Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 6–The Caretaker

“You can’t do this. You cannot pretend to be an actual person among real people.”



When an episodic TV series has been running (on and off) for fifty years, it’s hardly surprising that some episodes instil a feeling of déjà vu. Terry Nation, notoriously, wrote the first Dalek story again several times, changing a few names and locations but keeping the same basic plot. That same feeling of déjà vu was very much present in The Caretaker. The concept of the Doctor trying (and comically failing) to fit in with everyday life on contemporary Earth has become a bit of a trope in recent years, most notably in the work of Gareth Roberts, who set the template with The Lodger and revisited it with Closing Time.

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Doctor Who Season 5–the Facebook Marathon: Part 9

The adventure continues.

March 12, 2011, 1.31 pm. After the undoubted beauty of Vincent and the Doctor, it’s time for another self-contained standalone episode. But this one is quite different in tone…

NB – as before, if your name or image is on these screenshots and you’d rather it wasn’t, PM me on Facebook and I’ll edit the image. Thanks!

We’ve had sci fi, we’ve had horror, we’ve had heartbreaking emotional drama. Now it’s time for something rather different, courtesy of writer Gareth Roberts – sitcom!

Season 5, Episode 11: The Lodger

Starting this episode involves inserting the next disc of the box set. I now know exactly how long this takes.


Steaming mug of tea in hand, I settle down to watch the Doctor arrive somewhere surprisingly average, and reveal an unexpected knowledge of stationery supplies:


Across town, beaten down everybloke Craig (James Corden playing it straight for once) is pining after his best friend. She, typically, doesn’t know anything of this:


Stranded and unable to find the TARDIS, the Doctor decides to move into Craig’s spare room. Thus ensues a scene establishing Smith and Corden as a comedy double act to watch out for, including what must be an intentionally risque reference to a senior clergyman:


I was quite enthusiastic about the comedy, but others saw it differently. And to be fair, I know Corden gets a fair bit of stick too:


Never one to pass up an opportunity to lust after a scantily clad young man, I was happy to see the Doctor’s shower scene. Happier than I would have been if he’d still been William Hartnell anyway:


At which point Steve directed me to a picture he’d found, much to several people’s delight:


Much to Craig’s alarm, the Doctor decides to help out on his pub football team, showing the level of football knowledge achieved by most Who fans:


For my part, I’ve found my attention drawn to part of Craig’s decor – intentionally on the director’s part, it seems:


(Corden did return as Craig, but nothing ever came of the mysteriously prominent picture. Or the duck pond. Yet)

The Doctor discovers that the top floor of Craig’s house is actually a spacecraft that looks oddly familiar:


(Yes, the spacecraft control room was featured in season 6, as the buried Silence ship in Day of the Moon. Significant, or just a cheap reuse of an existing set?)

And the verdict:


Yes, the end draws near! Two more episodes, one more story, with Mr Moffat back on writing duties for the first time since episode 5. Coming up in a moment…