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Published on June 17th, 2010 | by Christian Cawley

The Lodger Reaction

Reaction to The Lodger has been overwhelmingly positive, with some surprising sources coming out in favour of the most recent episode of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who - The Lodger starring Matt Smith and James CordenWe start with Gavin Fuller in the Telegraph, who last week bizarrely slated Vincent and the Doctor. This time around he was far more positive – no doubt a result of bothering to watch…

Nevertheless The Lodger has certainly set things nicely up for the big finish with a thoroughly enjoyable, often amusing episode which celebrated the ordinary as much as anything, and not often does television do that.

More positive words spill forth from The Guardian, for what is effectively a low budget episode with very little CGI work.

…with a small cast, no CGI turkey monster and not even a single historical figure, it delivers one of the strongest episodes of the year. It made being back on modern-day Earth feel like a treat.

The Guardian also refers to the Doctor singing the same song in the show as his third incarnation sang in a similar situation in 1970′s Spearhead From Space. Quick final note about The Guardian – their Doctor Who reviews this year have been a great read, if you have the time hop on over and cycle through them all.

Elsewhere online, Outpost Skaro have a unique but considered opinion of the Doctor’s “fish out of water” role in The Lodger.
Doctor Who - The Lodger starring Matt Smith and James Corden

Sticking his finger in a jam pot in Fear Her is one thing, being rude or loud or bossy is another, but this script turns the Doctor into an idiot, whether by intent or design it doesn’t matter, and, despite the humour to be had, really debases the character. Matt is great – his comic timing and relationship with Corden, for once the straight man, is well crafted – but many will feel that there is a lack of dignity in the character, depite his typical heroics.

Awarding 3.5 stars meanwhile is SFX – surely time to drop the star ratings, they can be so divisive! SFX felt the episode was “mid-table” and the football metaphors didn’t end there. However the problem with SFX reviews this season has been less about the score and more about the lack of content.

The frugality of it may raise eyebrows too: they couldn’t even afford nets in the goals! While it looks like the cheapest episode since “Fear Her”, it is a good deal better than that season two story. The shadowy figure at the top of these stairs is effectively creepy, everyone else is rather loveable, the banter is great… and we get to see Matt Smith showing off his proper football skills.

Doctor Who - The Lodger starring Matt Smith and James CordenDespite the surprising story conclusion to The Lodger, Den of Geek weren’t that impressed with the episode either, describing it as a “holding episode”:

Some will warm to the humour of it more than others (we weren’t cackling loudly at the telly ourselves, but it was decent enough), and Matt Smith continues to show a range in the role that it’s hard not to admire. But after the far more interesting Vincent And The Doctor, and ahead of that upcoming finale, it’s hard to call it much more than a solid Doctor Who story that has a bit of fun

Which brings us to The Yorker, where Lois Cameron lists 11 things she liked about The Lodger, starting with the surprising success of the love-him-or-hate-him guest srar, James Corden:

1. James Corden: Considering his celebrity image, it’s easy to forget that he can actually be a really charming screen presence. He brings a real warmth and depth to the role of Craig, and he really holds his own against Matt Smith.

Finally, overnight audience figures as reported by Gallifrey News Base were disappointing, but not as low as one might expect in the face of ITV1′s build-up to England’s first match of the World Cup, which kicked off at 7.30pm.

The Lodger attracted an average of 4.6 million viewers, with 4.31 million watching on BBC One and an additional 0.25 million on BBC HD. Impacted by 11 million viewers tuning into ITV1 from 7.15pm, Doctor Who saw its lowest audience share this series, down to 22.3%. Note that these are overnight figures, the adjustment of which will see increases once delayed viewing is factored in.

Additionally, they note that the Appreciation Index figure for the episode was 87, one of the highest so far this series.

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About the Author

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




One Response to The Lodger Reaction

  1. Paul Cavanagh says:

    Should anybody wish to follow Christian’s advice and seek out the Guardian’s Doctor Who reviews, the following link may be handy:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/doctor-who

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