Tom Baker Answers Fan Questions About Scratchman

9781785943904 • $23.99
Hardcover • Science Fiction • Ages 16+
On sale: 2/26/19

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 appearance of strange creatures - hideous scarecrows, who are 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...

The Fourth Doctor himself, discusses the novel's creation and answers fan questions with Doctor Who Magazine's Emily Cook. Watch the interview below, or read the transcription! 


Emily Cook: And that’s when I decided I wanted to be a journalist.

Tom Baker: *snores*

Emily Cook: Did you fall asleep while I was talking to you, Tom?

Tom Baker: A journalist?

Emily Cook: Yes, I just told you the whole story. You missed it.

Tom Baker: Oh, yes.

Emily Cook: So, as I was saying, my name’s Emily Cook and I’m from Dr Who magazine. And today, I’ve got a list of questions from your adoring fans.

Tom Baker: Oh good.

Emily Cook: We posted out the cover to your wonderful, new book up on social media and the questions flooded in, and we’ve picked a few of our favourites to ask you right now. Are you ready?

Tom Baker: Yes.

Emily Cook: You’re ready? From Ann Tucker, and the question is, ‘What was your inspiration for this tale?’

Tom Baker: Oooh, well I mean I just have an impulse to tell stories, that’s all. And only tall stories, so I started on this tall story – a long time ago, it’s only actually come to fruition recently, but I started on it a long, long time ago. It was just a desire to tell a story, you know, I like telling stories.

Emily Cook: And you were working on it with Ian Marta (sp?) weren’t you?

Tom Baker: Well, at the beginning, yes, we did work on it together but he didn’t stay long because he was so young and handsome. When he got the job it was because he was expected to run around for an old man playing The Doctor, and they changed it, and they got me and I wasn’t old then. And so, he didn’t have much to do, so we spent a lot of time laughing together.

Emily Cook: And bouncing ideas?

Tom Baker: That’s right. And yeah, telling, yeah, telling each other stories; things like that. That was the germ effectively. It’s changed a lot over the years.

Emily Cook: Joseph Morrison asks, ‘When writing the novel, did you stick simply to your original vision for the movie or did you add things you’d developed an interest in seeing in Dr Who since?’

Tom Baker: Wee it was all, you know, hiccupping. I’ve led a hiccupping life actually. It was in bit-starts, and I’d do a bit and then get bored with it. You know, I’m not really a writer. Writers are disciplined people who can stay with it, you know. I’m, you know, a messing around kind of writer, you know. It just came in bits and flashes and then I put it away. And then, not so long ago, it all came back when someone discovered this manuscript. And, you know, helped me to lick it into shape and make it into a thrilling Dr Who story. So, all my stories are like that.

Emily Cook: So, is this how you would have originally wanted the movie to be? Or is this a different version of that story?

Tom Baker: Well, no, no this is a more elaborate version, you know with many strands. So, you know it seems to me, the Dr Who moves backwards and forwards in time and, you know, has dreams or you don’t know where he is all the time because he’s in different places. And so, I thought I could throw anything in I liked. And I did.

Emily Cook: Dallis Jones wants to know a bit more Ian Marta, your co- star, Harry Sullivan in Dr Who with you and Elizabeth Slayden who plays Sarah Jane Smith. Can you share some of your memories of Ian Marta with us?

Tom Baker: Well, yes I can. Ian was young and wonderful fun to be with, but disappointed that as soon as we got going, there wasn’t enough for him to do. That pressed us together, I was sorry about that. So, we became friendly. And the same, of course, applied to Elizabeth because, as you know, Elizabeth didn’t stay long in Dr Who when I joined. That’s because she thought she was going to be replaced – she was mistaken. She thought Phillip Hinchcliffe would want to; when her contract ran out, want to choose someone else. He loved her, and she made a mistake and she left Dr Who too early. And, we missed her terribly. Later on, of course, I met her at Dr Who conventions and we became great pals. Yes, was an adorable girl. Adorable. 

Emily Cook: So, do you wish there had been more of Harry and Sarah and The Doctor?

Tom Baker: Well, I wish there had but unfortunately the young people do have the running about, don’t they. I was able to, in those days, run about and so there was less for them to do.

Emily Cook: Yeah. Veronique Surosdi (sp?) would like to know, ‘Did you ever trip over your scarf?’

Tom Baker: *nods* Often, and deliberately as well, because it used to absolutely slay people, you know. So, if I saw somebody coming I’d instantly fall over my scarf and that usually led to drinks at a pub afterwards, I suppose. It was just a way of getting into contact with people and it was wonderful. I can’t do it now because if I do it now, I can’t get up.

Emily Cook: Dayen Milik asks, ‘How do you see the future of Dr Who?’ Big question that. Tom Baker:

Tom Baker: Well it could go anyway, anything’s possible, can’t they? They can travel through time and space. Backwards and forwards through time and space. They can make themselves invisible. I mean, last week we were with Cleopatra, the last queen of the Nile. I was recording that for big finish productions, and that was wonderful for me: encountering Mark Antony and Cleopatra. God, she was gorgeous, this girl, yes. And she arrived, the actress arrived in a barge actually.

Emily Cook: We’ve got a question from Christoph Lupus Iglak: ‘If you had the chance to have the Tardis for one day in real life, where and when would you go? And why?’

Tom Baker: No, well if I got the choice, the moment I had the choice, I probably wouldn’t accept the choice. You know, I’ve travelled a lot anyway. And I’m old now and I’m very, very happy to be old and in Rye because, you know, when you’re in Rye and you’re as old as me, you look very young compared to Rye. I don’t really want to go anywhere very far. I mean, I’m rather keen on gardening now, and walking in the woods with my dog and cat; I’ve got a Burmese Cat that likes to walk in the woods with me. I’m very happy right now as I am, and I’ve no desire to change it.

Emily Cook: Is there anywhere you wish you had visited?

Tom Baker: Well, probably, yes. Probably I should have gone somewhere, but you know I, wherever I went, I met people who were kind to me and listened to my stories and I listened to their stories and I’ve no complaints really. I’m really quite a happy old man and ready to go.

Emily Cook: Not yet. We’re not done yet.

Tom Baker: Oh, no, not yet.

Emily Cook: ‘What is your favourite monster?’ is a question sent in by Aiden Jax.

Tom Baker: My favourite monster, well it was always, my favourite monster was always had to be the Daleks because they’re so idiotic and they always ge5t beaten and they never learn, do they.

Emily Cook: Nope!

Tom Baker: And, of course, they’ve got such hideous voices, you know, and they always shout the same short of things and don’t tell stories. There’s no tenderness about them. And, I like them because I always beat them and I used to nod away while they were shouting at me, I’d nod away, and sometimes I’d look away and wink at whoever was in the scene with me. They always cut my winks out because the BBC don’t like actors who wink. But, you know, it didn’t matter. But, the Daleks actually, because they were so predictable and ridiculous, yes.

Emily Cook: And so iconic, as well.

Tom Baker: Oh, yes, they were merciless, yeah. And I always beat them.

Emily Cook: The last question is from Richie Mook, he says ‘Hi,Tom.’

Tom Baker: Hi, Richie.

Emily Cook: He can’t wait to read your book, and he would like to ask you, ‘Would you like a jelly baby?’

Tom Baker: Aaaaah.

Emily Cook: Would you like one?

Tom Baker: Would I like a jelly baby? I wonder how Mook knew about this?

Emily Cook: Well, the fans, they’re not silly.

Tom Baker: He might not have any vowels in his name…

Emily Cook: Okay, you got a green one.

Tom Baker: But he knows my tastes, yes. Cheers, kid. Do you want half of this with me?

Emily Cook: I’ll have my whole one.

Tom Baker: You have a whole one, yes. That’s a fair jelly baby, yes.

Emily Cook: Mmmmm.

Tom Baker: Well, here’s to Mr Mook, then!

Emily Cook: Thanks.

Tom Baker: Bye-bye. Bye-bye.