|Main aliases:||Melody Pond, Melody Malone|
|Species:||Human, Time Lord|
|Affiliated with:||Luna University, Felman Lux Corporation, The Silence|
|Place of origin:||Demon's Run|
|Grandparents:||Tabetha Pond, Augustus Pond, Brian Williams (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship), Rory's mother|
|Mothers:||Amy Pond, the Doctor's TARDIS|
|First seen in:||Silence in the Library|
|Main actor:||Alex Kingston|
|Other TV actors:||Harrison and Madison Mortimer, Sydney Wade, Maya Glace-Green, Nina Toussaint-White|
|Another memorable moment|
|One more memorable moment|
|Behind the scenes video|
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 her second regeneration, she killed the Eleventh Doctor, but then broke her mental conditioning to give her remaining regenerations to revive his corpse. (TV: 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. (TV: 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. (TV: 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. (TV: Forest of the Dead) This data echo desired a true goodbye from the Doctor, and persisted for some time. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
Conception and gestation
Melody was conceived on or soon after her parents' wedding night, aboard the Doctor's TARDIS while transiting the Time Vortex. Melody's mother, Amy Pond was kidnapped during or shortly after her honeymoon and replaced with a living flesh doppelgänger. The ganger functioned as an avatar through which Amy perceived existence as if she was present in place of the Ganger. In reality, Amy was taken to a church marine base on the Demons Run asteroid in the 52nd century to gestate Melody. Through some combination of the circumstances of her conception in the vortex, plus interference by the Silence, Melody developed Time Lord characteristics (TV: A Good Man Goes to War) including regeneration. (TV: Day of the Moon, Let's Kill Hitler)
Melody was birthed at Demon's Run. Despite her parents being married, Melody's mother Amy insisted using her maiden surname, Pond, for Melody. Amy opined that "Melody Williams" was a name of a geography teacher, whereas "Melody Pond" evoked a superhero. Amy told the infant Melody that she would never be alone, that her father was coming for them and not even an army could stop him. The centuries old Last Centurion would never let them down. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
Within a month, Melody was replaced with a ganger and taken by Madame Kovarian to the 20th century to be reared to kill the Doctor. (TV: Day of the Moon, The Almost People, A Good Man Goes to War) She was chosen for this task because of her conception in the Time Vortex. This gave her the potential for great strength and regeneration, to pilot the TARDIS and understand complex principles of time and space. (TV: The Time of Angels, Day of the Moon, A Good Man Goes to War, The Wedding of River Song)
It was through her ganger avatar that Melody first met her father and the Eleventh Doctor. Melody's connection to her ganger was severed, and her ganger thus liquefied, while her father and others fought to save her from the Headless Monks. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
A little girl lost
Melody was kidnapped and trained by the Silence to kill the Doctor; she later claimed this part of her life was "a bit of a jumble" to remember due to their memory-erasing powers. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler)
As a little girl, she ended up in an orphanage in 1969 Florida, under heavy security. (TV: Day of the Moon) Melody was forced into an Apollo astronaut suit that the Silence upgraded with alien technology. The suit could move autonomously and would insert Melody into itself both for control and to provide sustenance. The suit's artificial intelligence and communication faculties automatically put the frightened Melody in contact with the highest authority it could find: President Richard Nixon, at whatever telephone was closest to him at a given moment. Melody repeatedly rang Nixon, asking for help and describing the "spaceman" (the suit) going to "eat" her (autonomously place her within itself), but not knowing what help she needed or where precisely she was. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon; WC: Prequel (The Impossible Astronaut))
These telephone calls led to her first physical meeting with the Eleventh Doctor, and the earliest contact with him which she would presumably remember. From his and her parents' perspective, however, they had yet to meet via her infant Flesh ganger on Demon's Run. She approached the Doctor whilst in the space suit, prompting her mother to shoot at her in fear of the Doctor's impending death; the suit's visor was damaged, but Melody was unharmed. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon)
She returned to Graystark three months later, to discover her mother in her room. Melody begged her for help, but Amy was confused because of a picture of herself with Melody as an infant. With the arrival of the Silence, Melody forced her way out of the suit and fled; she lingered long enough to see the Doctor once more. (TV: Day of the Moon)
During the next six months, she made her way to New York City. She developed a terminal illness but knew she could "fix it" by regenerating. She was in an alley when she finally succumbed to her ailment in January 1970, and regenerated. (TV: Day of the Moon, Let's Kill Hitler)
By the 1990s, she was a child in Leadworth, still using the name Melody, going by Mels for short. Melody's regeneration into Mels left her a toddler in the middle of New York. Mels grew up a close childhood friend of her parents, who had no idea she was their daughter. She was often in trouble, with outbursts of reckless criminal behaviour into her adolescence. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler)
Mels attended Leadworth Primary School with her parents. During Year Three, she was the only person Veronica Stackmore was afraid of. One year, after Veronica stole Amelia's Raggedy Doctor doll, Mels dressed up in a mask and proclaimed herself "the Sheep of Doom." She successfully scared Veronica into giving Amelia her doll back, but not before beheading it. Mels assured her mother that the doll could be repaired with some tape. When Amelia asked why adults did not believe the things Veronica did, Mels said she felt adults were dumb and that she might stay a kid forever. When Krampus and his goblins invaded Leadworth, the goblins told Mels they had heard "many stories" about her and then tried to attack her, but instead she used her super human strength to attack them. Afterward, Krampus trapped Mels, along with her parents, by wrapping them in Christmas wrapping. When Veronica denied Krampus, he and his goblins vanished, leaving only Mels with memories of the incident. After the school nativity play in which her parents played Mary and Joseph, Mels presented her mother with her repaired Raggedy Doctor doll and agreed with her grandfather that Amelia and Rory made a "lovely couple." (COMIC: Imaginary Enemies)
Mels held the school record for confiscated property. She once had Amy and Rory cause a distraction so she could sneak her confiscated items out of the teachers' supply closet and then escaped over the roof and through the window of the teachers' loo. (PROSE: Nothing O'Clock)
Ironically, Amy largely reared Mels without knowing she was doing so. Amelia would wait for Mels outside of the headmistress' office and lecture her after these incidents much in the way a mother customarily would. Mels was obsessed over Amelia's "Raggedy Doctor", dreamt of marrying him and claimed in school that historical disasters were his fault because he did not intervene; all of these negative views of the Doctor came from her conditioning by the Silence. All the while, she knew Amy and Rory were her parents and that she intended to kill the Doctor. Mels was also involved in stealing cars and buses. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler)
Mels eventually helped Amy see that Rory loved her after she spent an entire decade thinking he was gay; she thus ensured her own existence. By missing her best mates'/parents' wedding on 26 June 2010, explaining later, "I don't do weddings", Mels delayed her first meeting with the Doctor by more than a year while also avoiding interaction with a future version of herself. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler, The Big Bang)
Becoming River Song
Autumn 2011, Melody stole a car (again) and followed her parents to the cornfield, where the Doctor had arrived, having got their "message". Introducing herself, Melody held the Doctor at gunpoint to get away from the police. Demanding to be taken to kill Hitler, Melody shot the TARDIS, causing it to crash into Hitler's office in 1938, inadvertently saving him from the Teselecta. She was then accidentally hit by a stray bullet Hitler fired at the Teselecta, forcing her to regenerate; her new form was recognised as River Song by the Doctor and her parents. As programmed, River killed the Doctor, using a lipstick containing an incurable poison. Cheerily calling herself a psychopath, Melody ran amok in Berlin, stealing clothes from patrons at a posh restaurant.
The Teselecta (which had taken her parents on board) decided to punish her next, but the Doctor stopped them from harming her. When her parents were in danger of being killed by its antibodies, Melody was surprised to see the Doctor ignore his pain for the sake of saving them. She also became jealous of the "River Song" he kept mentioning, demanding to know who she was. However, the Doctor had her pilot the TARDIS (which taught her how) to save Amy and Rory. Melody then agreed to give a message to River Song from the dying Doctor, and he whispered it in her ear. Asking who River was, Amy had the Teselecta turn into Melody's new incarnation. Melody realised that she was the person the Doctor kept calling for help. Amy asked Melody what the Doctor whispered in her ear. Instead of answering that question, Melody asked her parents if the Doctor was "worth it." Upon being told "yes," Melody reawakened the Doctor and kissed him, using all her remaining regenerations to bring him back to life. She passed out in the process.
The Doctor took River to the "best hospital in the universe" to recover. Knowing of her future as an on-and-off companion, he left a TARDIS-shaped diary as a gift, hoping to avoid "spoilers", foreknowledge that might wreck the universe. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler) After recuperating, River found the clothes her parents left for her; she believed Amy bought them as there were too many short skirts. (GAME: The Eternity Clock)
Hoping to find the Doctor once again, River entered the Luna University in 5123. When asked why she wished to study archaeology, River said she was "looking for a good man". Her studies would lead to her knowing some of the Doctor's locations in the past. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler)
- However, any kind of recorded mention of him would later be erased by the Doctor himself, leading to a paradox. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
Adventures with the Doctor
22 April 2011
The day River received her doctorate, Kovarian appeared with agents of the Church and the Silence. They seized her, forced her into a modified astronaut suit, took her to Utah on 22 April 2011 and submerged her in Lake Silencio to await the Doctor. (TV: Closing Time)
When the time came to kill him, River drained her weapon pack to defy a fixed point in time. Time shredded into a reality where all history happened at once. She initially refused to rectify her error. River confessed to Kovarian that she had fallen in love with the Doctor. She also confessed this to the Doctor himself. At the top of the Great Pyramid with the Doctor, Amy and Rory, River said to the Doctor that she could not let him die and it would be her who would suffer the most if she killed him. After marrying the Doctor and sharing a kiss, she went through with his apparent murder to restore the timeline, knowing he was really safe inside the Teselecta. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)
River was sentenced to twelve thousand consecutive life sentences in the Stormcage Containment Facility in the 52nd century for the Doctor's murder. (TV: The Time of Angels, The Pandorica Opens) She served the sentence to make the Silence believe him dead, but often escaped to spend time with her husband, then returned to her cell. They started on her very first night in the prison, when he paid a visit to bring her to Calderon Beta and explained her the purpose of their diaries. (TV: First Night) River would also escape from Stormcage on her own using her Vortex manipulator. During one such adventure, five years after her imprisonment, she encountered several Sontarans who shot at and chased her halfway across the galaxy after she asked them if they were on a "hen night." She escaped into the TARDIS where the Doctor returned her to Stormcage via her vortex manipulator to prevent her from interacting with her past self and her future self. (TV: Last Night)
Return to the Battle of Demon's Run
Minutes after Kovarian had fled with her first incarnation at the end of the Battle of Demon's Run, River appeared, announcing her presence with a prompt, "Well soldier, how goes the day?" and revealed her identity, first to the Doctor and then to her parents. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
On one birthday, the Doctor took her to the last Winter Frost Fair on the River Thames in 1814. Stevie Wonder performed, not knowing where and when he had truly been brought, before being restored to his proper time. Back at Stormcage, River met Rory in his Roman garb. She refused to come aid them at Demon's Run, saying she couldn't be there "until the very end". (TV: A Good Man Goes to War) The River who spoke with Rory is an older River than the one who showed up at "the very end", as the Battle of Demon's Run and her appearance in it is already in her diary when she speaks to Rory.
Silence in America
On receiving an invitation from the Doctor, River escaped from Stormcage to meet Amy, Rory and him in Utah in America on 22 April 2011. The Doctor, inside a Teselecta double of himself, took them on a picnic where the Teselecta was shot by River's younger self. Amy, Rory and River went to a cafe to find a version of the Eleventh Doctor two hundred years younger than the one inside the Teselecta. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut, The Wedding of River Song)
River secretly revisited her childhood when she accompanied her parents, the Eleventh Doctor, and Canton Delaware to Florida on 8 April 1969 to find the little girl who kept ringing Richard Nixon. Adhering to the Doctor's rule against "spoilers" which could collapse time, she feigned ignorance of her childhood self's identity. The only information she gave the Doctor about her old spacesuit was that which she could have reasonably determined by her inspection of it and she offered Amy and Canton no forewarning about what they would find in her old orphanage. Any knowledge she may have retained about the Silence she kept to herself. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut)
River, Amy, Rory, Canton, and the Doctor split up to investigate the Silence over the next three months. By July, River was in New York City. She showed her reliance upon and faith in the Doctor and his TARDIS being in the right place and time to rescue her as she dove backwards out of the 50th floor of a building and into the TARDIS' swimming pool. She helped the Doctor defeat the Silence by using their brainwashing of humanity against them, while making sure she did not meet her first incarnation. River killed all of the Silence who were holding her mother hostage. At her request, the Doctor returned her to Stormcage, where she kissed him. He was shocked and she realised that from his perspective, it was their first kiss. (TV: Day of the Moon)
The opening of the Pandorica
In 5145, the TARDIS rerouted a phone call for the Doctor from Winston Churchill to River. She escaped to warn the Doctor of a prophecy of the TARDIS exploding. She blackmailed a Time Agent's vortex manipulator off Dorium Maldovar and stole a painting from Liz Ten showing the TARDIS exploding and space-time coordinates. She graffitied a diamond cliff at the dawn of time with the co-ordinates, then travelled to England in 102 AD to meet the Eleventh Doctor and Amy. The Pandorica lay under Stonehenge, transmitting a signal to summon an alliance of the Doctor's enemies. The Doctor got them to back off and sent River to fetch the TARDIS. Instead, it took her to Amy's house on 26 June 2010. When River told him the date, the Doctor realised the TARDIS was about to explode and told her to escape. (TV: The Pandorica Opens) Unable to leave, she was trapped in a time loop of the first moments of the explosion. (TV: The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang) The Doctor rescued her in 1996, told her his plan to use the Pandorica's restoration field to reverse the Total Event Collapse of the universe and was shot by a stone Dalek. River told the Dalek to look in its data banks for her, taunted it into begging for mercy, then killed it.
After the Doctor had restored the universe by erasing himself, River left her now blank diary at her parents' wedding so Amy could remember him back into existence. After a brief conversation about her marital status and identity, River told the Doctor he was "going to find out very soon now and I'm sorry, because that's when everything changes", and left him wondering. (TV: The Big Bang)
Temporal Anomalies and the Eternity Clock
In 5145, River escaped from her cell in the Stormcage Containment Facility using her hallucinogenic lipstick, after receiving a phone call saying that the Doctor needed her help. She located her vortex manipulator and used it to travel to London in 2012 where she rescued her stranded husband.
She helped the Doctor fight off Cybermen, Daleks, Silents, and Silurians in different eras of London; each had a piece of the fabeled Eternity Clock to fuel their plans against humanity. She and the Doctor collected the pieces and brought them back to the TARDIS, which was at the heart of a temporal storm being caused by the Eternity Clock pieces trying to pull themselves together.
River discovered, much to her shock, that there was an entry about the clock in her diary that she hadn't written; the Doctor explained that it was due to the temporal anomalies the clock was causing to time. No sooner had this been explained, the clock began tracking all fixed points in time and began attempting to rewrite them. Adding to the insanity, the TARDIS was towed away with them inside for the ride. (GAME: The Eternity Clock)
The Crash of the Byzantium
River was put in Father Octavian's custody in the 51st century for a mission to try to earn her pardon. She infiltrated the Galaxy class Byzantium to find its Home Box, into which she carved "Hello Sweetie" in Old High Gallifreyan and her temporal coordinates. This attracted the Doctor's attention twelve thousand years later, leading Amy (who at this point in time had not met River before) and the Doctor to her and Alfava Metraxis. (TV: The Time of Angels) They defeated an army of Weeping Angels who had awakened in the planet's Maze of the Dead. She hinted they would meet again by the opening of the Pandorica. (TV: Flesh and Stone)
A pardoned woman
River was later pardoned and released from the Stormcage Containment Facility after it was discovered that there was no evidence of the man she had murdered having ever existed. This was due to the Doctor erasing himself from all databases as part of his return to the shadows. As a result of this, she returned to Archaeology and became a professor. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
River arrived in 1938 New York City via her vortex manipulator (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan) and set up the Angel Detective Agency where she was the sole employee, investigating the Weeping Angels' invasion of New York. During this time she went by the alias "Melody Malone." She was there for at least a month before a man named Rock Railton hired her to investigate what he feared to be a murder plot against him involving "the kiss of an angel." The following day, while attending a Starlight Studios party, she encountered an old man claiming to be Rock Railton, but believed him to a bum. When she encountered the man she recognised as Rock, he had no memory of their meeting in her office the previous day.
After dealing with two thugs that were hired to kill her, River returned to her office only to receive a call from head of Starlight Studios, Max Kliener. She agreed to meet him at his studio the next afternoon, where she was reintroduced to Rock, who claimed to remember their prior meeting. However, River knew he was lying when she asked about giving him coffee and he pretended to remember this although it never happened. She also noted that Giddy Semestre, Rock's co-star, also did not remember meeting her the day before at the party.
Max then led River down a block from the main studio and revealed to her a room full of giant bell jars filled with what appeared to be clones of Rock Railton, Giddy Semestre, and of Max's bodyguard, Hank Sissy. Max explained that they were not clones so much as everyday people who had had their flesh redistributed in their bodies to make them look identical to their template bodies. To do this, he had used "the kiss of an angel." The duplicates did not live very long, however, and were in fact growing old and dying out faster and faster because the Weeping Angel he was using to create his duplicates was growing stronger and therefore absorbing more and more of the victims' energy. Max planned to transform River into a copy of Giddy Semestre, but River kissed him using her hallucinogenic lipstick and managed to escape by killing the Hank copies and pushing Max into the arms of his Weeping Angel, who kissed him and turned him to dust.
As River was reversing the process to turn the other transformed victims back into themselves and escort them to safety, she was unaware that the Weeping Angel was being stolen from behind the curtain it was sitting behind via an escape hole that had been cut into the wall. She returned in time to see a van speeding off, presumably with the Angel inside. (PROSE: The Angel's Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery)
After River's run-in with Max Kliener and his Angel, River met her husband in Manhattan, along with her parents. Rory was sent back in time to 1938 New York City by one of the Angels and met River. Amy and the Doctor had difficulty following him since all the time energy the Angels had consumed made time travel difficult. With the help of a Chinese vase as "landing lights", they managed to get through but found River trapped in the grip of one of the Angels; she had to break her wrist to escape and the Doctor used up some of his regeneration energy to fix it. Rory was locked in a cellar with a group of baby Weeping Angels but instead of sending him back in time, they just sent him to Winter Quay. When River, Amy and the Doctor found Rory, they also found an older version of him, dying in a bed. After that they heard loud thumps, made by the Statue of Liberty, which had become a Weeping Angel.
With the Angels closing in, River, her husband and her parents were forced to flee towards the roof and got separated on the way up. The Statue of Liberty was waiting for them and Rory and Amy decided to sacrifice themselves to create a paradox which would poison the Angels food source and kill them. River and the Doctor watched in horror as Amy and Rory threw themselves off the roof, and the paradox killed all the Angels except one, who somehow managed to survive.
The group found themselves in a graveyard that had a gravestone with Rory's name on it. As they were preparing to leave, a surviving Weeping Angel ambushed them and sent Rory back in time. Because of the paradox, and all the poisoned time energy, the Doctor couldn't take the TARDIS to find him. Amy decided to allow the Angel to touch her so that she could be with Rory. After a tearful goodbye to River and the Doctor, Amy turned away from the Angel and allowed it to touch her so that she could live with Rory for the rest of her life.
The devastated Doctor asked River to travel with him. River said she would go with him anywhere, but "not all the time", as there was "only room for one psychopath" on the TARDIS. Under the name "Melody Malone", River went upstairs to write the book that led the Doctor to 1930s New York and said that she would get Amy to write the afterword when she sent it to her for publishing, in hopes that the Doctor would listen to Amy. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
A Night in Darillium
The Doctor took River to Darillium to see the Singing Towers. Along the way, she met an earlier version of the Doctor and just missed two earlier versions of herself; apparently, the Doctor had been "promising for ages". (TV: Last Night) She later said he had wept as he said goodbye. He knew, although she did not, that her death was imminent. He gave her an upgraded version of his sonic screwdriver. (TV: Forest of the Dead)
In the 51st century, River was hired by Strackman Lux for an expedition to the Library to learn what had happened there a hundred years earlier. A cryptic message had been sent: "4022 saved. No survivors." Expecting trouble, she contacted the Doctor by psychic paper. The version of the Doctor who turned up, then in his tenth incarnation, had not yet met her. Bewildered, he agreed to help River's team.
River still had her battered diary of her life with the Doctor. She tried to use it to find the Doctor's place in his timeline, but realised he was a far younger version who neither knew nor trusted her. (TV: Silence in the Library)
As the threat of the Vashta Nerada worsened, River knew she must prove she was someone he would come to trust completely. With profuse apologies, she whispered his true name into his ear. The Doctor was stunned and River had won his trust.
Time was running out. The Doctor was about to sacrifice himself to rescue Donna and more than four thousand others trapped in the Library datacore. River knocked him out, handcuffed him and took his place. She pleaded with him to not change their history, not a moment of what had or would come for them. She said he had always known this was coming. The Doctor began to babble questions. River smiled, said, "Spoilers" and was killed as the countdown reached zero. (TV: Forest of the Dead)
The Doctor reasoned his future self had given River his sonic screwdriver for a purpose. Inside it was a neural relay holding her data ghost. The Doctor saved River by uploading her into the virtual world in the Library's data core, CAL. CAL had also saved the data ghosts of her archaeological team, giving her company in the virtual world. River would take care of Donna's two virtual children and Charlotte (the girl wired into the mainframe) in the virtual world, reading out her diary of her many adventures with the Doctor and how sometimes "everybody lives" when the Doctor comes to call. (TV: Forest of the Dead)
As an echo
After River's death, she, Vastra, Jenny, Strax and Clara were brought into a dream-induced "conference call". There, she learnt that the murderer Clarence DeMarco revealed to Vastra the co-ordinates of the Doctor's tomb. The Great Intelligence, having kidnapped Vastra, Jenny and Strax, then told Clara to take the Doctor to Trenzalore, the place of the Doctor's death, if the others wished to be saved. River kept in contact with Clara through keeping the link open, though only Clara was able to see her.
When Clara and the Doctor arrived at a gravestone bearing River's name in Trenzalore, Clara again saw the echo of River, which guided her. She also explained to Clara about her death and what the Doctor did for her, and later saved the Doctor's friends by giving in to the Great Intelligence's demands and opening the Doctor's tomb by saying his name.
After Clara entered the Doctor's time stream, River tried to stop him from following her, even though she believed that he could not see her. When she went to slap him however, the Doctor caught her hand and explained that he was able to see her all along, and they shared a kiss. River requested that the Doctor say goodbye to her but he didn't know how, so she said the only goodbye she would accept was one where he would see her later. Right after he granted her request, she revealed that she was mentally linked to Clara, and would not still exist if Clara had died. When he asked how, she said, "Spoilers!" and her last words to him in this encounter were, "Goodbye Sweetie." River's incorporeal form faded away, leaving the Doctor to realise that River had only made herself visible to him. To the Paternoster Gang, and his embarrassment, he had appeared to passionately kiss thin air. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
In an alternate timeline, River gained control of her suit's weapon system and did not kill the Doctor at Lake Silencio. A fixed point in time — his death — was ripped open; all time collapsed into a single moment, 22 April 2011 at 5:02:57 pm. In this crumbling timeline, she belonged to a group seeking to fix time and yet not end his life. They were led by Amy Pond, who also remembered the original world from her exposure to the cracks in time. River built a timey-wimey distress beacon to ask the universe's help for the Doctor, to which much of the universe answered with a resounding, "Yes!" River confessed to the Doctor her love for him, and also told him that she will suffer greatly if she kills him. She was wed to the Doctor and he revealed he was inside the Teselecta. They kissed and River killed "the Doctor" to restore the timeline. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)
Undated/unchronicled adventures with the Doctor
- River claimed to have pictures of all the Doctor's faces. (TV: The Time of Angels)
- The Doctor and River had a picnic at Asgard. (TV: Silence in the Library)
- The Doctor and River shared an adventure in the Bone Meadows. (TV: The Time of Angels)
- The Eleventh Doctor and River visited Easter Island. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut)
- The Eleventh Doctor and River met "Jim the Fish". (TV: The Impossible Astronaut)
- The Eleventh Doctor took River and Jim the Fish out for karaoke in the 48th century. (GAME: The Eternity Clock)
- River attended a party with the Eleventh Doctor and helped him search pet shops for a Queen of England who had become a goldfish. (TV: Bad Night)
- River and the Eleventh Doctor had an adventure involving a euphonium, a biplane and someone named Marilyn. (TV: Good Night)
- The Eleventh Doctor and River had a misadventure on the Planet of the Rain Gods. (HOMEVID: Rain Gods)
- River's diary showed she had met the First Doctor at 76 Totter's Lane. When she heard Susan Foreman's voice calling, "Grandfather?" she wrote, "My hand leapt to the [vortex] manipulator and I got out of there in a shot. That is a conversation I am not ready for yet!" (GAME: The Eternity Clock)
- River met the first ten incarnations that went by "the Doctor", but erased his memories of her with mnemosine recall-wipe vapour to avoid corrupting his timeline. Her opinions on the Doctors were varied:
- First Doctor - She considered this incarnation to be boring, because he spent his time hanging out with teachers.
- Second Doctor - This was the incarnation that she held the most animosity toward, after he offered her "this cool place on Telos". She angrily wrote, "I saw right through that (and I hope he chokes on that recorder.)"
- Third Doctor - This was one of her favourite incarnations, with her remarking they had "a lot to talk about".
- Fourth Doctor - She discovered that he held a passion for scarves, having a whole room of the TARDIS dedicated to his collection.
- Fifth Doctor - She noticed his obsession with the Eye of Orion, which she was misled to believe was a nightclub.
- Sixth Doctor - She did not like this incarnation as much, considering his abrasive personality and appearance to be like a clown put through a woodchipper.
- Seventh Doctor - She found him "surpisingly Scottish".
- Eighth Doctor - River loved the very elegant and cultured style of the TARDIS console room that he used.
- Ninth Doctor - She accidentally set him off after mentioning the Time War and learned very quickly it was a bad idea to discuss it at all. (GAME: The Eternity Clock)
Other undated/unchronicled events
- River and Kate Stewart were photographed together. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
- River once encountered Zygons and taunted them by saying, "What's up, suckers?" (GAME: The Eternity Clock)
In her first incarnation as the 'little girl', Melody was shy, innocent and terrified of the "monsters" who had trapped her in the spacesuit. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut) A later incarnation, 'Mels', was saucy, often in trouble and chased by police just before her regeneration. She resented the Doctor and blamed him for historical disasters, but wanted to marry him. She was quite reckless and daring, stealing vehicles to go on joyrides. Along with her rebellious behaviour, she had a dangerous curiosity that led her to fire off a gun in the Doctor's TARDIS to test out if it had a temporal grace blocking the use of firearms, which was a bluff. Her bullet pierced the time rotor and sent the TARDIS spinning out of control with a great volume of toxic gas pouring out of the hole it made in the damaged casing. Mels also liked to use the phrase "penny in the air...and the penny drops", when people around her were slow on the uptake to realise something that she clearly understood, then finally became aware of the truth. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler)
In her last incarnation, River was very strong-willed; though brainwashed and raised to kill him, she decided the Doctor was "worth it" and saved his life, giving up all her regenerations to do so. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler) She resisted the upgraded astronaut suit and refused to kill him, heedless of the consequences. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)
River was frisky and cheeky like her mother, Amy. Like her father, Rory, she was stubborn, responsible and fiercely compassionate. She enjoyed showing off for the Doctor. She teased him and liked using the word "spoilers" whenever the subject turned to the Doctor's future. This began when the Doctor assigned her to document their adventures in the TARDIS diary. She adopted the word from the Doctor, who had picked it up from River's later self, creating a stable time loop. (TV: Last Night) She kept her diary from him (TV: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead) and hid that his death at Lake Silencio was a hoax from everyone except her parents, waiting until the time was right to confide the real fate of the Doctor, without altering the course of a fixed point in time. River occasionally visited Amy and Rory after they found out that she was their daughter. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)
River seemed at ease with being kept in prison much of her life for a crime she didn't commit and often flirted with the guards or made jokes about the facility, even once stating that she was "breaking in not out" which seemed to be a subtle taunt to the security of what was supposed to be an extremely secure prison. (TV: Flesh and Stone, A Good Man Goes to War) She was able to escape from prison "as though the walls aren't there" according to the Doctor. (TV: First Night) Nevertheless she did work towards earning a pardon, eventually succeeding when the Doctor deleted records of himself from the Universe. (TV: Flesh and Stone, The Time of Angels, The Angels Take Manhattan)
River loved flirting with people and was constantly hitting on the Doctor, although she also had a tendency to flirt with other people such as prison guards and Hitler's soldiers. She often greeted the Doctor with the words "Hello Sweetie". (TV: Silence in the Library, Flesh and Stone, The Pandorica Opens, Let's Kill Hitler, The Wedding of River Song) She was also rather vain, believing that her cleavage "could fell an ox at twenty feet". (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
River was very confident in her abilities and she was very hard to intimidate, showing no fear when faced with the Weeping Angels, the Silence or the Vashta Nerada. She was also very good at hiding her emotions, and didn't like to show weakness. She was devastated when her parents were stolen by a Weeping Angel but unlike the Doctor she encouraged Amy to go to be with Rory and didn't break down after the Angel transported Amy away, showing a far greater level of self control than her husband. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
River was deeply in love with the Doctor, even though she had been raised to kill him. She teased Madame Kovarian about the mistake she made by kidnapping her since Kovarian was partially responsible for her falling in love with the Doctor in the first place. In her younger years, River was rather selfish since she was willing to sacrifice the entire Universe in order to protect the Doctor. However, as she matured she grew into a much more selfless person and showed a willingness to sacrifice herself, eventually giving her life to save the Tenth Doctor. (TV: Forest of the Dead, The Time of Angels, Let's Kill Hitler, The Wedding of River Song)
River appeared to have a certain amount of rivalry against Clara Oswald. When River last met the Doctor, she implored him to find a new companion. However, she was visibly displeased when Clara eagerly confirmed herself as the Doctor's "companion". However, she also was willing to put that aside to guide and help Clara when The Doctor went to the Field of Trenzalore, even going as far as revealing some secrets of how she came to be. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
River shared the Doctor's habit of avoiding answering a question by answering a previous question. Like her mother, she was able to follow the Eleventh Doctor's train of thought so well that she could explain it to others. (TV: The Time of Angels)
River had varying opinions of the Doctor's earlier selves. She didn't like the First, Second, Sixth, and Ninth Doctors; she got along with the Third and Eighth Doctors, mistook the Tenth Doctor as her husband, and she remained somewhat neutral about the Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Doctors, just voicing her shock at some of the traits they had. (GAME: The Eternity Clock)
Skills and abilities
Melody Pond was conceived in the TARDIS while it was travelling through the Time Vortex. This gave her some Time Lord DNA and because of this and the experiments of the Silence, she was be able to regenerate, despite the fact that both of her parents were human. In her final incarnation, River showed that she had enough control over regeneration to be able to use it to attack Hitler's soldiers. She was also able to use it to bring the Doctor back to life after she poisoned him, although she had to use up all of her remaining regenerations in order to do so. (TV: Day of the Moon, Let's Kill Hitler)
River was known as "the child of the TARDIS" and the time machine had taken a particular liking to her and taught her how to fly her. River was a very fast learner, becoming skilled at flying the TARDIS in a remarkably short time and she was able to control the time machine even more proficiently than the Doctor, despite the fact that the Doctor had been flying the TARDIS for centuries. (TV: The Big Bang, The Impossible Astronaut, Let's Kill Hitler)
River also seemed to be well versed in temporal theory and advanced sciences, like Jack Harkness and the Doctor himself. In addition to her ability to fix, operate, and maintain the Doctor's TARDIS, she was proficient with her scanner (TV: The Time of Angels) and was able to build a timey-wimey distress beacon. (TV: The Wedding of River Song) She also was able to read and write Old High Gallifreyan (TV: The Time of Angels) and without benefit of the TARDIS Translation circuit she inscribed the oldest graffiti in the universe on Planet One, although it's possible this was a function of her vortex manipulator. (TV: The Pandorica Opens)
In addition to piloting the TARDIS, River often used a vortex manipulator and was able to use it to get wherever she needed to be. She was able to escape from Stormcage easily, even without the Doctor coming to pick her up. (TV: The Pandorica Opens, The Impossible Astronaut, A Good Man Goes to War, First Night, Last Night) She sometimes made impressive entrances whilst using the Vortex manipulator, such as when she made a bright flash of light appear when she teleported to Demon's Run. (TV: The Pandorica Opens, A Good Man Goes to War)
River was also incredibly strong and in her first incarnation she was able to force her way out of the spacesuit that had been holding her prisoner. Even when she was forced back inside the spacesuit in her last incarnation, she drained the energy from the weapon intended to kill the Doctor, despite saying that the spacesuit was in control. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut, The Wedding of River Song)
River was also extremely skilled with a gun, being able to shoot two of the Doctor's hats, one of which had been on his head, and kill a whole group of Silents in order to protect her family. She was also able to spin her gun and shoot down a surviving Silent without even looking at it, despite their demonstrated ability to erase themselves from her memory when she wasn't looking at them, suggesting that she was still able to perceive either it or the other dead Silents in the room. (TV: The Big Bang, The Impossible Astronaut, Day of the Moon)
Behind the scenes
- When River lived as Mels, she used the surname Zucker. (GAME: Monster Invasion, REF: The Brilliant Book 2012, The Doctor: His Lives and Times)
- At age "ten," Mels wrote that she had an imaginary friend who told her to kill people. (REF: The Doctor: His Lives and Times)
- In the production notes of Doctor Who Magazine issue 441, Steven Moffat said that River and the Doctor's picnic at Asgard was with the Tenth Doctor.
- In an interview for a short video about the Eleventh Doctor's companions, Alex Kingston said River Song has encountered many incarnations of the Doctor and he "sends her into his past, where he knows he needs her expertise". Arthur Darvill said Kingston had been told more than anyone else about who River really is.
- The conversation at the end of The Doctor's Wife implies River was conceived on a bunk bed. When asked about this, Steven Moffat and Neil Gaiman independently and simultaneously acknowledged this, joking about the possibility of the ladder. They later agreed they had accidentally made this canon by agreeing on it.
- To date, River has been played by six different actors (a set of twins played Baby Melody), the most to portray a single companion on-screen.
- River Song is the second Time Lord to change skin colour via regeneration on-screen, after K'anpo Rimpoche, whose second actor, Kevin Lindsay, was made up to look Asian. The actresses who played her in her Melody Pond and River Song incarnations were white. Both of Mels' actresses were black. In TV: Death of the Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor noted that his racial characteristics were not limited to white; he "can be anything." Rassilon has been portrayed by white actors Richard Mathews and Timothy Dalton on-screen, while black actor Don Warrington was Rassilon's voice actor and cover-art model in Big Finish Doctor Who audio stories. One of the incarnations that Romana tried out in between her Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward incarnations had blue skin. (TV: Destiny of the Daleks)
- In Let's Kill Hitler, River says she will gradually bring down the age of her body a little "just to freak people out", referring to the fact that a younger Alex Kingston has played later versions of River.
- A mistake in The Angels Take Manhattan is that when the Doctor is reading River's book, a line states her eyes are blue. Alex Kingston's eye colour is green.
- According to Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, the production team had originally sought to cast actress Kate Winslet in the role of River. Russell T Davies had worked with Winslet on his 1991 BBC teen drama Dark Season.