“I’ve got one of those faces. People never stop blurting out their plans to me.”
Imagine my surprise and delight, Constant Reader, when I discovered a double bill of old Doctor Who episodes being screened on BBC3 last Friday, with, and this is crucial, no-one else around to complain at the timey-wimey hijacking of the television. And, yes, they’re crappy Eleven episodes…but even crappy Doctor Who is better than no Doctor Who.
So The Lodger, otherwise known as The One With James Corden, sees the TARDIS dematerialising with Amy trapped inside (without the Doctor, obviously). With the help of a nifty time loop (which feels kind of dubious because I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to change personal history), the Doctor realises that he needs to rent a certain flat from Corden’s character Craig, a flat with a strange and possibly alien upstairs neighbour, in order to make the TARDIS happy again. Or something.
It’s an episode that’s heavy on the comedy (hey, look, the Doctor’s doing a job! he’s playing football! he’s renting a flat!) and not so much on the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-clever-stupid-plan front. In fact, the actual plot is taken care of neatly with a more or less straightforward extrapolation of Stephen Moffat’s favourite storyline, “And Then The World Was Saved By Love”, thereby preventing the need for actual thought and freeing up time to laugh at James Corden and the Doctor.
On second thoughts, this isn’t actually a Doctor Who episode at all. This is an episode of James Corden Meets…the Doctor. (If that was a thing. Which it totally could be.) And although it is funny, and quite endearing in its way, it would be nice if, you know, some actual science fiction could happen. After all, we’re not watching for James Corden. We’re watching for the Doctor.