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Doctor Who: Scratchman

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  100 reviews
What are you afraid of?

In his first-ever Doctor Who novel, Tom Baker’s incredible imagination is given free rein. A story so epic it was originally intended for the big screen, Scratchman is a gripping, white-knuckle thriller almost forty years in the making.

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the ap
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 24th 2019 by BBC Books
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  402 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Stephen Robert Collins
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There number of things that make me mad about this book first why is Tom Baker as author only on the cover, then inside with small letters James Goss but Worse is real insult Copyright Tom Baker & Ian Martin. Ian Martin Who played Harry Sullivan has no proper credit to book that He wrote back in 1970s with Tom; because he is dead. Both Ian & James Goss should also been on the cover the BBC is too blame as much as Tom but Sorry I think its typical of Baker to hog dead man's limelight. Hav ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was looking forward to this as I wanted to see what Tom Baker would come up with. I knew he'd tried to get a movie off the ground in '76 and apparently this book is based on that storyline. Oddly the storyline feels more like a Barry Letts/Jon Pertwee story than a Tom Baker one. Unfortunately, if I put my writer's hat on, the book is a structural mess. It shouldn't have been written in 1st person when the story wanders off into 3rd person. There's an explanation for this (the Doctor is omnipot ...more
The Doctor, Harry Sullivan and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island where they intend to enjoy a picnic lunch, a nap and skip stones. All of that changes when they discover hideous scarecrows are taking over the small village. They will soon be in a fight for their lives as a sinister alien force is at work. As the story progresses we learn The Doctor is on trial on Gallifrey. The Time Lords have questions that must be answered.  He is retelling the events of the story to the coun ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
So, here’s an unusual arrival for Doctor Who fans.

Scratchman is a novel that, forty years ago, was the outline for a proposed movie when the television series Doctor Who was arguably at its most popular. Written by the Doctor of the time, Tom Baker, with Ian Marter (who played assistant Harry Sullivan at the same time) it sadly never came to be.

Now, Tom Baker (recently 85 years old, unbelievably), with the assistance of Doctor Who novelist James Goss (whose Timelord poetry I reviewed a while bac
Paul Griggs
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The legendary film script devised by Tom Baker and Ian Marter brought to life by Tom with the help of some friends. It would have been such fun to see Tom standing up against “old Scratch” on the big screen. If you’ve ever read any of Tom’s previous prose then you’ll have an idea of what to expect, but don’t think for one moment that this is a straight novelisation from a mid-1970s perspective. The book uses and references aspects of Doctor Who that have developed in the years since, so don’t be ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely glorious narration by Tom Baker. A national treasure.
Jake Girdlestone
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first knew of this book when I saw an advertisement in doctor who magazine. A fourth doctor novel .. from the viewpoint of the doctor... written by Tom Baker !?
I had to give this a go!
And I’m glad I did.
So the basic premise of the book:
The Doctor is on trial by the timelords (again) for meddling in certain events and faces imminent death (yeah , right!).
So, in order to avoid ‘the sword of never’ from wiping him out the Doctor reels off one of his tall adventures in the ho
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-who, 2019
I really, really liked this. The story is told by the Doctor himself, so it makes perfect sense to listen to the audiobook read by Tom Baker. It's an outstanding performance as you can imagine. He has a voice that makes the crowds listen (but wait). Who doesn't get goosebumps in "Day oft the Doctor", when one can hear his "Well, I think you might"?!
The story is a good solid Doctor Who adventure and the good thing is: It really feels like a TV story. You can't say that for every book. First I wa
Iain Mclaughlin
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Delicious stuff. By turns funny, scary, thoughtful and flat out bonkers, this is much more than a novelisation of an unmade movie. It's rather a splendid novel and a wonderful bit of Doctor Who. I enjoyed it enormously.
Alex Sarll
Tom Baker's old pitch for a Who film in which the Doctor meets the Devil, rendered as prose by Baker himself and James Goss*. Baker's roguish 85th birthday video, and general cynicism about the division of labour in such projects, lead one to suspect Goss may have done more of the work than the cover credit suggests, but his novelisations of the Douglas Adams Who stories have already shown that Goss can catch the Fourth Doctor's voice admirably, and if nothing else Baker's imprimatur means the b ...more
Bryan Mitchell
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who, favorites
A script for a possible feature-length Doctor Who movie in the 1970s is reborn as a novel written by the Fourth Doctor himself (Tom Baker) with a little help from James Goss who was responsible for the equally marvelous City of Death novelization among other things. Having Baker himself as the reader for the audiobook is some very delicious icing on the cake and much like his acting in his Big Finish adventures, he shows no signs of slowing down. I'm still waiting on my hardcover edition to come ...more
Iain Hepburn
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Decidedly mediocre and shallow, with an ending that struggles to translate what would have at least been an interesting cinematic ending into a proper print climax. The shoehorning of nu-Who nods and winks into it also hampers the tone, making it a 70s prog album with backing vocals by the Spice Girls. Disappointing.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
(Probably 3.5 but I'm rounding up because of Tom) There were parts of this that were sheer brilliance and it was a joy to hear Tom reading them. The thirteenth Doctor showing up and her interacting with the 4th were wonderful. Harry and Sarah having the picnic which felt like a missing scene from the 70s. The transformation of the humans into scarecrows. The asides about the Time Lords, the mosaic bringing back the scarecrow's memories.
There were however several bits which really dragged. Sarah
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Audiobook review)


I’d highly recommend listening to this rather than just reading it. Tom Baker really brings the story to life, and his characterisation of the fourth doctor is spot on (as you’d expect!)

The plot was very typical of a doctor who tv story, and a good mix of humour and creepy moments. I felt it did get a bit needlessly complex in the latter part of the book, but this was an enjoyable story nonetheless.

Michael Cook
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Doctor Who: Scratchman is a story that's been gestating for a long time. Beginning life as an idea for a film by the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, himself, Scratchman never resulted in an actual film, and the idea gathered a lot of dust as Baker moved onto other things. Until now, that is. Aided by prolific Doctor Who novelist, James Goss, Tom Baker returned to his Scratchman idea and turned it into the newest Doctor Who novel from BBC Books. So, is the novel worth the long wait? More or less, yeah. ...more
Avrei voluto dare il massimo a questa storia, novellizzazione di un'idea per un film di Tom Baker e Ian Marter, ma più di tre non riesco. La quarta è per l'interpretazione di Tom Baker, più Dottore del Dottore nella lettura dell'audiolibro.
Le idee sono interessanti e il lavoro di James Goss per riadattare il tutto (e aggiungere tutti gli accenni alle nuove stagioni della serie) deve essere stato impegnativo. Ma il risultato finale è a volte troppo troppo.
La prima parte vede il quarto Dottore, Sa
John Bastin
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting story, the Doctor facing a large jury of his peers who are disturbed at how he works and affects the universe as a whole. We move from the inquest to the Doctor's rebuttal from chapter to chapter, seeing history as it happened, seemingly rushing through a typical Doctor Who solution to an atypical problem threatening the universe. In the first half, we are in a tumultuous rush working against a team of scarecrows that seems determined to take over their environment for the ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-scifi
2.5 stars
Colleen  Beers
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. A real gripping story with a few surprises and camels thrown in for good measure. Well worth the read, I listened and having Tom Baker narrate is just genius. Highly recommend for any Doctor Who fans.
Ned Netherwood
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful stuff. A vintage Who adventure from the minds of Tom Baker and Ian Marter realized with more than a little help from James Goss. At times the humour is prime Baker and the story is mad as cheese but it's all delivered in a smoothly readable delight with a few cheeky continuity references to the modern show. I did worry it was writing itself into a corner with the villain but it manages a genuinely satisfying ending. The audiobook narrated by Tom himself is a joy
Craig Andrews
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Lovely 4th Doctor adventure! The first and second section are superb as is the end with only a short silly bit I didn't like at all. I can't recommend listening to Tom Baker's narration enough as whilst he doesn't have the range of some actors doing audio books his 4th Doctor is, obviously, beyond reproach ;)
Neil Fulwood
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The legendary unmade Doctor Who movie finally sees the light of day in the form of a deliciously genre-bending novel by the Fourth (and best) Doctor, Tom Baker himself. Read it and it’s impossible not to hear that distinctive voice in your head. Read it and you can easily imagine what it would have looked like onscreen. It’s every bit as eccentric, unpredictable, hilarious, scary and silly as any number of your favourite episodes from the series’s heyday.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As an old Hammer fan I loved the folk-horror of the first half of the book. And only Tom Baker could write the Doctor in the first person.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

They say that you never forget your first Doctor. The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, was mine. The first episode I saw was The Talons of Weng Chiang. It was the late 1980s and Doctor Who was broadcast on WTTW in Chicago at 11 pm every Sunday night. It says a whole lot about a whole lot of things that my hour or so with the Doctor every weekend was often the high point of my week.

Listening to Tom Baker read his own Doctor Who novel was like stepping back into my
Owen Townend
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a pleasant surprise. Not that I had assumed the inestimable Tom Baker wouldn't write a capable yarn about his most iconic role but that it would be such a genuinely fun Doctor Who adventure.

While I wasn't surprised that Baker would write in the first person perspective of the Doctor (after all, as he himself has expressed, he never stopped being him) or that his prose would be full of droll observations and juicy lines, I was shocked to find so many references to the past of Doctor Who
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
'Scratchman' co-written by Tom Baker and James Goss, was originally devised by Baker and Ian Marter (who played the companion Harry Sullivan at the time) in the 1970s, but for whatever reason, was never made.

It starts off with the Doctor on trial on Gallifrey, summoned to the Convocation of Oblivion to account for his actions before his Time Lord peers, and there, he recounts the tale of his encounter with Scratchman. We revisit the court sporadically throughout the book as interludes, as the D
Jason Wilson
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Way back in the seventies when Tom was a new Doctor , he wrote a film script with Ian Marter his co actor. Marter was a good writer who would write several very good Dr Who novelisations and nearly wrote for the series itself ; shame he never got to contribute to the new era of print and audio fiction that followed the original series’ end.

The film never got made. It came close but finance failed. The only previous attempts had been two 60s adaptions of tv Dalek stories. Bigger budgeted but lig
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an enjoyable mess. It’s all over the place, throwing everything in, taking advantage of the fact that this is a book and we don’t have to spend millions making it all look cool on screen. I’m not even too sure what to say about it. It definitely held my attention, but I felt distracted by the constant switching between first and third person. The set pieces are exciting and imaginative, yet I felt that it would have benefited from being a little more focused; it’s all over the place in t ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tom Baker, Ian Marter, and James Goss spun a tale of The Doctor facing the Devil himself.
Interesting that this story was ever so slowly formed over the course of four decades and retains the spirit of the 1970s era of the show well. It must be a TimeLord trick.
Interesting too is the use of The Doctor as a first-person narrator. This challenge is met with some cheating (Rule #1: The Doctor always lies). The frame story is logical but brings very little to the storytelling.
It's not a perfect book
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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Thomas Stewart "Tom" Baker is an English actor and comedian. He is best known for playing the fourth incarnation of the Doctor from 1974 to 1981 in Doctor Who, and for narrating Little Britain. He was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards for his role as Rasputin in the 1971 film Nicholas and Alexandra.