Craig: I love you, I love you, I love you, (opens door) I love you!
The Doctor: Well, that's good, because I'm your new lodger!
Written by Gareth RobertsBased on the short Doctor Who Magazine comic strip of the same name, which featured Ten and Mickey.
Modern-day Colchester. The TARDIS arrives in a park, the Doctor noting by the presence of a Ryman's that this probably isn't the fifth moon of Cyndacalista. He's immediately thrown out of the door by a sudden surge of energy that causes the TARDIS to dematerialise (much faster than usual) without him, and Amy still on board.The next day. There's a house on Aickman Road, and a staircase that people go up, but never down. As is demonstrated by a hapless man whose walk past the house is interrupted by the voice of an old man on the intercom, pleading for help and guiding him up the staircase to the flat up at the top with an ominously glowing door...Craig Owens, the man who lives in the flat below the aforementioned one with the ominous glowy door, needs a lodger for the extra room in his rather nice flat. Well, nice aside from what appears to be some very nasty dry rot in the corner of the ceiling. Craig's best friend Sophie (really, they're Just Friends!) spends almost every night as his house already, but he's too Adorkable to let her know just how welcome she'd be to move in. His previous flatmate has just moved out, having very conveniently received a windfall in the will of an elderly relative he didn't even know he had. And this just happens to be amazingly convenient for the Doctor, who both needs a place to stay and a base of operations to investigate what's going on upstairs and get the TARDIS back. He's managed to trace the source of the strange things happening to this house.Craig's a little taken aback by the suddenness of the Doctor's arrival, not least because he only put the ad in the newsagent's window that morning. But the Doctor has a big paper bag full of money for rent, a reference from the Archbishop of Canterbury (thanks to the psychic paper) and he likes the place. He takes note of the mystical rot, warns Craig not to touch it and promises to fix it soon. And so begins the Doctor's greatest challenge: he must pass himself off as a perfectly normal human being, and share a flat with Craig Owens.Things get off to a good start, thanks to the Doctor's skill at whipping up omelettes and Craig's willingness to reveal all about himself to this near-complete stranger. Craig likes the Doctor: he's quirky, interesting, weird and has bags full of money. Probably not a drug dealer. Craig also likes the simple life, has no real ambitions at moving on from his call centre job, and is perfectly content to hang out on his sofa with his best-friend-who's-a-girl Sophie. With whom, judging by the way he near-fondles the set of keys she left behind, he'd like very much to be more than friends. He tells the Doctor that he's always welcome to bring home a girlfriend or boyfriend, if he likes, and they'll just figure out a system to give each other privacy.Safely hidden away in his new room, the Doctor communicates via earpiece with Amy in the TARDIS, scrambled to ensure that no one can listen in. (Craig, overhearing the Doctor's side of the conversation through the wall, is given the impression that the Doctor is loudly blurting out gibberish to himself.) He's trying to keep a low profile, not wanting to give himself away to the intelligence upstairs before he knows what it is and is prepared to deal with it. Because if he's right, something scarily big is at work. Meanwhile, another innocent human, a clubber stumbling past the house, is drawn in by a young man on the top floor of the house needing help...The Doctor's plan, however, means that he cannot use any of his usual technological gadgets in order to help him solve the problem, as it would enable the creature to detect him. It also requires him to blend in as an ordinary human — quite difficult, considering he's, well, the Doctor. Amy's helpful suggestion that he ditch the bow-tie is soundly rejected, and her other suggestions about "ordinary bloke" activities (drinking, watching telly and playing football) are not exactly the kind of things he's usually known for. Before she can give further advice, the TARDIS is once again buffeted by powerful time distortion, and a localised time loop plays merry hell with the clocks inside the building as, on the upstairs floor, something very nasty happens to the poor clubber.The next morning, while waiting for the Doctor to finish up in the shower, Craig hears some noises from upstairs and decides to see what's going on. He takes the long walk up the dark, ominous stairs, knocks on the door... and is greeted by the elderly occupant of the upstairs flat, his face hidden in the shadows, who curtly dismisses Craig and informs him that he is not needed. Thinking that Craig is in mortal peril, the Doctor rushes out of the shower. He discovers that Craig has managed something we've seen from no one else so far, and go up the stairs only to come back down again. It also means that when Sophie pops by for a visit, her first introduction to him is with him soaking wet and wrapped up in a towel. The Doctor, not being blind, is quick to pick up on a certain mutual romantic tension between Craig and Sophie. Unfortunately, Sophie has also noticed that the Doctor is, in her words, "gorgeous". Craig is a bit miffed.Craig receives a call from his mates, informing him that his side in the pub league is one man short, so Craig politely asks the Doctor if he wants to make up the numbers. It's not drinking, as the Doctor first suspects, but football — and although he's not sure whether it's "the one with the sticks" or not, he's willing to give it ago.And so, the Doctor is introduced to the most popular sport in the world... and he's good at it. Really good, in fact. So good that he manages to completely upstage Craig and impress Sophie. With him on the team permanently, Craig's mates cheer, they'll be able to annihilate the opposition. But the Doctor is the Doctor, The Oncoming Storm, and there will be no annihilation while he's around... and he's halfway through a very dramatic speech to that effect when he realises that the other man meant "annihilate" in a figurative sense regarding football.And then another shifty loopy time jump happens all around the Doctor, as another unfortunate is lead up those stairs, this time by a little girl...It's a powerful one, this time. The TARDIS' zigzag plotter, previously kept to the "safe" level of four, is now showing nines. The Doctor manages to talk Amy through piloting the console, stabilising the buffeting — before the time distortion would force the TARDIS back into the vortex, casting her adrift forever. It's getting more powerful, and the Doctor is running out of time.That night, Craig has Sophie around, and has decided that this is the night he finally works up the courage to tell her how he feels. Unfortunately, despite Craig's pleas that he keep out of the way, the Doctor has decided to work on the house's wiring, meaning that he's present to be a mood-killing Third Wheel. Conversation turns to what Sophie wants to do with her life, and she sheepishly admits that she'd like to work with animals, but has more or less resigned herself to her current go-nowhere life. Yeah, the Doctor nonchalantly agrees, probably for the best. Most dreams don't come true. Why bother pursuing them if she knows she's going to be doing the same thing forever? Sophie is hurt and angry about this, denying that she's going to be doing the same thing for her life forever... which, of course, was the Doctor's point all along. He suggests that this would be a good time to consider what's keeping her around here. Sophie is inspired, and doesn't see anything to keep her around Colchester. Craig tries to speak up, but he's completely lost his nerve.Understandably, Craig's a bit pissed off with the Doctor by this point. So much so that he decides to disregard the Doctor's earlier warning and touches the patch of rot, which seems to be growing. By the next morning, he's near-death, his system poisoned by the lethal residue of whatever is happening upstairs. Happening upon him in the nick of time, the Doctor whips up a miracle cure that seems to be composed mainly of tea (including a used bag from the bin) and feeds it to him. Craig survives, but is significantly weakened. And by the time he wakes up, it's almost three o'clock and he's very late for work.When Craig gets to his call centre he discovers that that he has a new stand-in — the Doctor, kindly covering his shift for him and having quite a blast, but managing to drive away his customers with his blunt phone manner. And he was a great success in the planning meeting as well, acting as Craig's representative, so Craig's boss absolutely loves him. And now Sophie's applied to act as a volunteer for a wildlife charity abroad, nervously asking him if it's okay. Craig's completely discombobulated at this point and just staggers off home.The Doctor, meanwhile, has engaged a spy that he can safely send upstairs: a local cat, who delivers a report upon the Doctor's return from work. Of course, when Craig sees this, it looks like the Doctor is simply talking to a cat. And the Doctor's attempts at passing off the impressive broomsticks-and-pans whirligig he's built out of junk on his bed as "a modern art piece on the awfulness of modern life" is unconvincing. It's the last straw for Craig; he throws the Doctor's rent money back at him and demands that The Thing That Would Not Leave leaves. The Doctor, however, is equally adamant that he has to stay. Stalemate, and as the stand-off heats up, the Doctor grabs Craig's face and psyches himself to do something he'll really regret.He psychically communicates with Craig. Via headbutt. Twice.Craig is filled in on the general background (the Doctor, alien, Time Lord, eleven lives, Amy, TARDIS) and the specifics (the TARDIS playing up), and the Doctor discovering Craig's ad along with a note from Amy (that she hasn't written yet) guiding him to that specific house. And what's happening upstairs. Craig is appalled at the realisation that people have been dying in the flat above him, and is adamant that they have to do something now. Which is good timing, because Sophie has stopped by for a visit, only to be summoned upstairs by the little girl...When the Doctor and Craig realise this they charge upstairs to the rescue, only to be stopped by Amy, who has discovered a fundamental flaw in their plan. Which is that there is no upstairs. According to the blueprints she's discovered of Craig's place, it's a one-storey building. Intrigued by this development, the Doctor and Craig charge through the door, and discover a makeshift TARDIS copy on the other side. It's dragging Sophie to the console via bolts of lightning. Craig and the Doctor work desperately to free her, only to be surprised when it suddenly lets her go as soon as she looks into Craig's eyes.The old man appears, demanding that the Doctor — or "Captain Troy Handsome of International Rescue", as he announces himself — help him. The ship crashed, the crew are dead, and the old man (and its various other forms) is the ship's emergency hologram, trying to find a replacement pilot. It's burnt seventeen humans to a crisp doing so already, and is quite happy to work through the other six billion four hundred thousand and twenty-six in the process. It won't have to now, however, because the Doctor, an alien, has arrived, and is more than suited to piloting it away safely.Wrong. The Doctor's a worse choice: the machine is too much for humans to handle, but the Doctor is too much for the machine to handle. If he touches it, the resulting energy burst will blow up the solar system. As he's dragged closer to the machine, he realises there's one person here the machine has shown no interest in: Craig. Craig lacked the necessary desire to pilot the ship. And Sophie was all right too, until the Doctor awakened her latent desire to move on — but Craig has nowhere else he wants to be. Why is that? Craig is persuaded to touch the machine, and the Doctor demands that he reveal why he's always been so happy to stay exactly where he is.It's Sophie, of course. The two hastily admit their feelings for each other, and Craig is persuaded to leave the whole monkey discussion for another time by the Doctor, who points out the malfunctioning machine they have to deal with. One good kiss is sufficient to switch it off.They have to leg it downstairs before the ship self-destructs with them on-board. They watch from the street as the ship disappears, leaving the flat as the one-story house that it was always meant to be.Later, Craig and Sophie are happily distracted from (ahem) "ruining" their friendship further by the Doctor, who's come to drop his keys off now that the TARDIS and Amy have landed safely. Craig, however, wants the Doctor to keep them: he's been inside the Doctor's head and knows he won't be back, but it's a little memento. The three say their fond farewells and leave, Craig and Sophie planning their future together...... and there's a crack in the wall behind Craig's fridge.Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor prepares to tie up the loose ends by rewriting the will which enabled him to stay in Craig's flat, and leaves Amy the instruction of writing the note for the newsagent. She rummages in the Doctor's pockets for a red pen... but discovers a red box instead. Containing an engagement ring.