Called Scratchman, the book began life in the 1970s during Baker’s tenure as the beloved Fourth Doctor, when between scenes he kicked around ideas for a new story for the series alongside Ian Marter (who played Harry Sullivan in Doctor Who), later writing them up into a script.
Now, after many failed attempts to bring the story to screen over the years (and a few decades where the script languished, forgotten in an archive) Scratchman is finally coming to life in a new novel written by Baker.
“I love the improbability of Doctor Who,” the actor and author said in a release.
“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.”
“When I was approached about the book, I thought, ‘Why not?’” he went on.
Tom Baker in the newly-completed Shada in 2017 (BBC, HF)
“I’m always on the lookout for a novelty. I’m very enthusiastic as I get close to darkness.”
Scratchman is set to be released in hardback in January, as is described by BBC books as “a gripping, white-knuckle thriller almost 40 years in the making.”
A synopsis for the story can also be read below.
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…
Previous attempts to fund the Scratchman story included Baker accidentally appealing to the British public for money in the newspapers, resulting in the actor receiving young fans’ pocket money that he later returned.
An audiobook version of Scratchman read by Baker will also be released alongside the novel. He has also previously written an autobiography, Who On Earth Is Tom Baker? and the “darkly comic” novel, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs.