Here are some quotes from interviews with Alex Kingston, who’s about to return to ‘Doctor Who’ as River Song. Mild spoilers ahead:
On watching ‘Doctor Who’ as a child
I used to watch through a crack in the door. I would drive my mother crazy, because she would say ‘Oh, turn it off if you get so scared!’, but no, no, I want to watch it. But that’s children. That’s how you learn to conquer your fears, by sort of safely putting yourself in that thrill zone.
There was one where the Daleks invaded the London Underground. And still, if I’m waiting for a Tube, I look down the hole and I can see the Daleks coming through – I still have that.
On working with David Tennant
We hit it off immediately. We just clicked. I’ve done guest roles on other shows, but rarely have I felt such a warm bond.
On the differences between ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘ER’.
The budgets are smaller (on ‘Doctor Who’) but everyone works just as hard. Someone told me I’m going to get a River Song action figure. I don’t quite believe it. You don’t get that on ‘ER’.
On returning for season 5.
When I first accepted the role of River Song, I thought it was just going to be those two episodes, particularly because she died at the end. So when I was asked to come back, I thought it was a little strange, but when I read the scripts for these two episodes it made total, perfect sense why she’s back. And I’m really happy to (come back), because I think the character is a really strong, meaty character, and I think we can run quite far with her, if Steven Moffat chooses to.
I’m not sure if I can tell you the story of her comeback to the series. All I can say is that in the ‘Silence in the Library’ episodes, she arrived with her diary, with her little blue diary, and in that diary she has pictures of all the Doctors. And she asked the David Tennant Doctor, what adventures they had been on, and so she asked questions like ‘Have we done the crash of the Byzantium?’, ‘Have we done the opening of the Pandorica?’, and he didn’t know what he was talking about. Well, the two episodes we’ve just finished filming are the crash of the Byzantium.
River has been released from jail. She has a special dispensation to be released from jail for this mission, because no-one else can do this mission, no-one else has the qualifications. She basically has a hunch that one of these Weeping Angel statues is in the hands of a private collector, and she needs to confirm that it is one, and she needs the Doctor’s help for that.
On the Doctor’s real name
I haven’t even told Matt what his real name is. I might tell Steven Moffat.
On working with Matt Smith
I think they were very clever shooting these episodes out of sequence, because for Matt, and for Karen who plays Amy, the pressure on them to have found their feet in the first episode, when everybody’s going to be watching – the press, the media, critics, everyone – is going to be huge, so that sort of took the pressure off them. And I think that’s maybe why I was brought in, because I’d done it before… to support them, really, and particularly to support Matt. But, to be honest, he didn’t need it. He sails through, absolutely sails through. He’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic. He has a very large pair of shoes to fill, that David Tennant left, and he’s going to fill them easily.
On her future in ‘Doctor Who’
All I can say is: the opening of the Pandorica (smiles).