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Revision as of 08:20, April 29, 2012


The Lodger was the eleventh episode of the fifth series of the revived series of Doctor Who. Based on a comic strip, it was the third instance, after Human Nature and Dalek, of a story from another medium being directly adapted for television. It is also a companion-lite story similar to Midnight, where Donna Noble was absent from most of the episode. This marks the second time in the revived series that a human has obtained knowledge of the Doctor, the first time bing The Next Doctor with Jackson Lake. It is also the first onscreen mention of what incarnation that the Doctor is currently in since Doctor Who.


A mysterious force blocks the TARDIS - with Amy inside it - from landing, keeping it stuck in a materialisation loop. It's up to the Doctor to work out what that force is, lest Amy be lost forever along with his home. As he investigates, he learns of a house on Aickman Road, with a staircase which people walk up but never come back down. To solve this mystery, the Doctor must pass himself off as a normal human and share a flat with Craig Owens.


The TARDIS materializes in a park in Colchester. The Doctor pops his head out and realizes they have not arrived at the Fifth Moon of Cindie Colesta, apologising to Amy for the mistake. But before he can pull his head back in to set the proper course, a force pushes the Doctor out and the TARDIS dematerialises with Amy still inside. A day later, a young man enters a house to help an elderly gentleman, going up to the top floor flat.

In the flat below, Craig Owens and his friend, Sophie, discuss their plans for the evening. Sophie is called away by a friend who is upset over a recent break-up, but not before pointing out a growing rot on the ceiling. Sophie subtly tries to have Craig ask her to stay, but Craig points out that they're only having pizza. Once she has gone, Craig tells himself to confess his love for Sophie the next time he sees her. The doorbell rings; believing it Sophie who has forgotten her keys (again), he opens the door, saying, "I love you." However, he then realizes it's not Sophie at the door; it's the Doctor -- "Oh, that's good to know, cause I'm your new lodger".


Craig meets the Doctor.

The Doctor takes Sophie's keys, thinking they are for him, but Craig takes them back and explains that he is not sure if he wants the Doctor here. Believing the problem may be about rent, the Doctor hands him a paper bag with some rent money in it -- three thousand pounds. The Doctor introduces himself and begins to ramble, greeting Craig with a euro kiss, thinking it's how humans greet each other. The Doctor wonders who lives in the secondary flat, only to get little information from Craig as he doesn't know much except for the occasional loud crashes from above, which occurs then. He then notices the rot stain on the ceiling of the kitchen and warns Craig to keep away from it.

The Doctor says he'll take the room, but Craig points out he hasn't even seen it yet. Taken to the empty bedroom, the Doctor is told by Craig that he shared it with the owner until a few months ago, when an uncle he never heard of left a ton of money in his will to him. The Doctor finds this oddly convenient for him, thinking to himself that he may have had a hand in it.

To ease Craig's uncertainty, the Doctor prepares omelettes for the two of them, using a strange array of ingredients. He notices a picture of Sophie and Craig taped to the refrigerator and wonders who she is; Craig explains that they work together at a call center. He quickly segues into a narrative about his job and how he could make their work more efficient, though his bosses won't listen to him because he is merely a phone drone; absently, he wonders why he's telling the Doctor all about his life when they've only just met. The Doctor jokes that he has a face people never stop blurting their plans out to.

When Craig wonders where the Doctor's luggage is, the Doctor assures him that it will materialize if all goes according to plan, confusing Craig even further. Meanwhile, the TARDIS has attempted another landing, but fails. Inside the console room, Amy screams and grips the console as the equipment backfires and sends up sparks.

After enjoying the omelettes, Craig wonders where the Doctor learned how to cook. The Doctor says Paris, in a century far back, but corrects himself until he says the 20th century. Craig wonders if the Doctor is told he's weird and the Doctor responds by telling him people never stop. Nevertheless, he agrees to let the Doctor move in and gives him a set of keys.

That night, the Doctor contacts Amy through an earpiece. The Doctor gravely informs her that whatever is preventing it from materializing properly is big -- scary big. He goes on to explain that he can't use higher technology like the sonic screwdriver, or else he will risk alerting whoever lives in the second story flat to his presence; he can only use the earpiece because anyone else hearing their conversation will think he's saying complete gibberish. Meanwhile, a young woman is lured into the flat by a man who calls for her help.

Additionally, Craig is seen speaking to Sophie over the phone; she warns him to be careful of the Doctor, suspecting that he might be a dealer because he happened to have three grand in a paper bag. Suddenly, the young woman in the upstairs flat screams, and everyone apart from the Doctor and Amy -- time travellers -- become stuck in a time loop, where their actions are repeated over and over again. The TARDIS shakes more violently; the Doctor orders Amy to use the zigzag plotter on the console to stabilize it. After getting off the phone with her, he goes out and collects parts for a scanner, returning late at night with a cartful of junk.

Lodger 1

The Doctor discovers he has mistaken a toothbrush for his sonic screwdriver

The next day, the Doctor showers (singing opera) while Craig impatiently waits in the hallway for his turn. Hearing a loud bang from the floor above, Craig goes upstairs to check on the lodger. When the Doctor realizes this, he panics and, fearing that Craig's life might be in danger, hurries to help, mistakenly grabbing Craig's toothbrush instead of the sonic screwdriver. However, there is no danger: when the elderly man answers the door, he tells Craig that he is not needed and sends him back downstairs. Sophie stops by to meet the Doctor, commenting to Craig that he didn't tell her he was hot. As the Doctor is returning to his bedroom to get dressed, Craig invites him to fill an open spot on his pub league football team, which the Doctor agrees to after, at first, mistaking a pub league for a drinking competition. The Doctor picks up on Craig and Sophie's feelings for each other and wonders how there got to be so many humans if they're always like this; unable to express their feelings to each other. While the Doctor dresses in a spare football outfit and tells Amy over the earpiece that if he stayed in the flat all the time, the "man" upstairs would get suspicious of him. Amy congratulates the Doctor on playing football, something normal. However, the Doctor is confused what it actually is, asking "is it the one with the sticks?"

Walking to the match, the Doctor is questioned again by Craig what his name is, but no avail; Sophie is okay with not knowing the Doctor's name, unlike Craig. The Doctor meets Craig's fellow football teammate, Sean, and becomes confused when asked where he is strongest on the field. Not knowing, the Doctor decides to find out by trying. As the match starts, the Doctor makes several kicks straight into the goal, showing incredible skill and talent (growing to love the game), earning cheers from the bystanders, who chant his name. By the end of the game, the Doctor has earned the admiration of the entire team, much to Craig's frustration.

While the team celebrates its win, everyone apart from the Doctor becomes stuck in another time loop as an older woman is lured into the second story flat; the TARDIS, simultaneously, begins to shake violently, but the zigzag plotter does not work this time. The Doctor informs Amy of his concern that unless he discovers what is causing the persistent time loops, she and the TARDIS could be thrown off into the time vortex with no hope for return.

Later at the flat, Craig knocks on the Doctor's room, to be surprised to see him open it, holding a traffic cone. Craig tells the Doctor that Sophie is coming over and asks the Doctor to keep out of the way for the evening (he is planning to profess his love for Sophie); the Doctor insists that Craig will hardly know he's there, but is quickly distracted by a bang from upstairs -"that's the idea". The Doctor slams the door in Craig's face before he can respond, returning to the scanner that he is constructing. Craig overhears the Doctor's exclamations, thinking he is even odder than he thought, but quickly dismisses the idea, deciding to return to his plans.

That night, Craig is about to confess his love to Sophie when she observes that the rot stain on the ceiling has gotten bigger since she last mentioned it; and then, the couple is interrupted by the Doctor, who asks Craig where the "on switch" is on a regular screwdriver. Furthering Craig's frustration, Sophie invites the Doctor to join them for a glass of wine. While the Doctor continues inspecting a variety of electrical wires for the scanner, Sophie tells him of her dreams to go to Africa and work with animals; the Doctor utilizes reverse psychology to make Sophie admit that she doesn't want to keep working in the call center, thereby inspiring her to look at care programs that will send her abroad. As Craig walks Sophie out, they talk about her dream and what could be keeping her here, but both unable to express their love; Sophie leaves. Unbeknownst to them, the "person" upstairs has overheard them and light crackles from behind the door.

Elsewhere, the Doctor has returned to his room and finishes the scanner, but the readings for the second story appear normal, a fact which disturbs him. Over the earpiece, Amy complains that something being too normal is odd to him. Taking the snide remark in stride, the Doctor orders Amy to look up the building schematics while he recruits a spy. As Craig returns to the apartment, he dismisses the Doctor's earlier warning and touches the rot stain on the ceiling, only to pull his hand back in pain.

The next morning, the Doctor has prepared breakfast for Craig, but finds him near-death in his bedroom; he hits Craig's chest to make him breathe, mixes a remedy to reverse the enzyme decay, and encourages him to get some rest. Craig protests, as he has a business meeting to attend, but soon falls asleep. Waking up mid-afternoon, Craig is horrified that he missed the business meeting and rushes off to work; however, upon arrival, he finds that the Doctor has taken his place -- not only is he rudely dealing with Craig's clients with the approval of Craig's boss, but he also presented Craig's efficient business plan at the company meeting, amazing everyone. Sophie brings the Doctor some tea and tells Craig that she is going to be able to start working with animals as a volunteer, but Craig -- who is too angry with the Doctor to realize what he is saying -- insists that he is fine with this, disappointing her. Craig is told to return home by the Doctor as he still looks pale, but it is actually his anger making him look ill. Upon returning home, Craig has had enough of the Doctor's mysteries and takes a spare key to the Doctor's room, unlocking it and discovering the scanner the Doctor has constructed.

The Doctor returns home at the end of the day and happens upon a cat that has been upstairs; the cat tells the Doctor that there are many people up there who have never come back down. Craig, who is playing darts, overhears the Doctor and looks out the peephole to see the Doctor speaking to the cat as though it were perfectly normal; he orders the Doctor to leave. Knowing that he can't leave without discovering the truth of the second lodger, the Doctor head-butts Craig to telepathically reveal his history and his true intentions; he also shows Craig a note that was left to him by Amy, though he admits that "his" Amy hasn't written it.

Sophie comes to the flat to speak to Craig, but is drawn upstairs by a little girl asking for help. A time loop ensues, but now that Craig possesses the Doctor's knowledge, he is immune to it and realizes what it means: someone is dying upstairs. He and the Doctor rush out, finding Sophie's keys in the lock to the flat and realizing that the person who has been lured up to the flat is her; as they are about to enter the flat, however, Amy contacts the Doctor with the building schematics. She assures him that he can't possibly be upstairs because the building has no upstairs. Opening the door to the flat, Craig and the Doctor discover that it is, in fact, an alien spaceship.


The space ship revealed on the roof of Craig's flat

Sophie comes out of the shadows, screaming as an invisible force pulls her towards the control console; the Doctor manages to deactivate it. A hologram materializes inside the room, explaining that it is functioning as an auto-pilot; the spaceship crashed and the captain is dead, so the hologram is now testing humans in search of a suitable replacement. However, the humans are unable to handle the stress of the controls and have burnt up, thereby causing the rot stain on Craig's ceiling; it is a stupid auto-pilot unable to learn from its mistakes. Realizing that the Doctor is an alien, the hologram begins pulling him to the console, thinking he is the correct pilot; Amy suggests that perhaps the Doctor could fly the ship safely, but the Doctor explains that he is too much for the ship and if he were to touch the console, it would not only blow up the ship, but the entire solar system. He remembers Craig's previous encounter with the "lodger," and deduces that Craig was told he wasn't needed because Craig possesses no desire to leave; Sophie, on the other hand, was pinpointed by the hologram as suitable as soon as she expressed some desire to travel to Africa. The Doctor encourages Craig to touch the console and focus on the reason he doesn't want to leave -- Sophie. Craig confesses his love to Sophie and begs her to stay; she calls him an idiot and tells him that she loves him, too, before slamming her hand on top of this. This shuts the ship down, but also causes it to implode; the trio narrowly escapes into the street, where they see the entire top floor vanish. Craig is confused as to why the passers-by did not notice the top of the flat vanish; there was no upstairs, a perception filter tricks their memories.

Later, the Doctor tries to sneak away from Craig and Sophie while they kiss, but is caught; he promises the couple that he will come back, but Craig dismisses this, knowing it's not true because he's seen the Doctor's thoughts. Nevertheless, Craig still gives the Doctor a set of keys to the flat as a gift. Reunited with Amy, the Doctor orders her to write the note to his past self, which will eventually direct him to the flat. While searching the Doctor's jacket pocket for a pen, she discovers the jewelry box containing her engagement ring. Stunned, she opens the case and examines it. Meanwhile, a crack develops in the wall behind Craig's fridge.



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics


General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


The Doctor

  • The Doctor uses a regular screwdriver and asks where the on switch is.
  • When the Doctor rushes out of the shower in fear of Craig's safety, he grabs Craig's electric toothbrush rather than his sonic screwdriver.
  • The Doctor knows how to play football.
  • After the Doctor 'shares' his knowledge with Craig, he sees brief flashes of: the Doctor's first, second, third, fourth, eighth, ninth and tenth incarnations; Cybermen, Rose Tyler, an Ood, a Racnoss, and a Weeping Angel. He also describes himself as "Eleventh" to explain himself to Craig.
  • The Doctor shares a psychic connection with a cat.
  • The Doctor introduces himself to the alien timeship as "Captain Troy Handsome of International Rescue. Please state the nature of your emergency", referencing Stingray (Captain Troy Tempest, the main hero of the show), Thunderbirds (International Rescue is the name of their organisation)[1] and Star Trek: Voyager ("Please state the nature of the medical emergency" is a line often repeated by a character also called The Doctor).
  • The Doctor sings La donna è mobile in the shower, a tune he sang previously in DW: Inferno.
  • When dressing for the football match, the Doctor asks Amy if "it's the one with the sticks"; a reference to the Fifth Doctor, who played cricket in DW: Black Orchid.


  • On Craig Owens' fridge is a postcard advertising the Vincent van Gogh exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay. (DW: Vincent and the Doctor)
  • Twice whilst in the TARDIS, Amy calls out to someone off screen then seems to forget them (DW: The Impossible Astronaut).

Foods and beverages

  • The Doctor makes himself and Craig an omelette with cheese, ham, mayonnaise and other ingredients.
  • The Doctor does not appear to enjoy wine, as after drinking some, he spits it back into the glass.
  • The Doctor uses tea to cure Craig after he is poisoned by the rot on his wall, stating that it would 'reverse the enzyme decay'.


  • Craig was offered a job in London, which he turned down. This may be a reference to the fact Moffat is keeping the fifth series away from the stereotypical setting in London.


  • After gaining the Doctor's knowledge, Craig realises that his scanning device is based on the "non-technological" technology of the Lammasteen.

Story notes

  • This episode was mistakenly entitled Reality Check.
  • The working titles for the episode were Something at the Top of the Stairs and Don't Go Up The Stairs. (REF: The Brilliant Book 2011)
  • The Lodger is also a comic strip story by Gareth Roberts. Roberts has confirmed this story is an adaptation of the basic premise of the other. However he has stated that they differ quite a lot in that the comic was written for different characters (the Tenth Doctor and Mickey Smith) and focused on the "domestic set-up" while the TV story involves "something at the top of the stairs".[2] This isn't the first adaption on the TV series, NA: Human Nature being an earlier example.
  • Several previous Doctors appeared in brief flashes when the Doctor knocked heads with Craig.
  • This is an Amy-lite episode, similar to the Donna-lite episode DW: Midnight and in the vein of the Doctor and Rose-lite episode DW: Love & Monsters and the Martha (and Doctor)-lite episode DW: Blink. However, Amy features throughout this story, while in Midnight, Donna was completely absent, apart from the beginning and the ending.
  • This is the first time in the new series that the Doctor has definitively stated how many incarnations he has had — he tells Craig he is the eleventh.
  • The Doctor wears a football kit, playing for Craig's pub team, the King's Arms. He wears a jersey with 11 on it when playing a football match, both referencing him being the Eleventh Doctor and this being the eleventh episode of Series 5.
  • The Doctor playing football in the episode is a coincidental reference to the fact that Matt Smith originally wanted to become a professional footballer before a back injury, caused him to focus on acting instead. However writer Gareth Roberts has stated that the football scene was always going to be carried over from the comic story and he began writing it prior to the casting of Smith [3].
  • The 2010 FIFA World Cup England vs USA match kicked off just as The Lodger finished, on a rival channel (ITV), the timing noted by writer Roberts as a "happy accident" [4].
  • The Doctor making Craig an omelette may be a reference to Gavin and Stacy, the series which James Corden starred in and wrote, in which the only food Stacy's mum ever seemed to cook was omelettes.
  • The Doctor wears only a blue bath towel for one scene. Matt Smith appears similarly in the show Secret Diary of a Call Girl as one of Billie Piper's clients. An online stir was caused when many viewers claimed that Smith briefly 'flashed' the camera when his towel fell. However the BBC and Smith have denied he was completely naked for that scene [5].
  • Gareth Roberts, the writer of this episode, revealed in an interview in Doctor Who Magazine Issue 423 that he had planned to use the classic enemy Meglos in this story, but decided against it after the similar-looking aliens the Vinvocci made an appearance in DW: The End of Time. The magazine also showed an early draft of the script which showed the meeting of the Eleventh Doctor and Meglos in which Meglos remembered the Doctor but the Doctor didn't remember Meglos.
  • When the Doctor hands Craig the bag of money, he tells him, "Don't spend it all on sweets." The Ninth Doctor said the same thing to Adam Mitchell when he gave him the credit stick in DW: The Long Game.
  • In interviews given in April 2011, writer Neil Gaiman revealed that his Doctor Who script (The Doctor's Wife) was originally intended to be the 11th episode of this series. When this proved to be not possible (for technical and budgetary reasons) the Neil Gaiman story was pushed back to Series 6 Episode 4, and The Lodger was commissioned instead.


Offical viewing figures was 5.98 million viewers.


  • Either the Timoreen, the Ha'rik, or the Skarkish will appear – primarily because these were all listed as "new aliens" to appear in Series 5. None of them appeared
  • This episode will be the one that features the Blue Peter Competition TARDIS console. The design itself did not appear, but another ship console design did.
  • As this episode is before the finale, it most likely will have a foreshadowing (like in DW: Fear Her and DW: The Waters of Mars) or link right into the finale (like DW: Utopia and DW: Turn Left). This was proved true.
  • It is likely that this episode will lead directly into the next as Claudio played by Marcus O'Donovan is listed to appear in both this episode and the following one, DW: The Pandorica Opens. The episode did not directly lead to the next, but it did have something very related to the next episode. (However Claudio did not appear in this episode).
  • Amy will remember, or begin to remember, Rory by the end of the episode. Although she never remembered him enough to say it, she did find her wedding ring in the Doctor's coat.

Filming locations

  • 79 Westville Road, Cardiff (Craig Owens' house)
  • Mill Gardens, Westville Road, Cardiff (where the TARDIS tries - and fails - to materialise)
  • Victoria Park, Canton, Cardiff (where the Doctor plays football)

Production errors

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When giving Craig tea through the spout of the teapot, the angle from above the Doctor shows the liquid to be clear, much unlike tea, and unlike some of the liquid which dribbles from Craig's mouth.
  • After cooking the omelette for Craig and himself the Doctor is shown licking his thumb, but in the next shot his hand is positioned differently and he is wiping his mouth with a finger.
  • When the Doctor is about to eat his custard cream biscuit, the man gives it to him then in a nano second the Doctor is already munching away at it.
  • Near the end of the episode when the alien hologram says "The correct pilot has been found" and it cuts to Amy in the TARDIS she says "He means you, Doctor, doesn't he?" Her lips don't seem to quite match what she is saying.
  • A cameraman's reflection can be seen in the painting hanging on the hallway wall when it is shown during a conversation later in the episode.
  • When Sophie looks up the stairs towards the girl, the door behind her seems to open itself. The shot then changes to show Sophie looking up at the camera as if it was upstairs. When the shot changes back to behind Sophie, the door appears to open again.
  • The second time the Doctor headbutts Craig when slowed down a little it is obvious that the Doctor's head goes nowhere near Craig's.
  • When the electric currents go on the Doctor's chest they move to his hand and in the next shot it's going from his chest to his hand again.



Home video releases


BBC Video - Doctor Who Series Five - Volume Four features Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang. It was released on Monday 6th September 2010 (UK Only) on DVD and Blu-ray.[6]

See also

External links


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