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Doctor Who Ally Profile: Craig Owens

Doctor Who Ally Profile: Craig Owens

James Cordon as Doctor Who ally Craig Owens

Craig Owens

Portrayed By: James Corden

Doctor(s): Eleventh Doctor

Tenure: 2 stories, “The Lodger” and “Closing Time”

Background: Craig is an everyman from the small town of Colchester. When we meet him, he is stuck in a rut, constantly just on the verge of confessing his love for his close friend Sophie (Daisy Haggard), but always afraid of rejection. Looking to rent out an extra room in his apartment, he is surprised to hear a knock at the door before he has even advertised the room. And on the other side of that door is his new roommate: The Doctor.

Family: Craig is first friends with and later married to Sophie and in “Closing Time” we meet his son Alfie,who initially prefers to go by the name Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All (the Doctor speaks baby). By the end of the story, though, he decides he’s good with “Alfie”.

Personality: Craig is a very nervous, socially awkward type, prone to high anxiety but with a huge heart. He plays the flustered straight-man to the Doctor’s wild eccentricities, and the two develop quite the repartee. Craig is a deeply compassionate person, head over heels in love with Sophie and quickly very fond of the Doctor, even as he is somewhat befuddled by the way his new roommate blows into and then completely upends his life.

Special Skills: Craig mostly just reacts to the Doctor’s displays of his special skills, with his own humanity underlining just how alien our favorite Time Lord actually is when placed in a mundane situation. However, due to a psychic transfer, he learns much of the Doctor’s history and comes to protect the world from both a killer alien space ship and the Cybermen.

Best Story: “The Lodger” is a fleet, funny screwball comedy that plays with the idea of what would happen if the Doctor tried to settle in suburbia. The episode shows us the Eleventh Doctor at his most eccentric and plays him off of Craig’s quiet, tranquil existence. Craig never needs to go anywhere or do anything in particular—his dream evening involves “pizza, beer, telly” with Sophie—but the Doctor pulls him out of his shell and pushes him to be daring in his life. The Doctor teaches Craig that life can be an adventure; Craig teaches the Doctor that normality has its upsides. Through it all, “The Lodger” is one of the funniest episodes Doctor Who has done since its revival.

Worst Story: “Closing Time”, by default. Craig has only appeared in two episodes to date and both are pretty good, but his second appearance doesn’t quite live up to his first. In this outing, Craig is left alone with his newborn son for the first time, until the Doctor pops by on his “farewell tour” and the two get caught up in stopping a Cybermen plot in a Cybermen story where they are largely irrelevant. The episode mostly serves as a comedic calm before the storm of the Doctor facing down his own death in “The Wedding of River Song”. It could easily be a trifle, but instead it’s a reminder of what makes the Doctor so vital after all these years.

Highlights of tenure: Reacting to the Doctor’s general alien oddities, saving the world with the power of love, twice.

Lowlights of tenure: Being the sort of Dad who is afraid to be left alone with his son, thus implying that Sophie, a new mother, has been doing most of the childcare before the Doctor shows up. Fortunately, Craig gets it together before the end of “Closing Time.”

Memorable quotes:

– “Has anyone ever told you you’re a bit weird?”  “The Lodger”

– “The Cybermen – they blew up! I blew them up with love!”  “Closing Time”

Other notes:

Craig is perhaps the most elemental version of a Companion, in that he exists explicitly to tie the Doctor to humanity. Where most Companions do this by their mere presence in the TARDIS, Craig is not an adventurer and has never entered the TARDIS. He is just a normal man living a normal life, reminding the Doctor what he is fighting for: love, life, and boring Sunday afternoons.