In Doctor Who episode S10E4 Knock Knock, the Doctor is suspicious about the background of the landlord, and at one time he asks him if the landlord knows who the current Prime Minister is.

But the landlord refuses to answer; he changes the topic instead.


Sure, I'm aware of the out-of-universe answer: the landlord is a figure of mystery, who we know nothing about, who may not be of this time, or not of this world. And this just serves to deepen our suspicions.

But what about in-universe? In the end,

the landlord turns out to be a normal human, not a time traveller or an alien (this may be a bit of a spoiler, sorry)

so why would he have difficulties with knowing about current affairs? Why circumvent the question who the current Prime Minister is?

  • Because he's a British Landlord. They couldn't be any less useless. – Edlothiad May 7 '17 at 17:22

The implication is that he doesn't get out much

Recall that he only needs to find people to feed the Dryads every twenty years.

DOCTOR: 1957. Every 20 years.

When he is not doing this, he seems slavishly devoted to his mother, likely never leaving her alone:

ELIZA: My son. Leave my side at last. Go and see the world.

LANDLORD: No. I don't want to.

If he only leaves the house every twenty years, and he does not care to inform himself about political affairs, he could easily not know who the current Prime Minister is. He probably just lurks outside of a housing agency when the time comes around.

In particular, he could easily be ignorant of the most recent election (or suspect he might be). Given that it is obvious that the Doctor is trying to play "gotcha" with him, why take the risk?

(As for the matter of food, he could get deliveries, or more likely grows his own. He seems very isolated).

  • 5
    Also, to be fair, if an older gentleman (even, I suspect, if I was also of the same approximate age) suddenly came up to me asking who the Prime Minister was and listing a lot of long departed ones my first response wouldn't be "I better answer his valid question" but "Oh, the poor man doesn't even know what decade we're in... best not to upset him." – starpilotsix May 7 '17 at 19:45

He already mistrusts the Doctor anyways. He tried to get The Doctor to leave once already. Now the Doctor is asking a probing question and badgering him about it. Even if he knows the answer, the badgering is enough to push him over the edge. The important part of the exchange isn't that he doesn't answer, it's that he appears to be hiding something.

The Doctor is trying to make Bil and her friends realize there's something wrong.


He doesn't answer because he can't answer. The Doctor was testing the landlord to find out whether he was indeed a contemporary human being, or some alien entity out to cause havoc. As it turned out, the test wasn't very good, because the landlord was a contemporary human… just a very sheltered one. Still, the landlord's response was enough to confirm the Doctor's suspicions that something was up.

  • -1 Because this didn't really add any useful information. – Renttutar May 25 '17 at 15:32
  • @Renttutar: It does if you understand it properly. – Lightness Races in Orbit May 25 '17 at 15:59

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