First Broadcast June 12th, 2010 @ 6.45pm (6.44m viewers)
The premise of this episode centres on the idea of the Doctor having to become domesticated, to go undercover as a typical guy and housemate of Smithy from ‘Gavin and Stacey’, inspired by a comic strip featured in Doctor Who Magazine. It is said that the best Doctor Who stories are those which would be just as effective even with a different Doctor/companion combination. This would not be true of ‘The Lodger’, can you imagine Hartnell or Tom Baker taking the Doctor’s role in this story? It would not be effective in the slightest. However, this is not to dismiss the story but in reality, it’s effectiveness is down to new Doctor Matt Smith and his relationship with guest actor, James Corden.
It is a bit facetious to label Corden’s performance as a rehash of his Smithy persona. Corden used a lot of himself in Smithy because he is just a normal, down to Earth guy, except now he has a major TV show in the US. Full-time companion Karen Gillan is largely absent and so Matt Smith gets to share a lot of the screen with Corden and the two bond instantaneously, off-screen as well as on seen during the accompanying edition of Doctor Who Confidential. Although not originally intended to feature in this series it is actually the perfect script to allow the new Eleventh Doctor to flourish and show more sides to his character, released from the seriousness of alien threats. The story is perhaps as close to soap opera as Doctor Who is likely to become with the resolution crucial on Craig expressing his love for Sophie, a soppy direction which will hopefully not reappear in the future.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
Sport in Doctor Who is a rarity. The Fifth Doctor adored cricket, playing it impressively in ‘Black Orchid’ and further references to the sport were seen in ‘Four to Doomsday’ and ‘The Horns of Nimon’, with the TARDIS even interrupting a match in the eighth episode of ‘The Dalek Master Plan’. Football, however, had not ever been featured on screen before, but did occasionally in other media, so to see the Doctor lace up a pair of boots was unexpected, to say the least. This story will I’m sure always stand out to Matt Smith as memorable because he was able to play football, a career he had intended to pursue before it was scuppered by injury. Whilst a deliberate choice to appeal to the leading man, the football also serves as an important shift in the plot as Craig stops being bewildered by the Doctor’s quirkiness and starts to question things, leading us to the episode’s conclusion.
The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Craig – James Corden
Sophie – Daisy Haggard
Steven – Owen Donovan
Sean – Babatunde Aleshe
Michael – Jem Wall
Sandra – Karen Seacombe
Clubber – Kamara Bacchus
Writer – Gareth Roberts
Producer – Tracie Simpson
Director – Catherine Morshead
Also First Aired On This Day…
- The Chase : Journey into Terror
- The Dæmons : Episode Four
- Doctor Who Confidential : Extra Time