Tom Baker has spoken about his hopes for Doctor Who: Scratchman, the long-awaited novelisation of the unmade film script he wrote with Ian Marter in the 1970s.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Baker said:
“The one thing that is left to me now, that I’m filled with hope for, is Scratchman will be the success that I used to dream about and now makes my old heart jump. The story is a good story and worth telling and I think they’ll love it.”
The actor admits it was difficult writing for Sarah Jane Smith, played on TV by the much-loved actress Elisabeth Sladen, who passed away in April 2011:
“I missed her terribly – she was legendary, wasn’t she? I loved her and she loved me and there was a wonderful relationship, a confident relationship that comes out in Scratchman, I hope.”
The story’s Scottish setting was inspired by Baker’s love of tall stories – “Scottish history is full of them, so I’m in my element up there” – while the book’s villain drew on his youth as a Catholic:
“I’ve been interested in the Devil all my life because of my religious background – I was brought up with great drama and very conscious of Sin. When you’re very ordinary in Liverpool in 1940 and you’re working class and have got nothing, you suddenly find an outlet – and in those days, there was no other outlet than the great drama of religion.”
Of course, Baker didn’t stay very ordinary for long, and when he made his debut as the Fourth Doctor in 1974, he quickly became adored by millions. He said:
“To be a children’s hero gave me such pleasure. The fact that they were inspired by my nonsense and heroism enchanted me.”
Despite Baker’s use of the past tense, his Doctor continues to inspire fans around the world. Hot on the heels of Scratchman‘s recent release, next month sees the release of another Blu-ray boxed set from BBC Studios (this time collecting his final series as the Doctor) while The Fourth Doctor Adventures: Season 8 Volume 2 from Big Finish will be out this month.