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Doctor Who: Scratchman

4th Doctor Novel
Written by: Tom Baker
Narrated by: Tom Baker
Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 40 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.... 

Tom Baker himself reads this legendary Doctor Who adventure, a spine-chilling thriller 40 years in the making.

©2019 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2019 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bravo Tom Baker Bravo!!

the reading was a constant joy to listen to officially making Tom Baker my favorite doctor and making me now grasping to find all the episodes he's in!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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My favourite Doctor reads his own original novel!

So great to have Tom Baker read his own Doctor Who story! And he completely owns the narration. So much fun.

The story itself is episodic, just like the original, with lots of throwbacks to the old series. And of course the Doctor's old pals from Gallifrey. Don't skip the epilogue!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The Continued Mysteries of The Fourth Doctor

As usual the 4th Doctor has his little interesting marvels of truth while sarcastically getting through the problem at hand. As well as yet again having to answer to his own Galifrain race & saving his companions as they help the Doctor save a little of himself at the sametime. While revealing in his own way some big secret about his own future/past.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Tom Baker is wonderful as the Doctor

His story is gripping yet fanciful and was a pleasure to listen to. A marvelous tale of the fourth Doctor and his friends

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All Doctors ranked (TV only)

*note this is opinion based only, and I do love every Doctor on this list with the exception of the very bottom spot*

14.Jodie Whittaker (13th Doctor: 2018-????)
13.Colin Baker (6th Doctor: 1984-1986)
12.John Hurt (War Doctor: 2013)
11.Peter Davison (5th Doctor: 1981-1984)
10.William Hartnell (1st Doctor: 1963-1966)
9.Patrick Troughton (2nd Doctor: 1967-1969)
8.Paul McGann (8th Doctor: 1996, 2013)
7.Christopher Eccleston (9th Doctor: 2005)
6.John Pertwee (3rd Doctor: 1970-1974)
5.Peter Capaldi (12th Doctor: 2014-2017)
4.Matt Smith (11th Doctor: 2010-2013)
3.David Tennant (10th Doctor: 2005-2010)
2.Sylvester McCoy (7th Doctor: 1987-1989)
1.Tom Baker (4th Doctor: 1974-1981)

(Also, Scratchman is great, 10/10)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • NM
  • 2019-01-31

Narrated and Written by THE (4th) Doctor!!

One of the reasons I jumped on the Audible bandwagon was to gain access to Doctor Who (4th Doctor) Audio Books as Tom Baker is (of course) the One True Doctor Who. There is the usual fare where the BBC releases a full length audio narration of one of the original TV shows, and those come out at a rate of several a year with usually a former companion/cast member, etc doing the narration (Ex: Sunmakers is out Feb 2019 and Warriors Gate is April 2019). However the BEST 4th Doctor stories are of course the ones narrated by Tom Baker himself and the Best of the Best - in my opinion - were always when something NEW was released as those are a joy to listen to. Previously, if my memory holds, three previous examples of this were the trilogy of Serpent's Crest, Hornet's Nest, and Demon Quest, and I think that is (or will be) available here in Audible Land as "The Nest Cottage Chronicles". With Scratchman you have something unique in that not only is this a "new" story narrated by Tom Baker, since he is also the author this would be the first Fourth Doctor story actually written by the Fourth Doctor!! Who (no pun intended) else would know the character better than Tom?

So far as the story itself goes, I would say it takes place back in between Classic Seasons 12 and 13 since it has Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan as companions. From what I read, this was supposed to have been a Dr. Who feature film in the mid 70s, but it wasn't in the cards and the script ended up gathering dust for 40-ish years. Then again, if it HAD been made into a movie back in the 70s, odds are it would have been on a shoe-string budget and the end result would have been a movie that was only aired during the the 2am time slot. While the original script was filed away, with Tom's return to the character over at Big Finish with the Fourth Doctor Adventures, interest in the "lost story" grew and in 2019 we are fortunate to have a "new" story that has been allowed to mature and improve along with the character. Plus with the benefit of it being an audio-only (theater-of-the-mind) production, lack of a huge special effects budget isn't an issue and what we end up with is a first rate story.

Performance? Great! I am not the best at describing things, so I guess I would say what makes this a great listen is that you can tell he is Having Fun with the character and the narration. For lack of a better analogy, think of having to read a work of Classic Literature in high school vs reading it For Fun later in life. You can tell the difference when it's Fun rather than a Chore, and you can tell that Scratchman is - Fun.

I don't want to give anything away, so the only part of the story I would like to focus on is at the end where he sort of / kind of breaks the Fourth Wall. The "Epilogue" and "PS From The Doctor" are quite moving, and worth listening to by themselves.


Unrelated Stuff (why an Audible subscription is worth having):
If you would like to listen to another great 4th Doctor-era short story (narrated by Tom Baker), there is "Jak and the Wormhole". It's only 23-ish minutes, but it's worth a listen. Also it would appear that some of the previous BBC Stories (Unit Era) that were narrated by Tom are being re-released as "collections", so you can fill out your collection for only a credit or two.

12 people found this helpful

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  • JOhn Michelin
  • 2019-01-26

OMG

this is the best reading of doctor who yet! Baker had reached back to the original idea.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer Baratta
  • 2019-01-30

4th Doctor adventure with a visit from 13th Doctor

For Whovians and Tom Baker fans. Sarah Jane is a companion here and leaves an afterword in the last chapter.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Phoenix
  • 2019-01-26

Absolutely brilliant.

My first and perhaps best ever audio book . What a treat. I loved it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jim
  • 2019-01-25

Ol' Scratch has got nothin' on The Doctor

A Tall-tale from a Great Soul. A life's work bound in a single story. There are so many deeply meaningful insights as throw-away lines, delivered in the inimitable Tom Baker style it is like a crash course on British understated bravado. Keep Calm and Doctor On. I will revisit this as many times as I can and hope to learn about the power of the word and story telling from The Master (NO - The Doctor!).

4 people found this helpful

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  • Feargal Gallagher
  • 2019-11-20

Tom Baker IS The Doctor!

This is a highly enjoyable addition to any Who library. Amongst other things, it recreates the fun and excitement that the trio of the The Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Harry shared when they started their TV adventures together under the production team of Hinchcliff and Holmes. It’s well known that the story was begun as an idea for a big-budget film played around with by Tom Baker and Ian Marter, so it is a labour of love brought to completion at last. But as well as the elements of youthful fun and companionship, Baker also brings the older man’s wisdom and thoughtfulness to the book. Even though it is a rollicking series of life-or-death stand-offs and narrow escapes in the best Doctor Who tradition, much of it is a wry commentary on what Doctor Who means to its audience and to Baker, the actor possibly most identified with the character. Indeed, this is the work where the Doctor and Baker become practically identical with each other, and there are points where its hard to tell if it’s the author or the Gallifreyan narrator who is expressing such delight in being the Fourth Doctor. This is further amplified in the Audiobook version, read by Baker himself, as only he can. The story contains an archetypal Hinchcliff-era story of a remote island under siege by creepy scarecrows, but in the second half expands out to a more symbolic parable of the Doctor making his way in Dante-esque fashion through various levels of hell, as he deals with the fears and weaknesses of his ego. The entirety of Doctor Who is also contained in this section, as the Fourth Doctor meets shadowy stand-ins for the various other incarnations of The Doctor. Overall, I’d say this is an essential listen/read for anyone interested in all things Who, but also an entertaining if creepy adventure starring one of the most accessible and popular Doctors for the general reader. I loved this. Baker himself is a treasure, and he puts everything into this performance/reading. The time spent with his Doctor on this adventure was a joy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • L. Chaney
  • 2019-08-28

Thank you, Tom

I'm in the best of tears right now. I can't remember the last time I loved something so much, or was so unabashedly happy. A wonderful story wonderfully told by the fellow born to tell it. It's been like traveling back some forty years, when Doctor Who first became part of my life: nostalgia, wonder, and a cracking good tale, full of colorful detail, humor, insight, and the most perfect knowledge of the characters propelling it. Thank you, Mr. Baker-- or, if I may, thank you, Tom. Many, many thanks.

1 person found this helpful

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  • yukonzach
  • 2019-04-01

An absolute joy to listen to!

This is MY doctor. I grew up with him. I watched him every Saturday night on PBS. Now he has written a novel that is tailor-made for the incarnation of the Doctor that he played for years. And then he READS it! You hear every laugh, every smile, and even every grin. I pictured him perfectly while going through this adventure. There are surprises, tense moments, and misdirection. This was one of the best times I have ever had listening to a book. Tom Baker is not only an amazing actor, he was born for dramatized audio too. If you like Doctor Who even in the slightest, this story will not disappoint you at all. What fun!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sarge Davis
  • 2019-01-30

smart

what a smart and fancyful boOk.
so nice to hear your voice again Doctor. thank you

1 person found this helpful

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  • Zack
  • 2019-01-25

Tom Baker was the best Doctor

It's kind of like having the Fourth Doctor personally recount one of his adventures to you. Tom Baker truly knows his Doctor inside, and out. He gifts the listener with a peek inside the head of his Doctor. His performance is superb! It's like the perfect episode of Classic who, and he hints at New Who a few times, which is delightful. I cannot recommend this audiobook enough for any fan of Doctor Who. The Fourth Doctor is always a joy to see (or hear) in action! I was sad when it was over. Best audiobook I've heard in awhile.

3 people found this helpful