Back in the ‘70s, Tom Baker and Ian Marter – who played the Fourth Doctor’s companion Harry Sullivan – had a truly bonkers idea for a Doctor Who movie. They even wrote a script for it, but it never got made. Now, Baker himself is taking what could’ve been and turning it into a new novel.
Revealed today to mark Doctor Who’s 55th anniversary today (god, it has been 5 years since “The Day of the Doctor”, that’s oddly harder to reckon with than the fact Doctor Who is 55!) BBC books will release Baker’s adaptation of the script he and Marter worked on with director James Hill all those years ago early next year. Simply titled Scratchman – down from the film’s planned title of Doctor Who Meets Scratchman – the novel will see the Fourth Doctor, Harry, and Sarah Jane Smith face off against their fears and the deadly, titular entity. Here’s the full cover and synopsis:
What are you afraid of?
The 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. And the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play…
What this synopsis doesn’t get across, however, is just how insane Baker and Marter’s idea really was. Scratchman was, for all intents and purposes, was the Capital-D-Devil, and the duo wanted Vincent Price to play him. British model Twiggy was rumoured to have a role. The script itself – a story synopsis of which eventually made its way into the pages of Doctor Who magazine a few years ago – included new monsters, like sinister scarecrows and humanoid robots called the Cybors, and appearances from Who classics like the Daleks and the Cybermen.
Oh, and this is all before we got to the fact that Scratchman’s grand finale took place on a giant pinball table in which the Doctor, Sarah, and Harry had to score millions of points (and avoid being crushed by flying pinballs) to beat the devil.
And now we’re getting a version of it apparently written by Baker himself? It’s going to be wild. Doctor Who: Scratchman hits bookshelves – alongside an audiobook version narrated by Baker – January 24, 2019. [H/T Radio Times]