Today marks the fifth anniversary of River Song’s first appearance in Silence in the Library, back in David Tennant’s final full season of Doctor Who. It’s possible that we won’t ever see her again, but what I want to know is: would you miss her?
Now, I’m of the opinion that she started out extremely well, a fascinating, mysterious woman, nicely pitched by Alex Kingston who looked pretty stunning in just that spacesuit.
Since then, however, River Song/Melody Pond has gone downhill as her needlessly convoluted storyline and origins collided with performances so camp they would make Servalan look on in envy.
I’ve just been browsing through a few articles about this and found Dan Martin’s post in The Guardian. He claims that “River’s detractors are the people still clinging to the notion of a sexless Doctor.”
I say this is crap. River started brilliantly, but it wasn’t old school Doctor Who fans who turned her into a controversial and divisive character. That was the work of a single old school fan, the one running the show. Even if the above was true, it doesn’t cover the Doctor’s relationship with Romana. Or Jo. Or Sarah Jane. Or Rose.
As someone who has recently bought a cable TV package, I was fortunate enough to be surprised by Silence in the Library on Watch the other evening. Absolutely brilliant stuff from Moffat with a great guest cast. This was the promise of a mysterious, The Time Traveller’s Wife-inspired future – one that has sadly (in my opinion) developed into a slightly creepy Mrs Robinson-esque releationship thanks to David Tennant’s decision to leave with Russell T Davies.
Matt Smith never looked comfortable opposite Alex Kingston until The Name of the Doctor, an element of self-awareness perhaps nagging him even beyond the portrayed physical awkwardness of his incarnation.
But I’ll tell you what – I’m sad to see the back of River Song. Not because I liked her, but because I feel that Steven Moffat ruined a potentially great character with some truly lazy characterisation. My podKast colleague James McLean has repeatedly bemoaned her metamorphosis into a Mary Sue, and after watching the original River Song of the 2008 run, I can only agree.
What do you think?