Doctor Who: Scratchman by Tom Baker with James Goss – a review.

A bit of a change for this blog, a book review, but they say a change is as good as a rest so here goes.

A lot of how much you enjoy this novel will depend on your affection for Tom Baker’s Doctor, Ian Marter’s Harry Sullivan and Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith. Then again, if you’re thinking about reading this novel then you’re almost definitely a Doctor Who fan and probably a fan of Tom Baker’s Doctor so you’re most of the way there already.

The story is told from the point of view of the 4th Doctor, unusually for a Doctor Who novel. The voice is unmistakably that of Tom Baker’s Doctor, you can imagine him saying every word. Harry And Sarah Jane’s dialogue equally evokes the voices of the actors who portrayed them.

Beginning with an invasion of scarecrows on a remote island the story soon becomes the much publicised Doctor Who versus the Devil adventure. It is a fun adventure story with enough scares and peril for the Tardis crew to keep you interested, without ever becoming full blown Horror. In this way it feels a lot like the TV stories of the era, giving you enough to never stand the stakes and the evil of the bad guy but always leaving hope for the triumph of our heroes. Everything is well written and well paced, maintaining your interest (and a sense of imminent peril) from beginning to end.

However, the key emotion this novel brings, and its standout feature, is the sheer level of affection for the three heroes. This was a Tardis crew that always seemed to be great friends on screen and Tom Baker’s affection for his character, his co-stars characters and his co-stars themselves shines from the pages. The love for the characters is there in the description of every action they take and, as someone who loved these characters on screen, I found a tear forming on a regular basis.

Basically, if you’re a Doctor Who fan then you will enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of the 4th Doctor, Harry And Sarah Jane then this will rapidly become on of your favourite Doctor Who stories.

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