Steven Moffat explains exactly when the Doctor Who Christmas special takes place in River Song’s life

The showrunner also reveals that this could have been his final episode

The Doctor and River Song are the ultimate on-again-off-again couple. Due to the vagaries of time travel, sometimes they’re married, and sometimes they don’t know each other at all.


We already know that River will appear in this year’s Christmas special, and that she doesn’t recognise the Doctor, but we didn’t know when exactly the story will take place. 

Until Steven Moffat told us in this week’s edition of the Radio Times. 

“It doesn’t really matter, but for those who care,” (it does matter, and we do, Steven) “it’s immediately after The Angels Take Manhattan [2012].”

For those without instant recall of our story guide (shame on you) the Moff clarifies the timeline: “River’s just seen Matt Smith’s Doctor lose Amy and Rory, and obviously before The Name of the Doctor [2013] because she’s dead in that.” 

Speaking of ending things, Moffat also revealed that this might have been his last ever Doctor Who episode.

“We’ve just lost Clara, so I didn’t want to go straight into a new companion,” he went on. “I’ll be honest, I brought River Song back in because I thought there was a possibility I’d never write it [Doctor Who] again so that’d be my goodbye.”

Please, we’ve had all the goodbyes we can take recently.


Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times, available in stores and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 24th November