Doctor Who: Scratchman - Preview

January 24, 2019 | BBC Books

A story so epic it was originally intended for the big screen, Doctor Who: Scratchman is a gripping, white-knuckle thriller almost forty years in the making.

The Fourth Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them…

With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, the Doctor must battle an ancient force from another dimension, one who claims to be the Devil. Scratchman wants to know what the Doctor is most afraid of, because the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play… What are you afraid of?

Scratchman is a legendary Doctor Who adventure written by the Fourth Doctor himself, Tom Baker, author of the darkly comic novel, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs. Scratchman is his first-ever Doctor Who novel. “I love the improbability of Doctor Who. Reason plays no part at all. As in religion, the overriding thing is faith. It may be improbable, but just believe in it and it’ll all come right,” he said.

Scratchman began out of boredom somewhere in the 1970s, an idea for a story formed by Tom Baker and Ian Marter between set takes and pauses in filming during the Fourth Doctor era. Despite great enthusiasm and valiant attempts, funding Scratchman proved difficult. For a long time, Scratchman was forgotten, until a script was found in 2006. It had been donated to the British Film Institute by former Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner before his death in 2002.

Doctor Who: Scratchman is out  in hardback from BBC Books on January 24th 2019.

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