The role of ‘companion’ has always been prevalent to the Doctor Who story. Over the last 50+ years we’ve seen a wide range of characters fulfil the position, each providing a new dynamic to the Doctor/companion relationship. Some challenge him, some admire him, some love him but, arguably, there’s only one who does all three.
Now, lets be honest, it’s been a long running debate whether River Song can be considered a “companion” or not. There are those who believe that her oh-so complicated relationship with the timelord promotes her to a higher position than that of simply a passing friendship, while there are others who feel that, as his wife and therefore by definition of the word, she is actually the truest companion the Doctor has ever had.
Regardless of her official ‘title’, it cannot be denied that River Song brought something thrilling and exciting to Doctor Who and won over the hearts of many fans with her daredevil energy and flirtatious charm. This, of course, is largely down to the incredible performance of Alex Kingston, paired with the writing wizardry of Steven Moffat.
River's final appearance way back in 2015 brought her story full circle, ending on Darillium just as her first episode foretold. This felt very much like Moffat’s goodbye to the character as he stepped down as showrunner, but with changes looming and an anniversary fast approaching, now seems like the perfect time to bring back this beloved character.
8. She Only Appeared In 14 Episodes
For a character with such a detailed and complicated storyline, River Song actually only appeared in 14 episodes over the course of seven years. Of which, more than half were two-part story arcs and so, technically count as one extra-long episode.
Of course, if we’re being pedantic, there is that one scene at the end of Closing Time and a handful of DVD minisodes but it still seems like a very low figure considering the journey this character takes us on and the fact that she is one of the very few characters to have encountered three incarnations of the timelord. (On screen at least!)
From a production perspective it makes sense that she doesn’t appear ‘full time’ when you consider the fact that Steven Moffat wouldn’t allow other writers to include her in their story concepts. It figures that he wouldn’t want anything to conflict with his master plan but that did limit us to only a handful of River centred episodes per series.
Since his departure, Steven Moffat has allowed Big Finish the rights to continue writing audio adventures for the character and so there is still hope that he might pass the baton of ownership over to Russell T. Davies when the time is right!