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River Song to return to Doctor Who

The BBC is reporting that Alex Kingston has returned to Cardiff to reclaim her role as Professor River Song for the highly anticipated 2015 Doctor Who Christmas special.

It’s Christmas Day in the future and the TARDIS is parked on a snowy village street, covered in icicles, awaiting its next adventure. Time traveler River Song meets her husband’s new incarnation, in the form of Peter Capaldi, for the first time this Christmas.

Day one of filming the eleventh Doctor Who Christmas special starts this week , reports the BBC, and it has been written by lead writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat, produced by Nikki Wilson and directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Doctor Who, Sherlock).

River Song made her first Doctor Who appearance in 2008 in Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead and has appeared in 15 episodes to date. Her name is an alias used by the third incarnation of Melody Pond, a “child of the TARDIS” and a wife of the Eleventh Doctor. She was human with Time Lord characteristics, conceived by her parents, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, aboard the TARDIS as it travelled through the Time Vortex, and then conditioned by The Silence. (A Good Man Goes to War) This gave her great strength, the ability to regenerate and a great understanding of the complex principles of time and space. (The Time of Angels, Day of the Moon, A Good Man Goes to War, The Wedding of River Song) She loved the Doctor, and shared a long-lasting relationship with him. River was one of the very few people who knows the Doctor’s true name. (Forest of the Dead, The Name of the Doctor).

Melody was stolen from her parents as an infant by Madame Kovarian to become a weapon of the Silence in their war against the Doctor. After a later regeneration, she killed the Eleventh Doctor, but then broke her mental conditioning to give her remaining regenerations to revive his corpse (Let’s Kill Hitler.)

The Doctor and her parents left her to make her own way in the universe. With no connection to her family or the Silence, River became an archaeologist, ostensibly to track the Doctor through time. She crossed the Doctor’s path on several occasions, generally with the result that she was meeting him at progressively earlier points in his own time stream. Hoping to avoid temporal paradoxes, the Doctor gave her a diary to keep track of their meetings and to prevent her from revealing “spoilers” to him about his own future.

Again forced by the Silence, she made a second attempt on the Eleventh Doctor’s life. Though actually unsuccessful, she was convicted of his murder and spent many years in Stormcage Containment Facility for it — apparently to convince the universe that the Doctor actually was dead. This confinement was made more bearable by escaping frequently to go out on dates with the Doctor. (First Night, Last Night) She was eventually pardoned, due to there being no evidence that the Doctor ever existed, and became a Professor of Archaeology (The Angels Take Manhattan.)

She died saving the Tenth Doctor, Donna Noble, Strackman Lux, and the 4,022 people saved in the computer system in the Library. The Tenth Doctor saved her consciousness digitally to the Library’s computer system CAL. (Forest of the Dead) This data echo desired a true goodbye from the Doctor, and persisted for some time. (The Name of the Doctor.)

Regarding her return, Kingston commented:  “To be honest, I did not know whether River would ever return to the show, but here she is, back with the Doctor for the Christmas special. Steven Moffat is on glittering form, giving us an episode filled with humor and surprise guest castings. I met Peter for the first time at Monday’s read-through, we had a laugh, and I am now excited and ready to start filming with him and the Doctor Who team. Christmas in September?, why not!

Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer adds, “Another Christmas, another special for Doctor Who — and what could be more special than the return of Alex Kingston as Professor River Song. The last time the Doctor saw her she was a ghost. The first time he met her, she died. So how can he be seeing her again? As ever, with the most complicated relationship in the universe, it’s a matter of time …

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