Here's when the Doctor Who Xmas special takes place in River Song's timeline

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Nov 24, 2015, 11:21 AM EST

The BBC has released two new official pics from the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special featuring the return of the Doctor’s wife, River Song, while showrunner Steven Moffat opens up about the story's timeline.

Ever since we heard River (Alex Kingston) would be making her highly anticipated return to Doctor Who in this year’s Xmas episode, one of the many, many questions that popped to mind was when, in River’s timeline, does this story take place? After all, the last time we saw her in “The Name of the Doctor,” River was already dead and a “ghost” in the library.

So far, what we know about the yuletide special, written by Steven Moffat and directed by Douglas Mackinnon (“Flatline,” “Listen,” “Cold War”), is that River won’t recognize the Twelfth incarnation of the Time Lord, played by Peter Capaldi. Oops!  As for River's timeline, Moffat revealed in an interview with Radio Times when the story would be taking place.

“It doesn’t really matter, but for those who care, it’s immediately after The Angels Take Manhattan [2012]. River’s just seen Matt Smith’s Doctor lose Amy and Rory, and obviously before The Name of the Doctor [2013] because she’s dead in that.”

Why did Steven Moffat bring River back? Well, the answer might surprise you, because the showrunner reveals that it might have been his last Doctor Who episode EVER! Now, isn't that interesting.

“We’ve just lost Clara, so I didn’t want to go straight into a new companion. I’ll be honest, I brought River Song back in because I thought there was a possibility I’d never write it [Doctor Who] again so that’d be my goodbye.”

A week ago, Moffat said of the Christmas special “It is not the most Christmassy Doctor Who ever… but it is a funny, fast madcap chase episode -- with the doctor being chased and also chasing River.”


In the episode, River will be kissing lots of fellas BUT her hubby, who will be chasing after his flirty Missus across the universe in order to win her over. Here’s the official synopsis:

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.

A little more info was provided by The Guardian, who says of the yuletide special that there are:

Thrills and spills aplenty in a festive adventure that sees the Doctor plucked from anti-Christmas seclusion when a call from a crashed spaceship sends him on a hectic super-villain chase across the galaxy. Alex Kingston returns as fellow time traveller River Song, with comedians Greg Davies [The Inbetweeners] and Matt Lucas [Little Britain] in more rib-tickling roles.

Are you guys as excited as I am about this year's Doctor Who Christmas special?

(via Radio Times, The Guardian, Den of Geek)