S31 (5) 11 – The Lodger

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    Craig @craig

    The Doctor must solve the mystery of a staircase that people go up but never go down. This episode introduces Craig Owens, played by James Corden. I like to think Moffat named him after me after I accosted him in the street, but that’s highly unlikely. 😀

    You can watch it here until 19 January:

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    S31 (5) 11 – The Lodger (repeat, BBC3 7.45pm Sat 19 January 2013)

    What the Dan Martin Guardian Blogs thought at the time can be accessed here. (and congratulations @janetteb – you made your first comment on this blog).

    In figures: Overnight figures were 4.6m, timeshift figures were 6.44m. Audience Appreciation Index (AI) was 87 (Excellent).

    Of interest: This episode was placed aganst a world cup match between England and the USA, and featured Matt Smith’s football skills.

    With guest appearances by James Corden and Daisy Haggard, this saw writer Gareth Roberts update a comic strip story he wrote that featured the Doctor sharing Mickey Smith’s flat for a while. As well as the general hilarity, the story saw the introduction of another time machine, and posed the question – who has that power?

    Thoughts on this welcome.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    A personal favourite. The football game alone is worth the price of admission.

    Since first watching the episode, I will quite often turn to Mrs Blenkinsop at the end of the day: “Pizza, booze, telly?”

    janetteB @janetteb

    The Lodger was an excellent episode which nicely plays upon the Doctor as alien. He is so often the all knowing genius. It was nice to see him both being inept and brilliant. It was also a reminder that he is a normally a tourist on earth. In this episode he become “an expat” which is a whole different ball game. (Tourist language guides don’t tell you how to read bills in a foreign language for instance). Craig was a brilliant foil for the Dr and I think deserves to be elevated to assistant status.



    ScaryB @scaryb

    Just for info, this is what we said before on Dan Martin’s blog

    I suspect this is one of those episodes which has grown in people’s affections/appreciation in time. Tho the response was generally positive, it suffered from being straight after the Van Gogh one, with its place in the overall arc not yet being clear.

    And we still don’t know who/what was building the time machine  If a very similar design hadn’t turned up with the Silence I might just have been prepared to go with it’s being a random off-course, on auto pilot time machine. But having reintroduced it, I’ll be disappointed if they don’t revisit it.

    Re original broadcast coinciding with the World Cup – I’m always impressed with the obv forward planning of the episodes – original broadcasts often coincide with big current events (esp UK ones) that reflect events in-episode – see also Easter, gen election etc. Gives it that added frisson. (And possible legs to @blenkinsopthebrave‘s 4th wall theory)

    janetteB @janetteb

    I think some of the negative comments were related more to the casting of James Cordon rather than the episode itself. A lot of U.K viewers had a negative predisposition toward the episode because of  his former T.V. appearances. As an Aussie, who had never seen or heard of the actor before, I was not influenced by that knowledge; a rare instance where ignorance is a blessing. Ialso remember enjoying reading all the discussion about it on line. I don’t think I posted much then if at all because anything I wanted to say would inevitably have already been said.

    I doubt the glaring questions raised in the episode will ever be answered my suspicion is that each series must be narratively self supporting.



    Anonymous @

    Just rewatched this, so here’s a few thoughts:

    It’s not in my top tier of favourite episodes – more a second division one perhaps. And I’m not sure why. It’s got a great script and Matt Smith is wonderful in it. One of his best turns as the Doctor, I’d say.

    James Corden is also good in this and I blame this episode for making me think for a while that he wasn’t in fact a truly annoying, self-obsessed prat. He’s since returned to form and I won’t be fooled again. But while he’s really rather good in this episode, I think it’s actually Daisy Haggard that makes the episode. Her absence from Closing Time for me was acutely felt and that episode was largely a failure, I think and served to illustrate that Craig wouldn’t be a good idea for a permanent companion unless Sophie was in tow.

    That TARDIS in the loft bugs me — as does the fact that it looks suspiciously like a Jagaroth spaceship (especially with the splintered in time aspect of Clara now). I don’t think it can be a coincidence that this console room is also where the Silence hang out. It’s possible of course that it was a production decision and that they didn’t want to build a new set for the Silence and that this was really rather a cool set. It’s definitely significant and I think will be hopefully returned to later.

    I did wonder, whether the Silence are actually present in this episode and just using their powers of memory wiping on both the characters and the audience. I’ve also been wondering if the Silence have something to do with the Time Lords — maybe some wraith-like manifestation of the ones stuck in the Time Lock, or some sort of biological weapon that they unleashed before being trapped (a la The Apocalypse Device. Fans of Dr Who Weekly will know what I’m talking about here.)

    But rewatching these episodes has made me realise just what a belter of a season this one was. There’s hardly a bad episode and even the poorer ones are still really quite watchable — largely down to the leads I reckon but also the nice, twisty turny arc. Best season overall of nu-Who I reckon.)

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I think that this season was the one where Moffat either wasn’t entirely sure he’d keep the job, or knew he had to grab his audience for his new Doctor. So he did a season that mirrors the lead up to the 50th, but was self-contained within the one season. 

    Every series since has been part of the lead-up to the 50th – which is why it hasn’t felt quite so great. We’re still only part-way through the story.

    But yeah, there’s more to this story than first appears. The disruptions in time mirror the cracks in the universe, that ruddy spaceship  and the identity of the pilot is never explained. And while they certainly reused built sets, they usually repainted/redressed to make it look different.

    And the perception filter is big. Again. There’s a perception filter and everyone’s missing what’s in front of their nose.

    But the chief joy of this episode is that it’s simply charming. The Doctor is a hilarious fish out of water, James Corden and Daisy Haggard play their love story beautifully,  and the football fits seamlessly into the episode. 

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    I’m still convinced we will revisit the Moff mysteries as yet unsolved, some of them apparent in this episode.

    Amy is trapped in a time-loop in the TARDIS with a count-down. This mirrors the way in which River is trapped in a time-loop inside the exploding TARDIS later on in The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang. It also mirrors the count-down which Amy is forced to go through by the Weeping Angels during the Crash of the Byzantium. Pretty sure both count-downs are from Eleven… 10, 9, 8 etc…

    The same entity probably trapped Amy and River in the TARDIS on each occasion – the one with the “silence will fall” hissing voice would be my guess. And “it” (my theory is perhaps that it’s The Valeyard) is responsible for the strange TARDIS at the top of Craig’s house and again in the bowels of the Kennedy space-centre / Silence lair.

    These count-downs could link to a story where all the previous incarnations of the Doctor are “counted down from”.

    If you are going to do a Valeyard story/ deal with the Valeyard and then give the Doctor a whole new bunch of regenerations going forward, the 50th seems like a good time to do it.



    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I still think this is a genuinely good comedic tale with an interesting sting at the end. At this point, I think I’d guess Moffat had the shape of the River Song storyline and knew it would play out over multiple time periods. To accomplish that, he needed the adversary to have access to their own time travel technology, and hence a glimpse of a time machine.

    The problem was, of course, that the Silence hadn’t been fully built at that time (their development was in the series 6 budget), so no reference or visual aid to the mystery could be provided. In retrospect it would be great to engineer a scene where the hologram changes form at the end for a brief glimpse of a Silent, which could have led to more speculation, especially if a script indicated that image was soon forgotten.

    Still love the “International rescue” and Star Trek Voyager in-jokes. Robert “Please state the nature of the medical emergency” Picardo was seen sporting a Who T-shirt at the SDCC, so I hope he enjoyed it.

    Anonymous @

    I don’t think the Valeyard is going to make an appearance — or is that ‘hope’? I seem to remember reading a Moffatt interview where he said he really disliked the Valeyard idea and I have to say I agree with him. I always got the impression it was something made up by Robert Holmes when the future of the series looked pretty doubtful and he thought ‘I might as well, we’re never going to get to incarnation 10 or 11 anyway.’ I think it’s much more likely that the ‘big bad’ for year 50 will be Omega, rather than the Valeyard (assuming of course that they’re not somehow one and the same).

    I’m pretty much convinced that there’s going to be a ‘reset’ with a whole new set of regenerations though and I’m sure that this weird TARDIS and the Silence thing is going to get referenced again. The question still remains whose TARDIS is it — the Master’s (I mean, his must be floating around somewhere), or if it’s an attempt to build one then maybe it is Omega’s, or even an attempt by a ‘second’ Doctor to build his own, that’s now fallen into Silence hands?

    janetteB @janetteb

    Well observed. My remark was reminiscent of that which I made on the other Lodger thread. Relieved to see that mycomments are consistent, even if mostly wrong… I don’t think I want to know about some of my sillier past theories.



    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Dear blue-fish @juniperfish  who do you think the pseudo-TARDIS at the top of Craig’s house belongs to?

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Dear orange-fish @juniperfishmwwwa ha ha <regenerates via spontaneous parthenogenesis into clone-duplicate>

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Yes – slight dulpication of effort in this one. How mad is your other post going to look when I blitzkreig this post though?

    Your going to be talking to thin air! You mad woman, you!?

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @phaseshift Cruelly separated from my other self – it’ll be Ten/ Rose all over again 🙂

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    In all seriousness thanks for the support on the thread idea.

    I think that could work, looking at interpretations of The Doctor (even for us retrospectives) over the years. I thought your argument was worth pursuing, but not in that thread.

    I do have more to say, but that thread is more about personal memories, than an analysis of the show or character itself. I’d be intrigued to see how a thread like that would play out over months of debating over various Doctors.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    It is cold here on our island outpost in Canada, so Mrs Blenkinsop and I just re-watched (for the umpteenth time) “The Lodger”.

    What a wonderful episode. “Kiss the girl!”

    A wonderful pisode.


    janetteB @janetteb

    wow. This thread had been dormant for a long time. Looking at the date on Phaseshift’s post reminds me of how old this forum is.

    @blenkinsopthebrave The Lodger is a fun episode. Maybe not being familiar with James Cordon helps as I found the report between him and the Doctor to be delightful. I also enjoy Closing Time. Whenever The Doctor attempts to be human we are reminded of how alien he is.



    winston @winston

    @blenkinsopthebrave This is one of my feel better episodes that I play because it always cheers me up. The Doctor playing soccer and working at the call center are fun to watch as is the cute relationship between Craig and Sophie. Being a massive animal lover and Doctor Dolittle fan I love when the Doctor talks to the animals, the cat in this case.

    I think that the entity luring unfortunate people to their deaths is one of the most menacing of the Who baddies wrapped up inside a comedy\romance.

    I often watch this one and then Closing Time right after like a 2 parter. I love little Stormy.

    Rewvian @rewvian

    So this episode had James Corden, I recognize him now though back when this episode came out I didn’t know who he was.  I still don’t really watch his show or anything, I just know of him.  It was sort of an Amy-lite episode.

    The Doctor’s TARDIS stops being able to land, so Amy is being transported around while the Doctor looks for the source of the thing keeping the TARDIS from landing.  The thing just so happens to be in a building shared with two downstairs tenants.  Random people off the streets keep getting tricked into coming upstairs to help someone that lives there, and vanish.

    Craig is looking for a roommate and the Doctor shows up to take the room, winning him over with his weirdness and good omelet cooking.  Throughout the episode the Doctor makes a habit of greeting acquaintances by kissing the air above each of their shoulders, which becomes pretty funny the more it happens.  Craig eventually invites the Doctor to a soccer game and the Doctor wins the match, then there’s a funny exchange about being against any sort of violence and being “the Oncoming Storm” after one of the players says they’re going to annihilate the other team next time.

    Craig also has a problem saying how he feels about his lady friend Sophie.  The Doctor begins gradually getting in the way of Craig’s plans and even convinces Sophie to travel abroad and become an orangutan doctor, in an annoying sort of What About Bob? way.  The Doctor keeps stealing Craig’s thunder by playing soccer and doing his job better than him, leading Craig to want to return the rent money and kick the Doctor out.

    Eventually the Doctor head-bumps Craig to telepathically bring him up to speed.  Everyone goes upstairs, learning that the building doesn’t have an upstairs, and find that someone is trying to build something like a TARDIS.  (Which is why the TARDIS is having trouble landing.)  The monster responsible is never actually shown, but the many incarnations of the upstairs neighbor are shown to be a hologram that seeks out people to attempt to use the machine.

    In an ending I don’t quite understand, Craig and Sophie are able to stop the machine because they are content living in the flat, and have no desire to go anywhere else.  By trying to activate it despite being rejected as pilots for the device, they ultimately destroy it and cause the ship to implode.  This act also gives Craig the courage to say he loves Sophie, starting their relationship.

    At the end of the episode Craig gives the Doctor a set of his keys to keep.

    All in all not a bad episode.  I guess it was based off of a comic by the same name, featuring the Tenth Doctor and Mickey in the same situation as the Eleventh Doctor and Craig.  If you ask me this episode sounds like the better story, since the Doctor was essentially a stranger to Craig and came off as being more weird.  It was also a fun one-off episode leading into the 2-part season finale.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @rewvian I was wondering what to watch this evening and came across your post – so I just watched The Lodger because, why not. Your review pretty much says it all, here’s a few random comments that struck me.

    The chemistry between Craig and Sophie is obvious right from the start, just they’re both too timid to admit it. And here comes the Doctor, now that will really help.

    “Have some rent” – gives Craig a brown paper bag full of twenties. If I saw that I’d suspect the Doc had just robbed a bank. “They call me The Doctor” – at this point I’d start running for my life.

    “CRAIG: Yeah, this is Mark’s old room. He owns the place. Moved out about a month ago. This uncle he’d never even heard of died and left a load of money in the will.” Something makes me suspect the uncle might have been known as Doctor?

    I do like the little touch of the Van Gogh exhibition poster on the fridge.

    So then the Doctor proceeds to dominate Craig’s pub football side like a pro. Sure way to make himself popular.

    I notice that the control for the zigzag plotter (in the Tardis) is actually the gear selector gate off a preselector gearbox c.1950 vintage truck.

    Craig (unlike most of humanity apparently) actually knows who the Doctor is when shown his previous personae.

    The reason the timeship didn’t want Craig for a pilot is because he’s perfectly happy exactly where he is. Presumably Craig and Sophie both being oerfectly happy with each other is too much for the timeship’s circuits. Or something.

    I quite like this little episode. In one aspect it’s reminiscent of Girl in the Fireplace – the lost spaceship looking for a pilot. No big monsters, just a small glitch in the machine, quietly killing people one a at time when they’re incompatible with it.

    winston @winston

    @dentarthurdent  This is one of those episodes that I watch quite often because I like seeing the Doctor off the Tardis and out of his comfort zone. A fish out of water story. The difference between the comedy on the first floor and the horror on the “second floor” makes it very chilling. And that killer black mold growing on the ceiling is disgusting.

    I still think that the kitty is a brave little spy, its good that the Doctor understands cat.

    stay safe


    janetteB @janetteb

    @rewvian @dentarthurdent and @winston

    Like Winston this is an episode  that I frequently re-watch. It is one part whimsy and one part horror but the latter is subtle and it features a cat.

    I do like the reminder that the Doctor is not human. He/she appears human and at times it is easy to forget that the Doctor is alien. Seeing the Doctor not quite “getting” how to live as a human is delightful.

    Like @rewvian I had not heard of James Corden until this episode so had no prior bias for or against, similarly with Katherine Tate which was advantageous. Likewise had I witnessed Bradley Walsh doing his game show routine at the Laundromat then I might have been more biased against his character as well.  (our washing machine is currently out of order and every time we go to the laundromat whatever game show it is that he hosts is up on screen. Definitely too much Bradley Walsh for my taste.)



    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @janetteb I too had never heard of James Corden, or Catherine Tate (or Billy Piper for that matter). I had heard of Capaldi of course. I have to admit I instinctively disliked Donna simply because of her first appearance, crashing into the Doctor’s grief over losing Rose. Which was quite unfair to Catherine Tate, I think she could be a much more sympathetic actor than that.

    I knew Bradley Walsh well from The Chase and that did get in the way of watching him play Graham on Who. I think I liked Dan better as a companion.
    Bradley is fine on the Chase, which is the only game show I watch, in fact. I used to watch Pointless when it was on. The missus watches Tipping Point while I diplomatically try not to audibly question where they find these ignoramuses who know absolutely nothing of geography, history, physics or chemistry (while, I have to admit, knowing much more than me about soap actors, modern pop stars (i.e. from this century), cookery and footballers).

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @einston Yes, I do love that the Doctor understands cat. Watching the Doctor trying to be ‘human’ is almost painful. Actually very good writing, and acting, I think – it takes some skill to make his performance subtly ‘wrong’. Like someone tone deaf trying to play an instrument.

    winston @winston

    @dentarthurdent and @janetteb  I had never seen or heard of any of them either so they were all new to me except of course Capaldi and Walsh, and I knew Walsh only from Coronation Street. We get Corrie here but not the game shows although I have heard of some of them.

    Since I was a child I have loved all animals and most creatures (not mosquitos and biters)and it was my greatest wish as child to talk to animals. The Doctors ability to talk to and understand animals has always made me happy.

    If I could talk to mosquitoes, black flies and other nasty things they would blush and then probably bite me.

    Stay safe

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @winston I have to admit I sometimes talk to animals, though I never get a reply back from them so I guess that’s not really what you were talking about. 🙂
    I don’t usually talk to nasty bitey things, though I do have an incurable habit of talking to inanimate objects such as inaccessible bits of car, usually along the lines of “Get in that ***** ***** hole, you **** **** **** bolt!”. After which it usually bites me.
    I also credit my car with a personality, such that I apologise profusely to it if I miss a gearchange or hit a pothole.

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