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River Song's Timeline In 'Doctor Who'

Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey Wimey... From birth to death - and beyond!

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1. The Siege Of Trenzalore

BBC / The Time of the Doctor (2013)

On the planet Trenzalore, the Eleventh Doctor fights a 900 year war to stop the Time Lords from returning to the universe and allowing the Time War to start anew.

He is aided in this fight by the Church of the Papal Mainframe - who dedicate themselves to helping his cause.

2. The Breaking Of The Church

BBC / A Good Man Goes to War (2011)

As the centuries (and the bodies) piled up, some members of the Papal Mainframe decided that the time had come for the war to end.

A chapter of the church, headed by Madame Kovarian, broke away from the Mainframe and moved backwards along the Eleventh Doctor's time line, with a plan to stop him from ever reaching Trenzalore in the first place.

Kovarian left the battle along with several members of 'The Silence', a race who operated as a part of the church, and started formulating a plan.

3. The TARDIS Explodes

BBC / The Big Bang (2010)

The Kovarian Chapter's first attempt to stop the Doctor reaching Trenzalore was to destroy his TARDIS. The ship blows up on June 26th 2010, but the Doctor is able to overcome this when the universe gets rebooted in the Big Bang 2.0.

4. Cracks In Time

Ironically, blowing up the TARDIS creates the very cracks in time that the Time Lords are attempting to re-enter the universe through on Trenzalore. That's why you never mess with history unless you're a qualified professional. Or educationally winging it, like the Doctor.

5. The Doctor's Companions, Amy And Rory, Get Married, And Conceive A Child

BBC / The Big Bang (2010)

When the Doctor is brought back through into the rebooted universe, he arrives with the TARDIS in the middle of his companions' wedding reception.

They leave on their honeymoon that night in the time machine, and conceive a child. Exposure to the Time Vortex imbues the child with special DNA, making it half human, half Time Lord.

6. Amy Is Kidnapped

BBC / The Rebel Flesh (2011)

The Kovarian Chapter's second attempt to stop the Doctor from reaching Trenzalore involves creating the 'perfect psychopath' to kill him.

To this end, they kidnap Amy from the TARDIS during her pregnancy, planning to use her unique child against the Doctor.

7. Melody Pond Is Born

BBC / A Good Man Goes to War (2011)

Amy gives birth aboard the asteroid 'Demon's Run', where the Kovarian Chapter have made their base, and built up their army against the Doctor. She names the child 'Melody Pond'.

By the time of the birth, the Doctor has discovered the truth about Amy's whereabouts, and arrives on the station with an army of his own to capture them back.

The Doctor and his friends rise higher than ever before, taking out the entire asteroid in under four minutes, but in the confusion the real Melody Pond is stolen away and replaced with a replica.

8. Melody Is Raised By The Silence In An Orphanage On Earth

BBC / The Day of the Moon (2011)

From Demon's Run, Melody is taken to an orphanage on Earth in the 1960s, to be raised in a more natural environment.

While there, the Silence create an Apollo space suit to help to look after Melody's needs, and condition her into being the type of psychopath they need her to become.

9. Melody Is Shot

BBC / The Impossible Astronaut (2011)

As much as Melody is part Time Lord and 'the perfect weapon', she's also a scared little girl. The space suit recognises her fears, and puts her in touch with the highest authority in the land - the President of the United States.

Through this contact with Richard Nixon that Melody first encounters the Doctor, and is brought back in to contact with her mother - though for them, this is long before the events of Demon's Run.

Amy, in a moment of panic, and not realising that the spacesuit contains her future child, shoots at the figure, narrowly missing the girl.

10. Melody Regenerates

BBC / The Impossible Astronaut (2011)

Melody is able to escape the spacesuit and flee from the Silence, while the Doctor, her parents, and her future self ensure the creatures' downfall.

Six months later, on the streets of New York, Melody's body begins to die. Because of the Time Lord DNA in her system, she starts to regenerate into a new form.

11. Growing Up In Leadworth

BBC / Let's Kill Hitler (2011)

Melody's new form - in which she titles herself 'Mels' - goes unaccounted for for twenty years, before arriving in Leadworth in the 1990s.

Here, she grows up alongside her parents, helping them to realise that they're meant to be together, and she becomes the girl who inspired them to name their daughter 'Melody' in the first place.

As children, Amy tells Mels all about her 'imaginary friend' the Doctor, and all these stories help to reawaken her 'psychopath' programming...

12. Let's Kill Hitler!

BBC / Let's Kill Hitler (2011)

The conditioning of the space suit and the Silence has left a lasting impression on the girl's mind, and she's 'always' in trouble. Even after leaving school she's often running in to trouble with the police, and Amy is always on hand to bail her out.

In the summer of 2011, Mels meets the Doctor for the first time, holding him up at gunpoint and forcing him to take her - and her parents - back in time in an attempt to assassinate Hitler.

During this encounter, Melody shoots through the TARDIS' Time Rotor, causing the ship to crash land in 1930s Berlin.

13. Mels Regenerates

BBC / Let's Kill Hitler (2011)

The TARDIS crashes directly into the Führer's office, and during the ensuing struggle, Mels is shot. She surprises everyone when she begins to regenerate in to a new form.

Moments after her regeneration, she hears the name 'River Song' for the first time, when it's used to describe her new body, but doesn't yet realise its true meaning.

14. 'River' Kills the Doctor

BBC / Let's Kill Hitler (2011)

With her programming returning to her in full now face-to-face with the Doctor, 'River' proceeded to flirts with the Time Lord, and they discuss the fact that she's been designed to kill him.

During the exchange, she kisses him while wearing lipstick laced with an incurable poison. The Doctor's body goes into shutdown, leaving him less than an hour to live.

As he dies in the TARDIS, River goes on a rampage through Berlin in a mixture of post-regeneration trauma and the effect of her programming coming back full-force.

15. The Tessalecta Reveals Who 'River Song' Really Is

BBC / Let's Kill Hitler (2011)

During her rampage, Mels is captured and tortured by the Tessalecta - an alien robot from the future.

She is moved by the Doctor's compassion, as he tries to stop not only her from being hurt, but her parents, too. She also notes that he cares very deeply for the 'River Song' that keeps being mentioned.

As a shape-changer, the Tessalecta is able to show her who 'River Song' is, and she recognises her own new face staring back at her. The Tessalecta's records list her as being 'The Woman Who Kills The Doctor', but she decides that she'll change history.

16. She saves the Doctor's life

BBC / Let's Kill Hitler (2011)

Noting his compassion, and asking her mother if the Doctor is worth saving, she gives up her remaining regenerations to revive the Time Lord - who has no regenerations left to save himself.

She greets him with a simple 'hello sweetie' - a phrase that will go on to recur during their relationship.

17. River Is Taken To The Future To Recover

BBC / Let's Kill Hitler (2011)

Exhausted by the force of giving up her lives, River is taken to 'the best hospital in the universe', and left there by the Doctor in the 52nd century.

Knowing that they will go on to have many adventures out of sequence (many of which have already occurred from his point of view), he gives her a TARDIS-shaped diary to record their encounters, so that they can compare notes.

18. She Enrols In University

BBC / Let's Kill Hitler (2011)

River enrols at the Lunar University in the year 5123 studying archeology, in the hope of finding the Doctor again by tracking his adventures through time and space.

19. The Silence Return

BBC / Closing Time (2011)

On her graduation day, River is visited by Madame Kovarian and members of the Silence. They inform her that she's never escaped them, and while she may think she's escaped their psychopath programming, it's still there, ticking away.

They force her in to another space suit and take her to Utah in 2011, where the suit will enable her to carry out her orders of killing the Doctor.

20. River Kills 'The Doctor'

BBC / The Impossible Astronaut (2011)

On the shores of Lake Silencio in Utah, in April 2011, River Song succumbs to the power of the suit.

She begs the Doctor to not let it happen, but he explains that this is a fixed point in time, and that she must always kill him here and now.

21. Time Can Be Rewritten

BBC / The Wedding of River Song (2011)

But River loves the Doctor too much to kill him, and she's able to break free of the conditioning, and stop the death from happening.

Altering a fixed point in time like this causes time to splinter, with the whole of history bleeding through to happen at once, creating a universe which is permanently stuck at 5:02 PM.

River Tells The Doctor That She Loves Him

BBC / The Wedding of River Song (2011)

As time collapses around them, River Song admits that she can't kill the Doctor. Her years of studying his adventures have taught her that he's a Very Good Man, and he cannot die. She appeals to all the worlds he has saved to pay their debt and help save him, just this once.

But It's Okay - The Doctor's Got A Plan...

BBC / The Wedding of River Song (2011)

The Doctor has been preparing for this 'death' for a very long time, having found out about it when first encountering the Silence in the 1960s.

Miniaturised, and hidden away inside the Tessalecta, the Doctor *will* be on the shores of the lake in Utah, and when River Song shoots the Tessalecta, it will look to the universe as though the Doctor has been killed. Time will be reset, and the universe can continue as normal.

23. Sent To Prison For All Her Days...

BBC / The Pandorica Opens (2010)

To keep up the charade that the Doctor is truly dead, River plays along when she is sentenced to twelve thousand consecutive life sentences and imprisoned in the Stormcage facility in the 52nd century.

24. But Her Nights Are Spent Aboard The TARDIS

BBC / First Night (2011)

Starting on her very first night in prison, River Song is picked up by the Doctor and they go on adventures together. River's timeline with the Doctor gets extremely convoluted on this first night - with three versions of her from different points in the time stream all being present within a few minutes of each other, but not quite interacting.

During this time they have untold adventures, including trips to the Bone Meadows and Easter Island, meeting Jim the Fish, and learning how to properly fly the TARDIS.

At one stage, she and the Doctor have a huge argument during which he doesn't visit her for some time, spending a month living with otters instead - partly just to prove a point.

25. Winston Churchill Phones The TARDIS

BBC / The Pandorica Opens (2010)

But the call gets re-routed through to River Song in her cell in 5145. Churchill tells River of a painting he's just acquired, which seems to predict the destruction of the TARDIS.

26. River Escapes From Prison And Follows Up The Story

BBC / The Pandorica Opens (2010)

Using her Hallucinogenic Lipstick to slip past the guards, River sets off to discover the truth about the painting.

She tracks it down to the Royal Collection on Starship UK, and notices a date and map reference hidden within the painting.

Bribing a Vortex Manipulator from black-market-trader Dorium Maldovar, she follows up on the information she's found.

27. River Sets Herself Up As A Queen

BBc / The Pandorica Opens (2010)

River leaves a message for the Doctor - 'Hello Sweetie', of course, written in Old High Gallifreyan - on the oldest cliff-face in the universe, telling him where to find her, and then heads off to the date and location given in the painting.

This is 102AD, where River sets herself up in the guise of Queen Cleopatra in order to take charge of the Roman legion surrounding Stonehenge. When the Doctor arrives, she's living the life of luxury.

28. The Ultimate Prison

BBC / The Pandorica Opens (2010)

The painting has led them to the Pandorica - a legend stashed away under Stonehenge.

The legions of enemies gathered around Trenzalore have encountered the cracks in time and realised that it's the result of the TARDIS blowing up.

Believing that only the Doctor could have the power to do this, they trap him inside the Pandorica to prevent the end of the universe.

29. The TARDIS Explodes

BBC / The Pandorica Opens (2010)

(See Number 3 - we've started coming full circle...)

Before his imprisonment, the Doctor sends River to fetch the TARDIS and it transports her to 26th June 2010 - the day that it was blown up by the Kovarian Chapter.

River becomes stuck in a pocket of time, being blown up in the ship over, and over, and over...

30. The Doctor Saves River

BBC / The Big Bang (2010)

The Doctor is able to use River's Vortex Manipulator to save her from the time loop, and she assists in rebooting the Universe.

The Doctor has to sacrifice himself to kick start the Big Bang 2.0, remaining behind in the 'old' universe, while everyone else moves on in to the new one.

31. River Saves The Doctor

BBC / The Big Bang (2010)

Oh, but River's bond with the Doctor is too deep - while everyone else forgets his existence, she remembers and leaves her Diary as a gift at her mother's wedding. The book is blank while the universe reboots.

The sight of the TARDIS shape starts to reawaken memories within Amy, and because she grew up with the energy of a crack in time bleeding through in to her bedroom, she was able to 'remember' the Doctor in to existence in the new universe.

32. River Gets Engaged (Well, Sort Of...)

BBC / The Big Bang (2010)

River doesn't actually attend her parent's wedding for fear of upsetting the newly repaired timelines. Instead, she waits around for the Doctor to leave, where she collects her diary and Vortex Manipulator. As the universe continues to rebuild, all her old entries reappear in the book, though the Doctor doesn't look.

He accidentally asks her to marry him, and questions her true identity. She announces that he'll find out 'very soon' and apologises because things can never be the same again.

At this stage, the Doctor is younger than River has ever seen him before, and it causes her to start thinking about the day when she meets a Doctor who doesn't know her.

33. Further Adventures

BBC / Last Night (2011)

River returns to Stormcage, and continues having adventures with an older Eleventh Doctor at night.

Now that she's got her own Vortex Manipulator, she can also pop in and out of the prison as she pleases, heading out for her own adventures on the nights when the Doctor doesn't drop in on her.

On one occasion, she antagonises some Sontarans, and they chase her half way across the universe. Eventually, she arrives back in the TARDIS, though from the Doctor's point-of-view, it's her first night in prison, and her earlier self is looking for an outfit in the TARDIS wardrobe. He sends her back to Stormcage.

Following this?

34. River Starts To Meet Other Incarnations Of The Doctor

BBC / The Day of the Doctor

Although River's adventures have so far been only with the Eleventh Doctor (their timelines are so interwoven that he's her 'default' incarnation), her own travels by Vortex Manipulator sometimes bring her in to contact with other incarnations.

At Totter's Lane in 1963, she finds the TARDIS and hears the Doctor calling out for his granddaughter* (a conversation she is not ready to have just yet!), and she builds up a collection of all his faces in her diary. The Eleventh Doctor warns River off interacting too much with versions of the Doctor before him, but...

She ambushes the Tenth Doctor with a hamper at Asgard**, and he knows of her. She then shares a few other adventures with this incarnation during his 'farewell tour' to the universe before he heads to the Ood Sphere to face his death.

*Ref: The Eternity Clock.

**Ref: Steven Moffat's Production Notes in Doctor Who Magazine.

35. River Tells The Doctor Who She Really Is

BBC / A Good Man Goes to War (2011)

Spending so much time with younger versions of the Doctor prompts River into finally confronting one of her biggest fears - telling the Doctor who she really is.

She purposely avoids getting involved with the events of the battle at Demon's Run, knowing that the Doctor must lose baby Melody to preserve the time lines. She also reveals her true identity to her parents at this time, and is responsible for distributing all of the Doctor's friends back to their rightful places in time and space, using her Vortex Manipulator.

36. Invitation To The Doctor's Death

BBC / The Impossible Astronaut (2011)

While continuing to share the occasional adventure with the older Eleventh Doctor, River sees less of her 'husband' than ever before. Eventually, she receives an invitation to meet him in Utah, and she knows that he's heading off to face his death.

She uses the Vortex Manipulator to meet with him and her parents.

37. She Watches Herself Kill The Man She Loves

BBC / The Impossible Astronaut (2011)

River has to pretend she doesn't know what's happening on the shores of Lake Silencio, as her younger self 'kills' the Doctor.

Because of the point in time that Amy, Rory, and later a younger version of the Doctor have come from, River has to pretend that she's just watched the Doctor die, and that she don't know he escaped his death.

38. She Also Has To Keep Quiet About A Lot Of Other Stuff...

BBC / The Impossible Astronaut (2011)

To protect the web of time, River has to pretend she doesn't know what's happening during the course of this adventure, and can't tell her companions that the scared little girl in the spacesuit was actually her.

39. The Doctor's First Kiss

BBC / Day of the Moon (2011)

Upon return to Stormcage, River kisses the Doctor goodbye. She is surprised to learn that this is - from his perspective - their *first* kiss.

Though they don't move strictly in opposite directions, she knows that the time is fast approaching when she'll meet and interact with a version of the Doctor who doesn't know her.

40. The Adventures Continue


River continues to have her own adventures via Vortex Manipulator, and to hook up with an older version of the Eleventh Doctor. At this stage, he's avoiding Amy and Rory, because he needs them to think that he's dead.

During this time, he takes her to a Winter Frost Fair on the Thames for her birthday. Upon her return to Stormcage, she is met by Rory, who's recruiting the Doctor's army to head into battle at Demon's Run. River says that she can't be there until the very end...

41. Hunting A Weeping Angel

BBC / The Time of Angels (2010)

With her expertise in archeology, River is occasionally sent on missions with the full co-operation of Stormcage, who send someone to keep an eye on her.

On one particular mission, she's sent to investigate a Weeping Angel aboard a star liner, and has to call in the Doctor for his expertise.

42. It's Still Early Days For The Eleventh Doctor

BBC / Flesh and Stone (2010)

This is the youngest that River has ever seen this particular incarnation, and while she's still fearful of the day when they'll have their 'first' meeting, she enjoys teasing him about the future.

43. River Reveals The Doctor's True Fate To Her Parents

BBC / The Wedding of River Song (2011)

Immediately after the Weeping Angel incident, River uses her Vortex Manipulator to pop in on her parents. She jokes about how fun it can be interacting with a younger version of Amy who doesn't know her true identity.

She explains to them that the Doctor isn't really dead, and describes how he managed to fake his death.

44. River Is Pardoned

BBC / The Inforarium (2013)

As part of his 'death', the Doctor travels around the universe, removing himself from every database, and erasing any evidence of his very existence.

Because there's no longer any record of the man she 'killed', River is released from Stormcage.

45. River Continues Her Studies

BBC / Closing Time (2011)

During their adventure with the Weeping Angels, the Doctor let slip that River would become a professor at some stage. Knowing how important it would be to ensure this happened, she returned to the Lunar University and continued her studies - specialising in the study of Weeping Angels, as a little joke to the reason she was there.

46. Melody Malone

BBC / The Angels Take Manhattan (2012)

Noticing the high level of paradoxes in New York, 1938, River slips in using the Vortex Manipulator, and sets up the 'Angel Detective Agency' under the alias 'Melody Malone', where she comes in to contact with the Weeping Angels.

Having investigated them for some time, River comes face to face with her father, who has been captured by an angel and transported back in time. This then leads her to an adventure with the oldest Eleventh Doctor that she's yet encountered - and she quickly realises that this is her parent's final trip in the TARDIS.

47. River Breaks Her Wrist

BBC / The Angels Take Manhattan (2012)

When the Doctor realises that this is the end for his adventures with Amy and Rory, he desperately tries to prove that time can be changed to avoid it. He knows that River is supposed to break her wrist trying to escape the grip of an Angel, and orders her to find another way.

On this occasion, she is unable to alter events, and the Doctor gives up some of his remaining life force to heal her wound. Knowing that he's nearing the end of his final life, River is furious that he would 'waste' this energy on her.

49. River writes up her adventure in Manhattan

BBC / The Angels Take Manhattan (2012)

Because the events in New York were set in stone through a book the Doctor was reading, River has to write up the entire adventure, and send it to Amy in New York to get published.

The Doctor asks her to travel with him, but she explains 'one psychopath per TARDIS' is more than enough. She agrees to travel 'wherever' and 'whenever' he wants, but only for the occasional trips that they've become so used to.

50. The Doctor's Visits Become Less And Less Frequent

BBC / Rain Gods (2013)

Initially, the Doctor throws himself in to adventures with River, arriving every couple of nights to whisk her off somewhere fantastic. There's one place that River is desperate to visit, though - the Singing Towers of Darillium. The Doctor promises to take her one day, but doesn't reveal that he knows it will be their final adventure together before she heads off to her death.

His visits start to become less and less frequent as he puts off the trip. Eventually, he arrives on River's doorstep with a new haircut and a snazzy new purple outfit, and whisks her off for several adventures in a row. That night, he finally concedes to take her to Darillium.

51. Full Circle

BBC / Last Night (2011)

On the way to the Towers, the Doctor and River stop off on Calderon Beta - the place they visited on her first night in prison. During this trip, River accidentally walks in to the wrong TARDIS, where two of her earlier selves are already.

The Doctor comes face to face with his younger self, and they share a moment as they reflect on the enormity of the night - for both of them.

At the Towers, the Doctor presents River with a modified version of his old sonic screwdriver, and he cries as he says goodbye at the end of the night. The Doctor retires from his life saving the universe, and lives on a cloud above Victorian England, having lost those closest to him.

52. Several Months Later, River Song Is Hired To Lead An Expedition To The Library

BBC / Silence in the Library (2008)

She sends a message to the Psychic Paper asking the Doctor to come and help - by this point in their relationship, it's her standard way of getting in touch.

53. The Day That River Has Always Dreaded

BBC / Silence in the Library (2008)

When she arrives, though, it's the Tenth Doctor she meets, and she's never seen him looking as young as he does here. As she tries to compare notes with the Time Lord, she becomes very aware that he doesn't know who she is.

Eventually, to win his trust, she has to reveal to him that she knows his true name - and he knows how important this must make her to his future self.

54. River Sacrifices Herself

BBC / Forest of the Dead (2008)

The Doctor is willing to give his life to free Donna Noble and four thousand other souls, trapped in the Library's main frame. To stop him doing this, River knocks the Doctor out and handcuffs him out of the way, giving her own life in his place.

She's already shared all those wonderful adventures with the Doctor, but those days are all still to come for him.

55. The Afterlife

BBC / Forest of the Dead (2008)

The Doctor realises that if River is someone he cares for so much, and he's had all these years to think about her death, then he'd have found a way around it.

Inside River's Sonic Screwdriver, he finds the data core from her spacesuit - and used it to upload her to the Library's computer. Her consciousness is placed inside a fictional world, where she can live on with her friends in a 'perfect' life.

56. Keeping Tabs On The Doctor

BBC / The Name of the Doctor (2013)

The Doctor never returns to visit River in the Library - the older Eleventh Doctor finding the thought too painful, while the younger Tenth Doctor has yet to learn why she's so important to him.

But River is an expert at breaking out of prison, and that's what the Mainframe is. Being a form of dram world, she is able to make contact with Madame Vastra on the Astral Plane, and often meets with her for 'Psychic Conferences'.

Vastra cares for the Doctor during his 'retirement' and depression following the departure of Amy, Rory, and River, and it's Vastra's worry about the Doctor that allows River to make contact. Through her repeated journeys on the Asteral Plane, River is eventually able to make contact with the Doctor, but while she can see and speak to him, she believes that he cannot hear her.

57. River's Final Farewell

BBC / The Name of the Doctor (2013)

During one of the Psychic Conferences, River meets Clara Oswald for the first time, and acts as her guide when the girl travels with the Doctor to his tomb on Trenzalore.

After Clara jumps in to the Doctor's Time Stream to save his life, River urges her husband to not follow, because the forces could be devastating. During this exchange he reveals that he can always hear her when she speaks to him, but that he never responds because he thought it would be too painful - and he was right

They share a final goodbye, and River's presence leaves the Doctor's mind, but not before she sets up one final mystery for him...

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