This page lists appearances of River Song in the order in which she experienced them. This timeline is based upon observations of the Doctor Who universe and the events that occur in each of these stories, as well as the narrative feature of CON: When Time Froze, River Song: Her Story, which states her entire history up to the airdate of that Doctor Who Confidential episode in 2011. We have attempted to build a concise timeline from these observations.
The layout of this timeline is in part based on the observations on Clive Banks Databank, The Doctor Who Site, Cameron K. McEwan's blog post, Huw Fullerton's blog post, 9GAG page, and The Haunted Coconut page. None of these sources should be used solely as a source or considered a "true" timeline for stories.
Limiting factors Edit
Any story where River is a professor must take place after Flesh and Stone, with most taking place after her release from Stormcage Containment Facility.
Any story where River is aware of the Twelfth Doctor's existence must take place after The Husbands of River Song.
Series basics Edit
River Song has only appeared in a handful of Doctor Who media, mostly from series 5 and 6 of the revived television series, but she is noteworthy for having met the Doctor, as well as her parents, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, in an anachronic order. As a result, the audience also sees her in an order different from how she experiences things. There are also several stories where as many as three Rivers at different points in her timestream appear.
For the sake of clarity, her first incarnation will be referred to as "Melody" to differentiate from her second, referred to as "Mels", and her third, which dominates her appearances in the Doctor Who universe.
Early life Edit
- As a three-week-old baby, Melody is taken by Kovarian and replaced by a Ganger before the Eleventh Doctor and Rory Williams can rescue her and Amy.
- Melody is trained and brainwashed by the Silence to assassinate the Doctor before he can reach Trenzalore and free the Time Lords, and thus prevent the Siege of Trenzalore. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler, The Time of the Doctor) By the time she reaches adolescences, Melody is transferred to Graystark Hall Orphanage in 1969 Florida, and forced into an Apollo astronaut suit. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut)
- Melody is found by the Doctor and Amy, but is shot by Amy to "save [the Doctor's] life".
- The bullet barely misses Melody, but does damage the suit as the Doctor and Amy flee. After Amy is captured by the Silence three months later, Melody is able to escape the suit and goes on the run.
- Six months after her escape from the Silence, Melody regenerates into an infant in 1970 New York City. (TV: Day of the Moon, Let's Kill Hitler)
Growing up again Edit
- During Year Three, Mels defeats Krampus.
- In 2011, Mels steals a car to meet the Doctor when Amy and Rory rendezvous with him in a cornfield. Needing to escape the police, Mels hijacks the Doctor's TARDIS at gunpoint, and causes it to crash in 1938 Berlin. Exiting the damaged TARDIS, Mels is hit by a ricocheting bullet fired by Adolf Hitler, and regenerates into her third incarnation in front of the Doctor and her parents.
Studying at Luna University Edit
- Adjusting to her new body, and being referred to as "River Song" by the Doctor and her parents, Melody successfully poisons the Doctor with Judas tree poison. Running amok in Berlin, Melody is confronted by the Teselecta, but saved by the dying Doctor. After he helps her pilot the TARDIS to save Amy and Rory, Melody learns that her third incarnation is known as River Song, and revives the Doctor by sacrificing her remaining regenerations, though the process drains her into unconsciousness. She awakens in the Sisters of the Infinite Schism hospital with a TARDIS-shaped diary.
- The morning after Let's Kill Hitler, Melody finds clothing left for her by her parents, and secures access to a pen to beginning writing her diary. (GAME: The Eternity Clock) Officially taking on the name "River Song", Melody enters Luna University in 5123 to study the Doctor's movements in history through archaeology. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler)
- River attends her first lecture at the Luna University. Her lecturer is supposed to be Bernice Summerfield, but she is replaced by "Hack Jarkness". Despite his alias and faux accent, River recognises Jack from their previous encounter. This encounter is due to Jack's retroactive interference in her timeline. Together, they fight off the vortex wraiths. (AUDIO: R&J)
- Set in December 5124. River has stolen a Vortex manipulator before and has been studying at Luna University for three years by this point. She has begun studying archaeology and is thirty-four years old.
- River has a doctorate, and a more hostile attitude towards the Doctor. She interviews Jackie Tyler, Sylvia Noble, Francine Jones, and Wilfred Mott.
- Shortly after receiving her doctorate in archaeology, River is kidnapped by the Silence to fulfil her mission of assassinating the Doctor at Lake Silencio on 22 April 2011, leading directly into The Impossible Astronaut and The Wedding of River Song.
Killing the Doctor Edit
- River appears to the Doctor as the astronaut in Lake Silencio. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut) Before the suit can force her to kill the Doctor, River is able to drain the weapon pack and prevent the assassination. However, by defying the fixed point in time, River shreds time into a reality where all history happens at once. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)
- River oversees operations at Area 52.
- River is posing as Cleopatra.
- Having captured Kovarian and the Doctor, River confesses her love for the Doctor, and the two wed atop the Great Pyramid of Giza so that the Doctor can get close enough to River to reveal his secret plan; he is hiding within the Teselecta to make the Silence believe their assassination worked. River then restores the timeline.
- With the assassination appearing successful, River disappears into the lake, narrowly avoiding being shot by her future counterpart.
- On her way to imprisonment in Stormcage, River's transport shuttle is attacked by an assassin. Jack Harkness rescues her and attempts to take her away from Stormcage, but she uses her Hallucinogenic lipstick on him and insists that she needs to stay. This encounter is due to Jack's retroactive interference in her timeline.(AUDIO: R&J)
- On her first night in prison, River is rescued by the Doctor, who explains to her the purpose of her diary, and tells her he is taking her to Calderon Beta.
- Follows directly on from Night and the Doctor: First Night. River gains a liking for the word "spoilers".
- River appears to be living with Amy and Rory. She goes on a date with the Doctor, who picks her up in the TARDIS.
- The Doctor and River act like more of a married couple. River appears to believe that the Doctor has further regenerations.
- The Doctor and River go on a double date with Amy and Rory. The Doctor alludes to his marriage to River.
- The Doctor and River are visiting Amy and Rory for a "family holiday". River is using her vortex manipulator.
- The Doctor and River act like a married couple.
- The Doctor and River act like a married couple and are staying at Amy and Rory's house.
- The Doctor and River act like a married couple and are staying with Amy and Rory.
- The Doctor and River are staying with Amy and Rory for Christmas.
- The Doctor and River are staying with Amy and Rory for New Year's Day.
- River has a doctorate, setting this after Closing Time. She has yet to visit Planet One, setting this before The Pandorica Opens. She is interviewing Tegan Jovanka.
- Set five years after The Wedding of River Song. River has a vortex manipulator. Needing to escape some Sontarans after mocking them, River enters the Doctor's TARDIS and pretends to collapse.
- Follows directly on from Night and the Doctor: First Night. The Doctor returns River to Stormcage by hacking her vortex manipulator.
- Set thirteen years after The Wedding of River Song, with River preparing for an anniversary treat that involves Stevie Wonder.
- Upon her return to Stormcage following a trip to The last Winter Frost Fair of 1814 With the Doctor as a birthday treat, with Stevie Wonder performing for her. Upon her return to Stormcage, River is met by Rory shortly before the Battle of Demons Run, and has to reject his invitation to the battle. She later joins them after her younger self has been taken. She tells the Doctor of her true identity, and then informs Rory and Amy that she is their daughter.
- River is invited by the Doctor to witness his faked assassination at Lake Silencio with Amy and Rory. Pretending to not know what is transpiring to preserve the timeline, River joins Amy, Rory and a younger Doctor as they search for Canton Everett Delaware III and stumbles upon her younger self contacting President Nixon.
- River is studying Silents, and their influence on human history in the TARDIS databanks.
- River spends three months travelling through the United States, searching for Silents.
- Three months after The Impossible Astronaut, River and the Doctor defeat the Silence by using their brainwashing of humanity against them. At her request, the Doctor returns River to Stormcage, and kisses him, not realising that it was his first kiss from her.
- In 5145, River is telephoned by Winston Churchill due to TARDIS rerouting a phone call for the Doctor, and learns of a painting depicting the destruction of the TARDS. Acquiring a vortex manipulator from Dorium Maldovar, River steals the painting from Liz Ten, and vandalises a diamond cliff at the dawn of time with the coordinates to 102 AD England. Meeting the Doctor and Amy while masquerading as Cleopatra, River takes them to Stonehenge to find the Pandorica, and is ordered by the Doctor to fetch the TARDIS. However, the TARDIS is pulled to 26 June 2010 and River is trapped in a time loop as the TARDIS explodes, leading directly into The Big Bang.
- River is rescued from the TARDIS by the Doctor in 1996. After the Doctor uses the Pandorica's restoration field to reverse the Total Event Collapse of the universe, River leaves her now blank diary at her parents' wedding so Amy can remember him back into existence. After her diary is restored, River departs after saying goodbye to the Doctor.
- In 5145, River uses her vortex manipulator to rescue the Doctor from 2012 London, and joins him in his search for the pieces of the Eternity Clock.
- River is in the first of her twelve-thousand consecutive life sentences. She refers to "parties" and "fish" when she talks about her trips out with the Doctor. She recalls burning the Doctor's body and has a vortex manipulator, setting this after The Pandorica Opens and The Impossible Astronaut.
- River is recruited by Father Octavian to track down a Weeping Angel. Wanting to earn a pardon, River agrees with the promise of bringing the Doctor along as a consultant. She learns from the Doctor that she will one day become a professor.
- Follows directly on from The Time of Angels. River mentions the events of The Pandorica Opens, and alludes to previous outings that involved handcuffs.
- Immediately after Flesh and Stone, River visits Amy to tell her and Rory that the Doctor survived the events of The Wedding of River Song. She mentions "pretending [she didn't] recognise a space suit in Florida" setting this, and Flesh and Stone, after Day of the Moon
- River recalls the events of The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone.
- The Eleventh Doctor and River are going to Darillium, but he changes his mind on the destination after a run in with his younger self.
- River is still imprisoned in the Stormcage Containment Facility. The Doctor arrives at Stormcage to ask for River's help, leading directly into The One.
- Though she is already familiar with her, River meets Alice Obiefune for the first time. She remarks on the Doctor "still" leaving the TARDIS brakes on, setting this after The Time of Angels. River arrives on Shada with the Doctor and his companions leading directly into Downtime.
- After leaving Shada, the TARDIS is discovered by the Malignant, leading directly into Running to Stay Still.
- River is infected by the Malignant, and placed in suspended animation to protect herself from being erased.
- River is still in suspended animation.
- River is still in suspended animation, but her infection is growing more fatal.
- River is still in suspended animation, but the Malignant has spread to most of her body.
- River is released from suspended animation to absorb the full Malignant, curing herself of the inflection when the Malignant exits her body. She returns to Stormcage.
- River mentions her doctorate.
- River escaped Stormcage during 5147, setting this a minimum of two years after The Big Bang. She is considering having a child. During a picnic at the planet-sized theme park Asgard, River attempts to ask the Doctor his views on them having a child, but is unable to brochure the subject due to Tomith attacking Asgard. River has a professoriate, setting this at least after The Time of Angels.
- River recalls Rory's time as a Roman, setting this after The Big Bang.
- River has a professoriate and is still imprisoned in Stormcage.
- River has faced Weeping Angels, Silents, Daleks, Cybermen, and the Crimson Revenants. River is still in prison, but has achieved her professoriate. She has yet to visit Gallifrey. Upon her return to Stormcage, she has all of her privileges revoked and it is revealed that she has been memorising recent entries so that she can write them down properly in her journal when she gets it back.
A pardoned woman Edit
- River has a vortex manipulator, and has recently borrowed the TARDIS and read the Doctor's Five Hundred Year Diary to learn about the events of The Web of Fear. She has a professoriate. River breaks a lock forcefully, setting this before she had any sort of sonic device.
- Set between The Wedding of River Song and The Angels Take Manhattan. (DWM 495) River is in a self-imposed exile, and is reluctant to get involved with any adventures, believing that she should be serving a penance. She uses her sonic trowel. Ending leads directly into I Went to a Marvellous Party.
- Ending leads directly into Signs.
- Ending leads directly into The Rulers of the Universe.
- River meets the Eighth Doctor and is worried about the prospect of him finding out her identity. She also intends to strictly follow the Laws of Time, suggesting that this is one of her earliest meetings with a Doctor who hasn’t met her yet.
- River meets Jack Harkness for the first time while trying to steal from Snorvlast's jewel safe. This was originally River's first meeting with Jack, prior to him changing her timeline by going back and meeting earlier versions of her. This encounter is due to Jack's retroactive interference in her timeline. (AUDIO: R&J)
- River meets the Seventh Doctor. River has a sonic device that she built herself, and refers to it as a screwdriver, though the Doctor disagrees with her. Ending leads into Five Twenty-Nine.
- Ending leads into World Enough and Time.
- River meets the Sixth Doctor. Ending leads into The Eye of the Storm.
- River has recently been pardoned from Stormcage.
- River has her sonic blaster and vortex manipulator. A bounty hunter working for the Ravenous destroys what it referred to as her "sonic device". She has a doctorate.
- River has been married to a maximum of eleven-to-thirteen men by this point, and is looking for family and belonging. She recalls the events of A Good Man Goes to War, and joins the Fifth Doctor and Brooke in the TARDIS.
- River recalls the events of Picnic at Asgard, The Time of Angels, and A Good Man Goes to War. Ending leads directly into My Dinner with Andrew.
- Ending leads into The Furies.
- While posing as Queen Elizabeth I in the Elizabethan era, River is investigated by Javic Piotr Thane. She sends him away when they are attacked by androids disguised as the Queen's guard. After her escapade in the Elizabethan era, River takes over the Time Agency in an attempt to get Jack out of her way, suggesting this is set before they get to know each other better. (AUDIO: R&J)
- River is a professor and uses her vortex manipulator.
- River has a professoriate, and is teaching archaeology. She is using a "sonic pen torch". She is currently working as a Professor at the Cheska Major University, with Luke Sullieman as one of her students.
- River is using her vortex manipulator and her sonic trowel.
- River believes she has met all of the Master's incarnations. She has a professoriate.
- River visits Jack in Gallipoli. She knows that she can’t die until she visits a restaurant, setting this before The Husbands of River Song. They plan to get married, but the ceremony is interrupted by Snorvlast, who is devoured by the vortex wraiths. Jack and River then visit the end of time for their honeymoon. (AUDIO: R&J)
- River hasn't been to Gallifrey yet, setting this before Songs of Love.
- River uses her sonic trowel.
- River has a professoriate.
- River has a professoriate.
Investigating the Weeping Angels Edit
- River is running a detective agency in 1930s New York under the alias of "Melody Malone". She refers to her sonic device as a "Sonic pen torch". Luke Sullieman is working as her secretary, having graduated from university, setting this after Animal Instinct. They encounter the Weeping Angels and River sends Luke away in their timeship while she remains in New York to investigate the Weeping Angels more.
- Immediate prequel to The Angels Take Manhattan. River spends one month investigating Weeping Angel activity in 1938 New York City under the alias "Melody Malone".
- Still investigating the Weeping Angels in 1938 New York City, River finds Rory and is later found by the Doctor and Amy. After seeing an older Rory die in Winter Quay, River and the Doctor hold off the Weeping Angels to allow Amy and Rory to escape. After their suicide kills the Angels with a paradox, the Doctor, River, Amy and Rory find themselves in a 2012 graveyard, where Amy and Rory are taken beyond the Doctor's reach by a lone Weeping Angel.
Running from the Discordia Edit
- River uses her sonic trowel. Ending leads into Kings of Infinite Space.
- Ending leads into Whodunnit?
- River uses the alias "Melody Malone", and has her sonic trowel. Ending leads into Someone I Once Knew.
The night on Darillium Edit
- According to her diary, this is set shortly after The Angels Take Manhattan. River is 200-years-old, and is unaware of the Doctor's extended regeneration cycle. River marries King Hydroflax to steal the Halassi Androvar diamond embedded in his head. With the aid of a surgeon that her assistant, Nardole, brought to her, River escapes in the Doctor's TARDIS with Hydroflax's head. Heading to the Harmony and Redemption to sell the diamond, River is betrayed by the crew, and discovers that the surgeon accompanying her is the Twelfth Doctor. Escaping the ship to Darillium, the Doctor and River share a final night together for twenty-four years, during which the Doctor gifts River with her own sonic screwdriver.
The Doom Coalition Edit
- River makes reference to "the magician", "the spiv" and "the geography teacher", setting this after The Husbands of River Song. She travels to Calcot to investigate a piece of the Doomsday Chronometer. She leaves the Eighth Doctor a pointer towards a new rendezvous point and decides to find a disguise to wear, leading into The Eighth Piece.
- River recalls meeting Helen Sinclair during The Sonomancer. Ending leads into The Doomsday Chronometer.
- Ending leads into The Crucible of Souls.
- Ending leads into Songs of Love.
- River recalls the events of A Requiem for the Doctor.
- Follows on immediately from Songs of Love. The Nine rescues River from the Time Vortex. She loses her vortex manipulator, and instead starts using the Clocksmith's TARDIS.
Final escapades Edit
- River is a professor, and sees a vision of the Twelfth Doctor, setting this after The Husbands of River Song.
- River has a professoriate, and her sonic screwdriver. She is worried about having the first meeting with the Doctor from his perspective.
- After giving the Tenth Doctor information about the Zygons, River is recruited by the Felman Lux Corporation to lead Strackman Lux and a team into the Library, leading into Silence in the Library.
The Library Expedition Edit
- Arriving at the Library, River sends a message summoning the Tenth Doctor, only for him to arrive with no idea about her identity. Realising this is the Doctor's first meeting with her, River assists him and Donna Noble in eluding the Vashta Nerada.
- Follows directly on from Silence in the Library. River sacrifices her life to free the people trapped in the Library, and to prevent the Doctor from doing the same. However, the Doctor is able to preserve her memory in the Library's database.
- River is summoned to a conference call by Vastra from the Library, and meets Clara Oswald. After the Great Intelligence kidnaps the Paternoster Gang to the Doctor's tomb on Trenzalore, River continues to appear to Clara until she jumps into the Doctor's time stream to defeat the Great Intelligence. She fades away after sharing a final goodbye with the Eleventh Doctor.