor Who Confidential* has put together an extremely helpful bit where Alex Kingston herself narrates River’s story in the correct order, timeline-wise. Since most Americans probably won’t see this Confidential until the S6 DVDs are released in the States next month, the lovely folks at io9 have broken her timeline down for us, with screenshots.

Of course, for the nitpickers out there, there are still some holes and/or inconsistencies: for me, I wonder how did young Melody/River get from Florida to New York, regenerate into Amy’s childhood friend Mels, and move to Leadworth, all as a 7-year old girl? (See? Headaches! Timey-wimey!) But it’s definitely worth a look, as it slots some of River’s early-life events into place. Whether or not this is a complete accounting of the curious life of River Song, though, certainly remains to be seen – so, onward to Series 7!

*The Series 6 finale also marks the end of Doctor Who Confidential, as the BBC has opted not to continue it in Series 7. This is, I think, a terrible shame. It was lovely to get a glimpse at all the actors behind the scenes, as well as hear what Moffat and his writing staff had to say about storylines. SNIFF.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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