DOCTOR WHO: SCRATCHMAN By Tom Baker
Penguin Random House, h/b, £16.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
If you’re of a certain age (i.e. mid-to-late 30’s and above), then Tom Baker should really need no introduction. One of the most iconic of the “classic” Doctors, his hat and long, knitted scarf are instantly recognisable.
This book has been a very long time coming, having started life as a script written by Tom Baker and Ian Marter (who played companion Harry Sullivan) almost 40 years ago.
Tom Baker’s writing style as the Doctor is imitable and unmistakable – reading it you can almost hear his voice in your ear. It begins with the Doctor yet again imprisoned by the Time Lords, brought to bear for his latest alleged crimes. He tells them the tale of how he, Harry Sullivan and Sarah Jane Smith encountered Scratchman, a being that sees your fears and uses them against you. Scratchman wants to find out what the Doctor fears, as well as taking over our dimension (of course).
This is classic Doctor Who – thrilling, filled with humour, gothic horror and the usual science fiction that fans of the Doctor know and love. The Doctor bounds with his usual boyish (at least in this incarnation) enthusiasm from one crisis to another – battling animated scarecrows, breaking into another dimension and teaching the Time Lords the meaning of fear. This is, without doubt, an essential addition to any sci-fi fan’s bookshelf.