Doctor Who News Doctor Who actress Alex Kingston

Published on June 6th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Kingston “wasn’t surprised” by Smith Leaving

During her appearance on The One Show, River Song actress Alex Kingston was naturally asked about Doctor Who and the search for the Twelfth Doctor.

Doctor Who actress Alex Kingston

Of Matt Smith’s leaving Doctor Who, Kingston said:

“I wasn’t surprised because he and I had had a chat [about him leaving]. At some stage you have to move on. We did discuss when would be the right time in a young actor’s career if they were very associated with a particular role. You have to move on otherwise it becomes very difficult because you get typecast.”

Typically, Kingston was also quizzed about the possibility of a female Doctor. Her answer perhaps gave away more than she might have intended…

“I don’t think I could kiss her though… There’s always a first time isn’t there.”

So, despite Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who, is there more River Song to come…?


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

28 Responses to Kingston “wasn’t surprised” by Smith Leaving

  1. avatar Mark Lenton says:

    Oh God I hope so. Having Alex on board for stories distracts me from the plot holes and dodgy characterisation – she was the only saving grace of series 6.

    • She AND Craig saved series 6.

  2. avatar David Raun says:

    I’m on the counter side – Nothing against Alex Kingston herself. But the River Song character was the worse creation in the new franchise in a long while. At best… during Tenant’s season. The Actress herself did what she could, with what turned out to be such an over plot loaded character. But once Matt was on board her character seemed to be deliberately shoe horned into the Amy / Rory side plot. Which resulted in terrible scenery chewing from the origins / Hitler episode, thru to the end ,as the Who writer’s tried to make everything work. With Matt gone as the Doctor later this winter. I hope we see the end of River Song.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      I would hope so too – I found the character (I rather like Kingston) excessively annoying in “The Library” and she went down hill from there. She became less a character and more a walking talking plot point. Time now to put her to rest – the way it was written in “Name” suggests we won’t see her again (rather suggesting Moffat knew Smith was going even then).

  3. avatar Howard Railton says:

    She’s dire, a pointless character Moffat continues to stick in every other story for no apparent reason. But then, he does nothing particularly meaningful with Vastra, Strax et al., either.

  4. avatar Acey Ducey says:

    Steven Moffat has gone on record in the past to suggest River Song was bi-sexual.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      He does seem to say that about a lot of his characters

    • avatar M Frazier says:

      Though in the case of “River”, it is fairly likely. Where they took her for treatment and left her to “become” River Song was supposedly around Jack’s original time when we’ve been led to believe that humans have grown beyond classifications based on sexuality because there is so much more than male and female out among the stars.

      • avatar TonyS says:

        Good point

  5. Vastra and Strax were the saving grace of Season 7.

  6. avatar Al says:

    Boy, gotta love the hatred for the show. Where are the fans? River Song was a great character and Alex Kingston did a great job. But as the “Last Night” minisode establishes, it is the Eleventh Doctor who bid her farewell before she went to the Library, presumably once Matt leaves, that’ll be it. So that’ll make some people happy, but I’ll miss the character. Maybe it just made people uncomfortable that the writers decided to inject some romance into the show? Probably it’s just residual from all the sci-fi geeks who were disturbed from writing years of fanfic about Luke and Leia getting together only to find they were brother and sister…

    • avatar TonyS says:

      It will be interesting to find out. But as they always meet in the wrong order there is no reason she cannot meet future Doctors and still have Doc 11 say the final farewell

    • “Maybe it just made people uncomfortable that the writers decided to inject some romance into the show? ” No, those are the Rose haters. I know far too many people who cannot stand that Ten (and Nine) loved Rose in a romantic way. Honestly, I never really bought the Doctor and River’s relationship. They didn’t ever SHOW any reason to buy it. All the relationship stuff was off camera and just referred to, usually in a somewhat flippant way. We saw River’s side of it – I bought that she loved him. I didn’t really get that from the Doctor, though. Show, don’t tell if you want us to be emotionally invested, yanno? I was invested in Nine/Ten and Rose because they gave us reasons to believe it. Not just “he loves her” with no supporting evidence.

      • Their last scene in the “Name of the Doctor” felt so phoned in I wanted to change the channel. It was almost as bad as watching Natalie Portman throw up a little in her mouth every time Hayden Christensen touched her in the Star Wars movies….

      • avatar Dora says:

        You are so right. I *believe* River loves the Doctor, but I don’t *feel* it is reciprocated. But maybe that’s just men, or British men. Or something. ;o)

  7. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:


  8. avatar TonyS says:

    What saved season 7 for me was the improvement in writing from “The Snowmen” onwards. The Doctor, Vastra, Jenny and Strax had been brilliant throughout. Rory & Amy too. But I confess myself less than completely satisfied with the stories in the first part of season 7

  9. when are we going to see the doctor daughter again :)

    • avatar Bob James says:

      I too would love for Jenny to return. I have never seen a discussion (though perhaps discussions have taken place) about the ramifications of Jenny having children. Would the children be, in effect, Time Lords? Half Time Lords? There’s a lot of possibilities to be explored in her continued existence out there.

  10. avatar Lynda B says:

    Love River. Hope she comes back. There was a rumor she was supposed to be in series 8 more than in series 7… but who knows? Thought she said goodbye in TNoTD, but maybe she just said goodbye to 11. Time will tell.

  11. avatar Suzann says:

    Love River Song, without her and the Pond’s the 11th Doctor has become a lot less interesting.

  12. avatar Rachelle says:

    I enjoy the changes and expect them… I think people get to attached emotionally to the show and can’t take the changes. River was excellent in her roles of who she was and her connection to The Doctor. I hope to see her in more episodes in future. I’m still waiting for his daughter to return to the show. Who knows what the future of Doctor Who will be I’ll continue to watch no matter what happens.

  13. Alex Kingston in a wonderful actress who did the best she could with what she had. It’s not her fault Matt Smith seemed to cringe whenever she walked on scene and always seemed half afraid to touch her unless the Doctor needed to restrain River or use her emotions to gain her cooperation or reward her. Watching her episodes over again it’s almost as if the Doctor regarded River as a….test subject? pet? potentially rabid dog?….And she never seemed to mind. I never felt a Bonnie and Clyde style bond between them like there should have been and am relieved that her arc has finally reached its conclusion.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      You’re right – it never had any real emotional impact – unlike the 10th and Rose (which Moffat clearly hoped to emulate), with 11 and River it often seemed more like embarrassment – like she was his outrageous aunt who always showed him up at parties!

    • avatar Dora says:

      Totally agree! I never felt that the Doctor really loved River in return. :o( …bad acting? bad writing? The more I think about it the more unfulfilled I feel.

  14. I actually think that her, “Goodbye, Sweetie!” was her saying goodbye to Eleven and a hint for the rest of us ahead of the announcement.

  15. avatar Luis says:

    Its only logical to expect the River will pop up again after the next regeneration. Clearly we see that she knows the Doctor’s name, but its clear from “The Wedding of River Song” that the Eleventh Doctor did not reveal that information to her. Therefore, she must learn the name at some other point. Obviously, something could come to pass during the Christmas episode before the regeneration – as it appears River does not appear in the 50th Anniversary special – but I think it more likely River will cross paths with the Tweltfh Doctor at some point.

  16. avatar Jake McLernan says:

    I loved River Song, I love Alex Kingston. cant be bothered by naysayers, they miss the whimsy

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