There's exciting news today for Doctor Who fans.
Alex Kingston was a major recurring star during Matt Smith's run as the eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who. Her character, River Song, began as an enigma — a character from the Doctor's future who knew impossible things about him, yet was under orders from his future self to reveal nothing about what was to come. Which of course included details about River herself.
At last, across the duration of Season 7, River's story was told. And it was a whopper, involving half-human/half-Time Lord genetics, kidnapping, behavioral programming, marriage, and a shocking parentage reveal that nobody saw coming. The intriguing thing about River is that like the Doctor, she was a time traveler, but the two of them always met out of order. In effect, River was traveling backward along the Doctor's timeline, so she always knew things about what was to come for him — a fact that frustrated the Doctor to no end.
But River's story ended with a pair of appearances in Season 8. Or so we thought.
Variety is reporting today that River Song is back for the show's annual Christmas Special. But you can expect her dynamic with the Doctor to be very different now that Peter Capaldi is the show's current star. In a case of fiction mirroring real life, Kingston and Capaldi had never met or worked together before she signed on for the Christmas Special. It was written by showrunner Steven Moffat, and is being directed by Douglas Mackinnon.
"Steven Moffat is on glittering form, giving us an episode filled with humor and surprise guest castings," Kingston said. "I met Peter 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. Christmas in September? Why not!"
BBC America isn't talking about that "surprise guest castings" comment, except to say that "a range of guest stars" have been secured, and announcements will be forthcoming. Are these mystery guest stars all newcomers to the show? Or might we see a parade of guests from past seasons, like the Paternoster Gang, Craig Owens or even Jack Harkness?
Moffat, ever the tease, couldn't resist offering the following.
"The last time the Doctor saw [River] she was a ghost. The first time he met her, she died. So how can he be seeing her again? As ever, with the most complicated relationship in the universe, it's a matter of time..."
Doctor Who kicks off its ninth season on BBC America on September 19.