Back in April, there was a brilliant post on The Anti Room about great female TV characters, where Lisa listed eight of her favourites. Since the crafty bastards of Doctor Who have now left us hanging until autumn with their infuriating mid-season break, I've come to realise that I very definitely have a new TV heroine that would rank most highly indeed if I ever got around to compiling such a list of my own. I refer, of course, to the bouncy-haired, wisecracking, ass-kicking, Doctor-baiting River Song, played by Alex Kingston.
I have to admit that when River made her first appearance, stomping into the David Tennant-era episode Silence In The Library with her white spacesuit and spoiler-laden diary, I found her smug and kind of annoying. However, now that she's turned up so frequently in the new series as she works her way back along the mind-bending timeline she shares with the Doctor, I've realised that she's actually a fantastic addition to the series and a marvellous character in her own right.
River is a time-travelling archeologist adventurer, kind of like Indiana Jones in space, and a ferociously smart, funny woman who's more than a match for the Doctor. She switches with ease between guns (laser or otherwise) and hallucenogenic lipstick, leaving anyone who gets in her way either dead or completely bewildered as to what's just happened. She's not a lady to be trifled with and will do anything to save those she cares about.
Apart from the fact that she's a strong, fearless, astoundingly fun and relentlessly flirty character, she also has by far the most impressive and varied costume wardrobe on the show. She's liable to pop up in anything, ranging from a saucy cat-burglar outfit, a Victorian gown, a delightfully steampunky white jacket and brown leather combination, or a campy Egyptian queen disguise, having tricked some centurions into believing that she's Cleopatra, through the use of her bewitching lipstick.
On top of all that, she also gets some of the best lines since the beginning of the entire Doctor Who reboot.
Anita: How do you know they're not androids.
River: Because I've dated androids. They're rubbish.
Lux: Professor Song, why am I the only one wearing my helmet?
River: Because I don't fancy you.
River: Like I said on the dancefloor, you might want to find something to hang on to.
The Doctor: You graffitied the oldest cliff in the universe!
River: You wouldn't answer your phone!
The Doctor: Oh and this is my friend River. Nice hair, clever, has her own gun. Oh, and unlike me she really doesn't mind shooting people. I shouldn't like that, kinda do a bit.
River: Thank you, sweetie.
The Doctor: I know you're team players and everything, but she'll definitely kill the first three of you.
River: Oh, the first seven; easily.
The Doctor: Seven? Really?
River: Oh, eight for you honey.