I don't watch Doctor Who on a regular basis. I know who River is. But why is it that she keeps the diary of their meetings and the doctor cannot see it?

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    Nice to see you here, will take the credit to bring you here ;). Not expertise in doctor who but your question need to re-word.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Oct 10, 2013 at 13:54
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    I have edited it but give it a check if it doesn't change the essence.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Oct 10, 2013 at 13:58
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    I'm not allowed to read my GF's diary - why should he be any different!?
    – Liath
    Oct 10, 2013 at 14:21
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    @Liath haha yes, good point, and she has an attitude with him, like that too.. ;)
    – user31942
    Oct 10, 2013 at 14:24
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    Spoilers! The stuff in River Song's diary gives away stuff that happens in the doctor's future.
    – Vik P
    Feb 4, 2014 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


In the Tardis Data Core website, it talks about this:

Upon saving the Doctor's life (after nearly killing him herself) by giving up her remaining regenerations, River ended up in the best hospital in the universe. It was there that the Doctor gave her the diary. This was done to make sure she kept track of their meetings to keep their timelines from becoming corrupted.


In the 52nd century, in Stormcage, River was writing about one of her outings with the Doctor before taking a phone call from Winston Churchill and escaping to help her husband.

After the Doctor reset the universe at the cost of his own erasure from existence, River temporarily gave her mother her diary as a wedding present to bring him back. Later, the Doctor returned the diary to River, telling her that all the writing had returned, but he hadn't peeked; foreknowledge is dangerous.

The last line spells it out. If the Doctor has the information contained in River's diary, he'd have knowledge which might be dangerous not only to himself, but to the Universe as a whole.

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    Out of everything I have read, not just on this site, this is the easiest for me to understand cheers
    – user31942
    Oct 10, 2013 at 14:07
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    River also commonly uses the term "Spoilers" to warn The Doctor about asking stuff that will happen to him in his future. Oct 11, 2013 at 11:52

River and the Doctor are both time travelers, for reasons which are never quite explained they tend to meet each other in the wrong order (as one knows more about their history the other knows less).

The diagram below shows this (click for larger version):

The Timeline of River Song

(Source: Will Brooks on Deviantart)

Through the series the diary actually pops up a few times. It was only after she met him for the first time (Let's Kill Hitler) the Doctor actually gave it her as a gift thus completing the cycle which and explaining how he ends up with the diary when he meets her for the first time (Silence in the Library).

As River has already experienced a lot of the adventures the Doctor hasn't had yet her diary contains his future. As such they've imposed a set of rules (which they jokingly remind each other as "spoilers") in reality the Doctor implies that it's very dangerous for either of them to know their own future.

  • This image is helpful ty
    – user31942
    Oct 10, 2013 at 14:06
  • Thanks, it's not great shrunk down to this size but you can google for "Doctor River timeline" and get better versions
    – Liath
    Oct 10, 2013 at 14:14
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    I never realised such a thing existed, ty :)
    – user31942
    Oct 10, 2013 at 14:15
  • @Liath ... +1 to you! Great stuff. Oct 10, 2013 at 14:40

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