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Craig and the Doctor
This episode by Gareth Roberts features the first appearance of James Corden as Craig Owens. I saw this episode not at my Nana’s, but at a friend’s house in the attic when it was first transmitted on TV.
‘The Lodger’ is based on the original comic strip story by Gareth Roberts called…um, ‘The Lodger’. Steven Moffat liked the comic story so much that he asked Gareth Roberts to adapt it for TV.
In this episode, the TARDIS lands in modern-day Colchester. After the Doctor steps out, he’s blown off his feet by a blast of air. The TARDIS with Amy still inside dematerialises off into the time vortex.
Without a TARDIS, the Doctor tracks down the disturbance of the temporal anomaly to the second floor of a house. The Doctor takes a room to be a lodger there and it’s where he meets Craig Owens.
This episode is clearly a comedy drama since Gareth Roberts is pretty good at balancing both humour and drama into his ‘Doctor Who’ stories. And I have to say, ‘The Lodger’ is pretty enjoyable.
I especially like James Corden’s performance as Craig in the episode. This was the first time I saw James Corden in anything. I guessed he was a comedian and I guessed this would be an OTT performance.
But to be honest, after watching this episode a few times, I actually found James Corden really good. His performance wasn’t over-the-top and it was a comedy actor’s performance that I can believe in.
Craig is a nervous but well-mannered sort of bloke. He shared a flat with a friend called Mark before he moved out. Craig tries to advertise for a lodger, before the Doctor turns up to be his new lodger.
I like how Craig and the Doctor first meet each other. Craig considers the Doctor to be weird when they first meet, but gradually he grows to like him and even helps to defeat aliens inside the house.
Craig is also friends with Daisy Haggard as Sophie, whom he’s romantically attracted to. Craig is unable to express his feelings to Sophie, but gradually the Doctor helps him to pluck up the courage.
I like how the episode gets to show Matt Smith’s Doctor’s unique abilities as a football player. This is when the Doctor is asked to play for Craig’s football team. He manages to win all of the team’s goals!
Now me personally, I rather like the idea of the Doctor being an excellent football player. If the Doctor can do well playing cricket in ‘Black Orchid’, why can’t he do well playing football in this tale?
Craig however becomes jealous of the Doctor’s unique skills. It seems to Craig that his life is being messed about by the Doctor. The Doctor even goes to Craig’s place of work when he’s ill for the day.
Soon Craig has enough of the Doctor and asks him to leave. But the Doctor can’t leave until he solves the temporal issue. Thus he gives Craig a ‘download’ of information on who he is and why he’s here.
I found those moments funny when Craig is blabbering away on knowing who the Doctor is and that he’s a Time Lord. It’s rare that happens in ‘Doctor Who’ and something the Doctor isn’t doing again.
During the episode, Craig and the Doctor are unaware that people have been lured off the street to the second floor of the flat. This cause strange time loops to occur when the lured people get taken.
By the end of the episode, the Doctor and Craig discover the alien spaceship on the second floor, which vaguely looks like the inside of a TARDIS. The Doctor and Craig also discover Sophie in trouble.
The day is saved when Craig declares his love for Sophie and the alien spaceship flies off. Some say the resolution was poorly handled, but me personally I’m a sucker for a lovey-dovey happy ending.
Matt Smith delivers a great performance as the Doctor in this episode. This episode has him stand out when he interacts with Craig and Sophie as the Doctor gets to learn what a normal human is like.
‘The Lodger’ is what I can an enjoyably, entertaining comedy drama from Series 5 of ‘Doctor Who’. I personally liked it. Matt Smith stands out well for me as the Doctor alongside James Corden as Craig.
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 6 of ‘The Complete Series 5’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Extra Time’.
‘The Lodger’ rating – 8/10
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