I hadn’t expected to be so moved by this.
The existence of Tom Baker narrating the audio version of a novel he wrote and which is written from the point of view of The Fourth Doctor (a little note: there may be another one out there, but I haven’t before encountered a book written from The Doctor’s perspective) sent me scrabbling for an Audible subscription. The fact that this book was additionally based on DOCTOR WHO v SCRATCHMAN, the legendary, seemingly bonkers never-made-film that Tom Baker and Ian Marter concocted in the 1970s gave it an extra frisson. This was going to be unbridled Tom Baker and I couldn’t wait.
So, I was already looking forward to it, but I didn’t expect it to be so touching. There’s a long passage given over to The Fourth Doctor saying how much he enjoys being The Doctor, that it suits him to the tee and he couldn’t imagine existence without it. And it’s obvious that Tom Baker is talking about himself. That this is how he felt about the role which made him an icon. Furthermore, the actors who played the two companions of the piece – Elisabeth Sladen at Sarah Jane Smith and Ian Marter as Harry Sullivan have both passed on and the book is a loving tribute to them. Particularly Sarah, who is an icon in her own right. The book actually ends with a letter from Sarah and it’s quite lovely and magical and made me miss Elisabeth Sladen all the more.
(There’s also the appearance of another woman, whose identity we don’t realise until the end, and I was hugely touched by that too. Lord. I feel such a softy.)
As a whole, it’s not perfect. Whereas the first half of the book is strong and really captures 1970’s DOCTOR WHO, the second feels long and padded despite numerous good jokes. But by the time it flagged, I wasn’t worried about story anymore, instead I was lost in the marvellous emotion of it.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!