Played once again by Alex Kingston, River Song will appear in this year’s Christmas special, the eleventh since the series returned full-time to television in 2005.
The popular character first appeared in 2008, when David Tennant occupied the title role, in Silence in the Library; and, although killed off at the conclusion of that two-part story, went on to appear in a further 13 episodes.
Her most recent appearance was in 2013, with Matt Smith’s Doctor, in the game-changing story The Name of the Doctor, which also introduced an hitherto-unknown incarnation of the Doctor, played by John Hurt.
Of her inclusion in the 2015 Christmas special, Kingston admitted that it was a surprise to be asked. “To be honest, I did not know whether River would ever return to the show,” she told the official Doctor Who blog. “But here she is, back with the Doctor for the Christmas special.
Of her new leading man, Peter Capaldi, she said, “I met [him] for the first time at Monday’s read-through. We had a laugh, and I am now excited and ready to start filming with him and the Doctor Who team.”
Doctor Who returns to television screens worldwide on Saturday, 19 September, with 12 brand-new episodes. It will be Capaldi’s second full season since taking over the role from Smith in 2013. The series also stars Jenna Coleman as his time-travelling companion, Clara Oswald, the character she has played since 2012.
The as-yet-untitled Christmas special will follow a couple of weeks after the end of the series. As with the last four Christmas episodes, it is written by the show’s head writer, Steven Moffat, Doctor Who News reports.