S5(31)E11 – The Lodger – Broadcast Discussion

12th June 2010 • Blog Post by Seb Patrick •

I could cope with Peter Kay. I could cope with Catherine Tate. But truly, dear reader, I confess – I’m not sure I can cope with James fucking Corden. I’ll be watching, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had the tiniest moment where I considered skipping it. Still, if you can also stand to watch the boorish unfunny pillock sullying our beloved Who for forty-five minutes, and you’re not busy watching the England match that kicks off immediately after it finishes (typical, BBC – a series full of 6pm or 6.15 starts, and when one would actually be useful you push us to quarter to seven instead), then tell us what you THOUGHT. He might not ruin it, you know. Maybe. It could still be good…

Seb Patrick once met Paul McGann, who immediately pretended to be Mark McGann. He writes for Den of Geek, BBC America, Film4 and the official Red Dwarf website, among others. He owns over thirty toy Daleks and wishes the Dapol factory tour was still open.


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14 Responses

  1. Michael Warren

    I was really, really expecting to hate this episode, largely because of Corden, but I enjoyed it a lot. Largely it was Smith stealing the show, but Corden wasn’t as bad as I thought he would be – I felt he played the character very well. The twist of there being no upstairs was entirely unexpected, and that it was essentially another TARDIS (with the same dimensional transcendentalism) was another nice touch. Apparently, the set used bits of Tennant’s drive room.

    The ‘next week’ trailer really has me looking forward to it. Things were mentioned that I hope we see, and I spotted a few more in that single frame in the preview…

    Confidential, on the other hand – Karen Gillan, lovely girl though she is, really isn’t great with the voice-over stuff, and the space scientist they’ve got in needs to talk slower.

  2. ChrisM

    I don’t mind Corden. And I quite liked the episode. The resolution lost me though. I think part of the reason is that I find the quick speech hard to follow sometimes but even so, two people snogging somehow ‘sorting out’ the ship made little sense.

    The ideas were great though. As was the characters, set up and that twist surrounding the top floor. As a character story it was good. I’d really like to know where that other tardis came from too. Is there another Time Lord out there, or is it just technology from another time/space faring species? I suspect we’ll never know, but it would be great if that thread were taken up again in future. Or past. It being a time machine and all.

  3. ChrisM

    Oh, and while I found Doctor Who Confidential quite interesting (albeit it was stuff I largely had an idea about) that football commentation parody seemed to go on, and on. I actually quite liked the scene in the programme itself (despite not being into football at all) but that just dragged on. I suppose it was meant to be funny but it actually felt like the real thing to me. Kettle boiling time for me, I’m afraid. (And annoyingly I missed the last of the Karen spacey stuff. Well, except the telescope bit, which was fascinating.)

  4. After weeks of series that I just couldn’t get into, along came Vincent & The Lodger, two episodes that I loved. About bloody time.

    I thought the football stuff was alright, but I did wonder if it undoes all the good Tennant acheived with his wearing specs for the geeky non-sporty kids.

    The Eleventh Doctor all too often mistakes eccentricity for stupidity. This is the same man that knows the correct form of address when speaking to the Emperor of Draconia, but here he is airkissing footballers?

    This episode was helped enormously by not having Amy in it. Try as I might I can’t not hate her. I’m sick of being told she’s feisty and spunky, when she is annoying, petulant, dull and bored-even-when-excited.

    I loved the other TARDIS, in fact I prefered it to the Doctor’s.

    Also: Why has Confidential turned into Blue Peter?

  5. I thought the time machine at the top of the stairs gave a much stronger feeling of being ‘bigger on the inside’ than the new TARDIS design. I do like the new TARDIS interior but it does feel a bit cramped and cluttered.

    I liked the bits with monkeys and cats in.

  6. Andy M

    That was pretty good. Corden was inoffensive, which is about the most you can ever ask of the twat.

    At least they’ve run out of “inexplicably popular comedians I really, really hate” to crowbar into Who though.

  7. Andy M

    Oh Christ I’ve just remembered that Michael McIntyre exists.

  8. I thought ‘The Lodger’ was a great episode, in fact it’s vying for my favourite this series along with ‘Amy’s Choice’. Despite him having been in the worst sketch show I think I’ve ever seen, I don’t have the same loathing for James Corden that many have and I think he’s quite good as a comic actor so he fitted in well with this. Matt Smith was absolutely terrific in an episode that was really centred round him and he was helped by some great writing. It was a brilliant mixture of funny and creepy, borrowing from/echoing equally ‘Spaced’ and M R James’ ‘Number 13’. I think the only negative for me was the rather pulled-out-of-the-air solution to the alien menace upstairs and the rather ill-explained reason for Corden’s character falling ill from touching the ceiling seepage; but neither of those matter that much in the grander scheme of things.

    As for next week’s episode, I love the fact that Moffat seems to have written a finale set in the distant past rather than going the RTD route of always, always setting them on modern-day Earth.

  9. The shot when they go into the upstairs room to reveal it’s Bigger On The Inside was a fantastic moment, one of my favourite revelations in all Doctor Who.

    Shame the last few minutes of the episode didn’t quite live up to that shot, although it was still a decent enough conclusion – a Love Conquers All ending done pretty well.

    The origin of that ship was unclear – was it already bigger on the inside like that when it had arrived on Earth (if so, there aren’t many civilisations apart from Time Lords and Daleks that have that sort of technology, are there?), or was it originally a normal spaceship and the AI hologram had adapted it into its attempt at a TARDIS while it was parked on the roof? Not that I want a definitive answer about who built it spelled out, to leave no room for speculation (the way Alien fans are concerned that Ridley Scott’s proposed prequel movie will ruin the mystery of the “Space Jockey”), but I’d have liked a little more clarification than was provided in the episode.

    I had wondered whether this episode would be this series’ “Love and Monsters” – one where fan reaction is split completely down the middle. I’d thought that James Corden’s casting would be the main reason for that – I like Gavin and Stacey (although Rob Brydon is the main reason to watch it), but James Corden’s public persona (as seen on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and that recent Patrick Stewart awards ceremony clip) really is irritating. Fortunately he toned that down a lot for this performance – it seems that when he’s acting to a script he can be a lot more subdued than he can when a live camera’s pointing at him.

    I note that this is yet another episode this series in which images of William Hartnell and the other Doctors have appeared. Just Moffat being geeky? Relics from early drafts of the scripts, when the producers might have been worried that fans wouldn’t accept Smith as the same character? Or might it be relevant that they’re keeping the regeneration concept fresh in viewers’ minds?

    It’ll be interesting to see what certificate the BBFC gives this episode’s home release – a few years ago they’d probably have given it a 12 certificate for featuring headbutting! (Or even requested they be edited out entirely, like in the 15-cert The Matrix…)

    Finally, I spent much of the episode wondering where I’d seen the actress playing the girlfriend before. Of course – Psychoville!

  10. Seb Patrick

    Yeah, I enjoyed this. Unlike in previous Roberts scripts, I felt some of the jokes actually worked – I laughed on a number of occasions – although he was undoubtedly helped by the fact that it was a good showcase for Smith’s lightness of touch.

    I’m not sure about the various moments of the Doctor being wrong-footed on etiquette and suchlike – although it’s been pointed out elsewhere that there are moments throughout this series that maybe show that the “worldliness” of 9 and 10 have been lost in this incarnation, and I can buy that.

    “Threat” part of the story was incredibly light, though, and while I don’t mind that in and of itself, it’s weird to have it coming straight after Vincent, which was much the same. But that “dark TARDIS” (as I’m calling it) set seemed to have had so much put into it (and it was lovely, too), and the reference to someone “trying to build a TARDIS” so tantalising, that I can’t help but feel we haven’t seen the last of it. At least, if we haven’t, then that resolution was horribly rushed.

    Oh, and while I don’t have a problem with the *idea* of the football sequence and its payoff (though many undoubtedly will), I didn’t think it was very well done.

    And no, Corden wasn’t particularly annoying. But it’s a simple formula, really – he’s an actor. Let him act, and he can act (limited range but he can do a certain style quite well). The problem is when he’s trying to be a “personality”. I should have realised before that he’d be fine in this, but his face and voice do instil such an instinctive, revulsive reaction in me.

  11. Andy M

    there are moments throughout this series that maybe show that the “worldliness” of 9 and 10 have been lost in this incarnation

    Yeah it was laid on a bit thick for me too but I like that theory. Would’ve been unthinkable for this to have been a Tennant or an Eccleston story. It’s a Colin Baker story, clearly.

    I thought we were getting series fnarg’s Utopia moment when they finally went upstairs so the confused and rushed resolution was the episode’s biggest disappointment really. “Remember that really awesome bit in The Time Meddler? This isn’t it!”

  12. Mammalian Verisimilitude

    Anyone know if the “dark Tardis” was a (hefty) redress of the Eccelston/Tennant Tardis set?

    And what does everyone think of the moment with the ring – I think she realised SOMETHING’s been deleted, and it relates to her crying last ep, but she hasn’t remembered Rory as such.

  13. The Face of Po

    I’m still out of the loop on popular culture, so just like when Tate turned up, Corden got a “Who? What’s the problem?” from me.

    The shape of the ship once it disabled the “first floor” disguise was something like the Jagaroth’s, and that wasn’t the only similarity to City of Death – not that I expect there to be any actual connection.

    And what does everyone think of the moment with the ring – I
    think she realised SOMETHING’s been deleted, and it relates
    to her crying last ep, but she hasn’t remembered Rory as

    The fact that she even looked at the ring with a Significant Expression, rather than dismissing it as another bit of junk in the Doctor’s pockets, makes me think that she was already operating on subconcious memory at that point, and her mind will only need the slightest prod to remember more. But she also didn’t look shocked or furious enough to have remembered everything.

    Are we getting the Amy-centred, Doctor-lite episode next week, to explore this more?

  14. Reboot

    …there are moments throughout this series that maybe show that the “worldliness” of 9 and 10 have been lost in this incarnation

    While very true (I can’t imagine a Tennant version of this episode playing out anything like this), how does this fit with Moffat’s “there aren’t eleven Doctors, there’s one Doctor with eleven faces” mantra?

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