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Literature / Doctor Who Meets Scratchman

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The one that Darth Vader killed (at first).

In the 1970s, Tom Baker was starring in Doctor Who and the show was at its peak popularity. So popular, in fact, that Tom and his costar Ian Marter, who played his companion Harry, decided that they should take advantage of this and bring the Doctor to the big screen. Ian had experience working on the Target Doctor Who Novelisations, and in between filming episodes the two concocted a script called Doctor Who Meets Scratchman which pitted the Doctor against the Devil (played by Vincent Price no less) calling himself Harry Scratch, Scratch being a nickname for the Devil in English folklore. Tom wanted the film made badly enough that he solicited fans for donations, but after legal advice returned them. The runaway success of Star Wars, and its effects on popular sci-fi, effectively nipped the bud on a film like this being made.

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However, Tom Baker never let go of the story, and with the help of writer James Goss turned his screenplay into a book that was published in early 2019.


Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Scratchman creates scarecrow mockeries of the Doctor's past selves. The Doctor comments that this look suits Third and he ought to keep it.
  • BBC Quarry: The Doctor thinks the hell dimension looks a lot like a quarry. He also refers to Uxarieus as a "chalk-pit of a world".
  • Call-Forward:
  • Driver of a Black Cab: Charon the Ferryman has been reinvented as one. He's had all the previous Doctors in the back once.
  • First-Person Smartass: The story is told first-person by the Doctor and, well, he's the Fourth Doctor.
  • Framing Story: The Doctor is describing events to the Time Lords, who have put him on trial again.
  • Gym Class Rope Climb: It's briefly mentioned that the reason Sarah Jane is quite athletic is that she worked very hard at this, in order to prove the sadistic PE teacher wasn't getting to her.
  • Lethal Klutz: Harry Sullivan, who's portrayed as ambling along, tripping over his own feet, and accidentally taking down all the scarecrows that attack him, often without noticing they're there.
  • Not So Above It All: The Time Lords start out being arrogantly unconcerned about individual lives, insisting the Doctor should have weighed The Needs of the Many, but once they start getting into the story, they're horrified when Harry appears to die.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: While the Doctor and Sarah scrub their minds of anything Scratch could use against them, Harry has an image of the Doctor and Scratch playing a game of pinball for the universe. Cue the Pinball Zone...
  • Reverse Psychology: The Doctor is trying to get the inhabitants of the village to assemble in the church, where they'll be safe from the Monster of the Week. But the only person he finds is a nasty, suspicious postmistress, who won't listen to him. So he uses the phone box outside to call his companions at the church, and "remind" them that this safe haven is only for VIPs, secure in the knowledge the postmistress will be listening in, and will shortly be rallying the villagers to march on the church and demand entry.
  • Scary Scarecrows: They're also The Virus.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: The Doctor claims not to be the sort of person who peeks at the last page, and then attempts to distract Sarah Jane from this blatant lie by pointing out the last page doesn't contain The Reveal anyway, you need to go a few pages further back for that, otherwise you just get the tying up of subplots and "Also by this author". (There may be a bit of Leaning on the Fourth Wall in the fact this happens in the book's third epilogue.)
  • Your Worst Nightmare: Scratchman seeks the Doctor's, and places him in various scenarios that he thinks might prompt it (fear of not being the Doctor, fear of boredom, fear of failing his friends). When he does discover the Doctor's worst nightmare, it's too much for him. (Because, it's hinted in the epilogue, the thought of being overwhelmed by fear is the Doctor's greatest nightmare.)

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