The Lodger

DVD NTSC
Region 1
13-episode
box set

DVD PAL
Region 2
13-episode
box set

Ltd.
DVD PAL
Region 2
4-episode volume
See below for Blu-Ray options
(Doctor Who Story No. 216, starring Matt Smith)
  • written by Gareth Roberts
  • directed by Catherine Morshead
  • produced by Tracie Simpson
  • music by Murray Gold
  • 1 episode @ 41 minutes
Story: The TARDIS deposits the Doctor in an English suburb, but otherwise can't land, and Amy is stuck inside. Apparently the problem stems from a house where passersby are being lured into an upstairs apartment and disappearing, so the Doctor poses as a lodger in a lower apartment and makes friends with the superintendent Craig. Who is in the upstairs apartment, and what are they doing to create such strange stains in Craig's ceiling? And will Craig manage to confess his feelings for his friend Sophie?

DVD Extras (box sets only) include:

  • Doctor Who Confidential featurette: Extra Time (15 min.), with Matt Smith (The Doctor), James Corden (Craig Owens),
    writer Gareth Roberts, director Catherine Morshead, and featuring Karen Gillan's search for ET intelligence at a Greenwich observatory
    with space scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock and public astronomer Royal Observatory Greenwich Marek Kukula.
  • Outtakes & Bloopers
  • Story Trailer

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have already seen the program.
To avoid the spoilers, read the Buyers' Guide to the season instead.


Extra time. Filler. A spare slot in the schedule. The double-banked "B" story that the regulars can't be bothered with. In many ways, this feels like one of the more unfortunate cogs in the all-too-predictable machine of modern Doctor Who season story arcs, one that's not set to win any great awards.


If anything, it's primarily the backyard alien of the week concept that falls flat here, with the scary upstairs room here echoing a similar room in "The Eleventh Hour" (story no. 208) a little too closely. Really, we do want more originality and development from antagonistic forces on this show. Aliens hiding on Earth? That's the standard "surprise twist" we can predict a mile off. ....Been there, done that, and too many times this season in particular, or from writer Gareth Roberts in general.

But on the plus side only Karen Gillan goes AWOL here. Matt Smith is fully present as the Doctor in this adventure, as he has been for the ENTIRE season, and he manages to engage in more everyday activities than we usually see. Too bad such overt overdone domestication didn't have more foreign planets preceding it in the rest of the season to balance things out a bit better, but at least there was enough wisdom to let Matt Smith get his Doctor established before tackling this departure. I'm still on the fence as to whether this was a good enough idea to warrant an episode, as it doesn't exactly energize or excite me.

At least Smith's costars - James Corden as Craig and Daisy Haggard as Sophie - bring a great deal of charm to their roles, which are written in alignment with expected archetypes. It's very easy to root for these two, and for the Doctor's efforts to help them, unlike the similar Amy-Rory pairing from this season.

Music by Murray Gold
The new title music,
theme for the 11th Doctor,
and a full suite of music from the story
are available on the 2-disc audio CD album:
Doctor Who: Original Music from
Season 31 (aka "Series 5", 2010)

More info & buying options

"You can't be upstairs. I've got the plans. It's a one storey building!" Very good, Amy. But, why should the finished building resemble the plans? Obviously she hasn't spent as much time working in North American construction as I have. As a wise person once said, "The map is not the territory", which is a universal truth, not an automatic indication of aliens, or something worthy of our attention. Besides, how is it that the TARDIS has the plans to every little shack in Essex? Surely that's overkill, isn't it? And how are we to believe it's showing here the most current plans, and not some renovation from the year 2146 or something?

Climactic action suffers from a little too much rush and confusion. Several times plot-critical exposition gets mishandled, as though actors look at their scripts and say "Oh, exposition. That's boring. I wonder how fast I can get through it?" And story points are lost. The cacophony at the end plays badly against the wordiness required to understand it.

And just why is an unmanned TARDIS being built on the upstairs anyway? I'm left confused.

"The ship has crashed. The crew are dead. A pilot is required." (...And I had to pause with the subtitles on to make sure that essential information wasn't lost in a rushed wash.) What the hell? If the crew is dead, why does the ship need to do anything? We've got a big hole in logic here, I think. Then again, systems programmers often have no clue for making things user friendly. Forgetting that they have no users might just not slow them down.... Even so, that's a character trait that deserves to be explored on screen, not rushed over in a confusing babble at the end.


Oh well. This isn't one of the great stories of the season, but it does have its own peculiar charm. Not bad.



This story has become available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

DVD NTSC Region 1
13-episode box set
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
DVD PAL Region 2
13-episode box set
for the U.K.:

(Limited Edition)
DVD PAL Region 2
4-episode volume
for the U.K.:

Blu-Ray NTSC Region 1
13-episode box set
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada

Blu-Ray PAL Region 2
13-episode box set
for the U.K.

(Limited Edition)

Note: The full season sets contain commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and other extras. The smaller volumes only feature the plain episodes.


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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Pandorica Opens"



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