The Doctor: Come on, Amy, I need hints on how to be a normal bloke!
Production Code: 1.11.
Story Number: 211.
A sitcom situation for Doctor Who featuring a different double act from previous weeks…
Amy’s stuck in the TARDIS and the Doctor is part of a new duo with Craig. James Corden is the “of the moment” comic-actor guest-star of this story, as, similarly, Peter Kay was in 2006 in Love & Monsters. However, the “comic turn” over the 45 minutes actually comes from Matt Smith, with his fantastic and amusingly alien performance of the Eleventh Doctor trying to fit into 21st Century regular life in the UK, with Corden providing the incredulous foil.
While Love & Monsters was a prism to ponder the subtleties of Doctor Who fandom and how the Doctor can influence regular life, it’s the Doctor himself cast into the humdrum “normal” world in this story, though the Doc still of course manages to influence Craig and the third flatmate.
The football stuff is, surprisingly, a rather joyful part of the episode, a happy coincidence it seems of Ep-11-scheduling being at the start of the World Cup (and the production team realising that) and Matt Smith’s footballing skills. (Corden being so “of the moment” that at the time of broadcast he was also involved with a World Cup song and World Cup chat programme at the same time.)
The resolution of the plot is clever, as it relies on Craig being unadventurous and not wanting to leave and explore like, say, Rose or Amy – however the reason that Craig and Sophie have stayed this long (and not left) also provides an uplifting happy ending for story. So, the Doctor brings one happy couple together at least – the cliffhanger ending for the story highlights the fact the Doctor hasn’t always been so successful, (what happens next?)