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 has a vortex manipulator must be after The Pandorica Opens.
Any story where River is out of Stormcage prison, and most where she's a professor, must be after The Angels Take Manhattan.
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. By the time she reaches adolescences, Melody is transferred to Graystark Hall Orphanage in 1969 Florida, and forced into an Apollo astronaut suit.
- 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. Six months after The Impossible Astronaut, Melody returns to Graystark Hall Orphanage, and frees herself from the suit after the Silence kidnap Amy. Six months afterwards, Melody regenerates into an infant in 1970 New York City.
Growing up again Edit
- Mels becomes "the most in trouble" girl at Leadworth Primary School, partially due to her blaming the Doctor for historical catastrophes.
- During Year Three, Mels defeats Krampus.
- Sometime before 2008, Mels helps Amy realise her feelings for Rory by exposing his feelings for her, ensuring her own existence by bringing her parents together.
- Mels decides against attending her parents' 2010 wedding, citing that she "[doesn't] do weddings" as the reason.
- In 2011, Mels steals a car to meet the Eleventh 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.
Working for the Silence 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 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.
- Officially taking on the name "River Song", Melody enters Luna University in 5123 to study the Doctor's movements in history through archaeology.
- 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.
- 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.
- River oversees operations at Area 52.
- 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.
- River is captured by the authorities and arrested for the murder of the Doctor. She is confined to Stormcage Containment Facility in the 52nd century with twelve thousand consecutive life sentences for her "crime".
- 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".
- 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 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 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.
- River recalls the events of The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone.
- River is still imprisoned in the Stormcage Containment Facility.
- Follows on from The Judas Goatee. 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.
- Follows on from The One. Ending leads directly into Running to Stay Still.
- River is infected by the Malignant, and frozen 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 her first kiss with his eleventh incarnation.
- Wearing the same clothes from Day of the Moon, River uses her vortex manipulator to return to the Battle of Demons Run 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 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 appears to be living with Amy and Rory. She goes on a date with the Doctor, who picks her up in the TARDIS.
- Rory is travelling 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 recalls Rory's time as a Roman, setting this after The Big Bang.
- 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.
- River has a professoriate.
- Set thirteen years after The Wedding of River Song, with River preparing for an anniversary treat that involves Stevie Wonder.
- River is taken to the last Winter Frost Fair of 1814 by 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.
- 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
- After the Doctor erases all mention of himself from every database in the universe, River is pardoned after no evidence of her victim can be found. She returns to her archaeology studies and earns a true professoriate.
- River has been married to a maximum of thirteen men by this point (eleven, depending on how she counts), 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 into The Furies.
- River has a professoriate, and is teaching archaeology. She is using a "sonic pen torch".
- The Doctor and River are en route to Darillium, but he changes his mind on the destination after a run in with a younger Doctor.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Archaeological adventures Edit
- River refers to the events of The Husbands of River Song. She uses her sonic trowel. Ending leads directly into I Went to a Marvellous Party.
- River has a sonic screwdriver, setting this after The Husbands of River Song. Ending leads directly into Signs.
- Ending leads directly into The Rulers of the Universe.
- River is a professor, and does not react to an image of the Twelfth Doctor, setting this after The Husbands of River Song.
- River has a sonic screwdriver, setting this after The Husbands of River Song. Ending leads into Five Twenty-Nine.
- Ending leads into World Enough and Time.
- Ending leads into The Eye of the Storm.
- River has recently been pardoned from Stormcage.
- River has a sonic screwdriver, setting this after The Husbands of River Song. She recognises the Eighth Doctor from the events of The Rulers of the Universe.
- River believes she has met all of the Master's incarnations. She has a professoriate.
- 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.
- River has a professoriate. 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.
- 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.
Currently unplaced Edit
- River is a professor and uses her vortex manipulator.
- River is sent by her future self to stop the Nine.
- River is using her vortex manipulator and sonic trowel.