TARDIS Index File

The Lodger (TV story)

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The Lodger
Novelised as: The Lodger
Adapted from: The Lodger
Doctor: Eleventh Doctor
Companion(s): Amy
Featuring: Craig, Sophie
Main enemy: 79B Aickman Road
Main setting: Colchester, 2010
Key crew
Writer: Gareth Roberts
Director: Catherine Morshead
Producer: Tracie Simpson
Release details
Story number: 211
Season/series: Series 5
Premiere broadcast: 12 June 2010
Premiere network: BBC One
Format: 1 x 45 minute episode
Production code: 5.11
Confidential: Extra Time
←Previous Next→
Vincent and the Doctor The Pandorica Opens
Production order
Amy's Choice The Pandorica Opens
Official trailer
Doctor Who - The Lodger trailer - BBC One00:20

Doctor Who - The Lodger trailer - BBC One

Memorable moment


Another memorable moment
Craig asks The Doctor to leave - Doctor Who - BBC01:35

Craig asks The Doctor to leave - Doctor Who - BBC

One more memorable moment
Alien space ship - Doctor Who - BBC02:55

Alien space ship - Doctor Who - BBC

The Lodger was the eleventh episode of the fifth series of the revived series of Doctor Who. Based on a comic strip of the same name, it was the third instance, after Human Nature and Dalek, of a story from another medium being directly adapted for television. It was also a companion-lite story, somewhat like Midnight. This adventure provided the first hints of the Silent's presence on Earth, though they were not seen until the following season. It's further suggested by the events of Day of the Moon, that the auto-pilot's actions were accidentally sparked by the Doctor; the Silents present in the familiar control room were all killed by River Song during their rescue of Amy, thus leaving no-one to pilot the ship.

The Lodger introduced recurring character Craig Owens and his girlfriend Sophie. Craig especially would play an integral part in the following series. The actor portraying his character, James Corden, was also a close friend of Matt Smith. They engaged in several humorous shenanigans on set, as seen in Doctor Who Confidential and in the extras for the Series 5 releases.

Synopsis Edit

A mysterious force blocks the TARDIS — with Amy inside it — from landing, keeping it stuck in a materialization loop. It's up to the Doctor to work out what that force is, lest Amy be lost forever along with his home/motor. As he investigates, the Doctor 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.

Plot Edit

The TARDIS materialises in a park in Colchester. The Doctor pops his head out and realizes they have not arrived at the Fifth Moon of Sinda Callista, apologizing to Amy for the mistake. Before he can pull his head back in to set the proper course, a jolt pushes the Doctor outside as the door closes and the TARDIS dematerialises, with a screaming Amy still inside. The Doctor is left on his back, looking completely shocked; he begins worrying for both Amy and the TARDIS's safety.

Later, a young man enters a house to help an elderly gentleman calling to him for assistance, so he goes up to the top floor flat. In the flat below, Craig Owens and his friend, Sophie, discuss their usual plans for the evening - "pizza, booze, telly." She points out that a rot stain on the ceiling is growing before receiving a call from her friend Melina, who is upset over a recent break-up. She packs up her things, ready to go comfort her friend. However, 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 (as usual), he opens the door, saying, "I love you." However, he then realises 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. The Doctor 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, a good buddy of his, 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 - time travel, both helpful and inconvenient depending on what the situation is.

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 centre. 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. He absently wonders why he's telling the Doctor all about his life when they've only just met. The Doctor half-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 materialise if all goes according to plan, confusing Craig even further. Meanwhile, the TARDIS has attempted another landing at the park, but fails. Inside the console room, Amy screams and grips the console as the equipment backfires and sends up sparks; she yells at the time machine, demanding to know why it won't land. The TARDIS vanishes again, stuck in a materialization loop.

After enjoying the omelettes, Craig wonders where the Doctor learned how to cook. The Doctor says Paris, in the 18th century, then corrects himself until he says the recent 20th century. Craig wonders if the Doctor is told he's weird and the Doctor responds by telling him people never stop. Craig explains that he doesn't like traveling, prompting the Doctor explain that it's obvious by the state of Craig's sofa; he's starting to look like it. Amused, Craig decides that even through the Doctor is weird, he can cook, which is all he needs to know; he gives the Doctor a set of keys.

That night, the Doctor contacts Amy through an earpiece; he asks her what she knows about what normal human men do, finding her answers -drinking and playing football - easy to do, but inticing. Amy holds the phone to the TARDIS engine, letting the Doctor know it's stuck in a materialization loop to try landing; he then gravely explains whatever is preventing it from landing is big — scary big. To stay incognito, he must avoid using alien tech like the sonic screwdriver, or risk alerting whoever lives on the second floor. He can only use the earpiece because anyone else hearing their conversation will think he's saying complete gibberish, due to a built-in scrambler. Meanwhile, a young woman is lured into the flat by a man who calls for her help. Craig overhears the Doctor through the wall, and just as the Doctor had told Amy, all that can be heard are silly sentences formed of random words.

Craig speaks to Sophie over the phone, she warns him to be careful of the Doctor, suspecting that he might be a drug 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 and 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 cart full 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 realises this, he panics. Fearing that Craig's life might be in danger, he 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 , the King's Arms, 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 he 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 as to 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), and 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, Sean says that with the Doctor, they'll annihilate the other teams. The Doctor mistakes this for actual killing and begins to give a speech, but then realises his mistake and offers his assistance in football whenever they need it. Just then, 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 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, 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, when Craig is about to confess his love to Sophie, she observes the rot has gotten bigger since she last mentioned it. They are then 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 uses reverse psychology to make Sophie admit she doesn't want to keep working in the call centre, thereby inspiring her to look at care programs to send her abroad. As Craig walks Sophie out, they talk about her dream and what could be keeping her here. With 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 cleans up, he decides to investigate the rot. Ignoring the Doctor's warning, he touches the rot, only to pull his hand back in pain.

The next morning, the Doctor has prepared breakfast for Craig, but finds him in a near-death state in his bedroom. The Doctor examines Craig's hand to find that he's been poisoned by the rot; frustrated by Craig's stupidity, the Doctor says he gave fair warning not to touch the obviously poisonous rot. 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 mid-afternoon, Craig is horrified he missed the business meeting and rushes off to work. There, he finds the Doctor is rudely dealing with his clients with his boss's approval, and took his place at the meeting. Sophie brings the Doctor some tea and tells Craig that she is going to start working with animals as a volunteer, but Craig — who is blinded by anger — insists he is fine, disappointing her. Craig is told to return home by the Doctor as he looks pale; Craig storms off in response. 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 he sent upstairs. The Doctor interprets from the cat 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. Craig asks the Doctor to leave, even showing he knows about the odd device; the Doctor tries passing it off as art. However, seeing that there is no other way to convince Craig, the Doctor head-butts Craig to telepathically reveal his history and his true intentions. He shows Craig a note that was left to him by Amy, though he admits that "his" Amy hasn't written it... yet.

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 realises what it means: someone is dying upstairs. They rush out, finding Sophie's keys in the lock to the flat and realizing she was lured upstairs. About to enter, they are contacted by Amy, who explains the building schematics haven't an upstairs. Opening door, Craig and the Doctor discover the flat is actually a spaceship.


The spaceship 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 materialises 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. The Doctor calls it a stupid auto-pilot because it is 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.

The Doctor 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 his. This shuts the ship down, but also causes it to implode. The trio narrowly escapes into the street, where they see the spaceship appear in place of the false second floor before vanishing into oblivion. Craig is confused as to why the passers-by did not notice the top of the flat vanish. The Doctor explains a perception filter tricked their memories.

Crack Behind Craig's Fridge

A crack begins to open in Craig's flat.

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 back in the TARDIS, 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 jewellery box containing her engagement ring. Stunned, she opens the case and examines it. Meanwhile, a crack develops in the apartment wall behind Craig's fridge. The crack widens with brilliant light spilling out. In the TARDIS, Amy stares ahead with a very confused and scared look on her face.

Cast Edit

Uncredited cast Edit

Crew Edit

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.

References Edit

Individuals Edit

Events Edit

Foods and beverages Edit

  • 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 and other ingredients, some even pulled out of the trash, to cure Craig after he is poisoned by the rot on his wall.

Locations Edit

  • Craig was offered a job in London, which he turned down.

Technology Edit

  • After gaining the Doctor's knowledge, Craig realises that his scanning device is based on the "non-technological" technology of the Lammasteen.
  • According to the Doctor, the ship is an attempt by someone to build a TARDIS. However, it is too weak to link with a Time Lord, but too strong for a human.


Story notes Edit

  • 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 "Next Time" trailer for the episode only features clips from the pre-titles sequence.
  • 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, PROSE: 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 TV: Midnight and in the vein of the Doctor and Rose-lite episode TV: Love & Monsters and the Martha (and Doctor)-lite episode TV: 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.
  • This is later clarified in TV: The Name of the Doctor through The Time of the Doctor. They reveal he is actually in his final incarnation, having an aborted regeneration in TV: Journey's End, while not acknowledging the War Doctor. His reference here means that he is the eleventh incarnation to refer to himself as the Doctor.
  • 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 TV: 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.
  • 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.
  • The Doctor's bow tie is blue for this episode, despite the 2010 setting. The Doctor wears a red tie in episodes of Series 5 grounded in the present and future (TV: The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below, The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang), but he wears a blue tie in those set in the past (Victory of the Daleks, The Vampires of Venice, Vincent and the Doctor). The only other exception in Series 5 is the episode Amy's Choice, where the Doctor wears a blue tie in the Upper Leadworth dream but a red tie in both the cold TARDIS dream and the epilogue concluding the two dream narratives. This may be due to the fact that the Doctor had originally planned to go to the Fifth Moon of Sinda Callista.
  • As is routine for post-2005 Doctor Who, a "NEXT TIME" trailer for the next episode is shown at the end of the episode.

Ratings Edit

Offical viewing figures was 5.98 million viewers.

Rumours Edit

  • 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 TV: Fear Her and TV: The Waters of Mars) or link right into the finale (like TV: Utopia and TV: 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, TV: 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 Edit

  • 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 Edit

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit


Series 5 Volume 4 DVD Cover

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 Edit

  • The Lodger, a comic strip that this episode is based on.

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit

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