River Song reached

her final incarnation with Alex Kingston in "Silence in the Library" where she dies but at the start of the same incarnation in "Let's kill hitler" she doesn't know who The Doctor is.

However, she often refers to how young the doctor is but assuming that Alex Kingston is in fact human, she will only be able to convincingly play the part of River Song for another few years without aging.

Unless the doctor suddenly gains an extraordinary number of years off camera then why does she often refer to how young he is?

  • 1
    When that episode was filmed, the makers didn't know who was going to play Eleven. In fact, they were planning on using an older actor for the role.
    – Mr Lister
    Feb 3, 2013 at 22:27
  • 8
    I had thought that River meant a kind of psychological age (seeing age in the eyes) not physiological age. E.g., the Doctor might have appeared "older" just after the Time War than after being 'rejuvenated' by being with Rose. Feb 4, 2013 at 1:55
  • 4
    I think she almost has to mean psychological age, given the way the scene plays out. She doesn't say "you're so young" immediately on seeing his face; it happens after she gets a really good look at him...
    – Micah
    Feb 4, 2013 at 4:51
  • 1
    You might consider editing your question to clarify what you mean. At first you're talking about the 10th Doctor but then you're talking about River's aging (instead of the Doctor's). It's just confusing. Clarifying your question will attract better answers too. :)
    – RedCaio
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:59

2 Answers 2


After the Doctor pointed out the futility of commenting on his apparent age by physical appearance, she countered by making explicit reference to his eyes. Eyes have been indicated to be a decent indication of true age, at least to other Time Lord-type people.


The Doctor did gain an extraordinary number of years off camera (roughly 200), during season 6. Presumably that could keep happening, or maybe that bunch is enough to account for it.

Additionally, it's possible that the Doctor and River will keep meeting off camera even after she stops appearing in episodes. You can make a reasonable case that River probably meets subsequent regenerations of the Doctor, even though we have no reason to believe that Alex Kingston will necessarily be cast in post-Smith episodes of the show.

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