In the mid 1970′s, Doctor Who was enjoying a very successful season. The public seemed mad for more of Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and the bug-eyed monsters that threatened the universe. It should therefore come as no surprise that a feature film was once in development starring Tom Baker called Doctor Who Meets Scratchman.
This would have been the third feature film based on Doctor Who, the previous two starring Peter Cushing being mainly revamps of the first Dalek adventures in technicolour. Doctor Who Meets Scratchman would be an entirely different affair, however, as it would focus on a new story and fit within the continuity of the weekly program. The plot was a mystery until 2007 when a summary of the proposed movie was printed in Doctor Who Magazine.
Co-written by Tom Baker and Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan), the script is a baudy romp through Scotland involving scarecrows, humorous TARDIS dematerializations and lots of ambitious scenes inside the Doctor’s craft revealing that its internal workings are not only immense but include a massive jigsaw puzzle room and a grandfather clock bigger than Big Ben on the inside. The Doctor is far more random and Marks Brothers-like in this, using his long scarf in various ingenuous ways to defeat his enemies. So bizarre and insane is the Doctor that after discovering that a Black Shadow has brought him to face what appears to be the Devil, the Doctor plays with a yo-yo in retaliation.
From the Doctor Who Database:
Tom Baker- The script was about scarecrows becoming animated when a fertilizer on Earth goes horribly wrong. The scarecrows were able to make other scarecrows and they go on the rampage, raiding stores and using their sticks as weapons. The Cybermen came into it, too; there were wonderful scenes of the Cybermen coming out of the sea.
“The whole thing hinged on the fact that somewhere out in space was this creature called Scratchman, which is an old-world name for the Devil. He just wanted to make trouble. I remember the ending: we were going to turn the whole studio into a giant pinball table. The Doctor and his companions were stuck on this table and Scratchman was firing these balls at us. The balls disappeared down holes which were sort of gateways into other hells. It was a very violent film, but very funny too. The production office saw it and hated it, but I thought it was marvellous.”
Vincent Price was to play the main villain (Scratch) and the final confrontation centered on an enormous pinball game. Scratch cheats at one point by introducing Daleks into the pinball table (no doubt the Rolykin variety), but the Doctor manages to change the game of pinball into cricket at the last minute to save the day.
I remember reading a short mention of this rumored film back in the day and that producer Philip Hinchcliff viewed the movie project as pointless after seeing Star Wars, but that hardly seems to be the main problem. Perhaps the movie would have been entirely different if we had gotten to watch it, but the summary (reprinted here at the tardis wikia) is just bonkers.
The first two Doctor Who movies were successful, but not enough for the studio to invest in a third that would have adapted the madcap adventure the Chase. But there are some brilliant individuals who have theorized what a third Cushing project based on the Chase called Daleks Vs. Mechons would look like. The trailer is brilliant and incorporates ideas from Terry Nation’s script such as the evil robot version of the Doctor, the guest appearance of the Beatles and a robotic version of Dracula.
During the 1989-1996 hiatus there was talk of a cinematic adaption starring everyone from Rutger Hauer to Dudley Moore. In 2007. David Tennant was attempting to secure a higher salary anf a starring role in a bid budget Doctor Who movie that ended up not happening. There are still rumors of a new Doctor Who movie (see the recent Johnny Depp rumor), but so far we still only have the two 60′s Cushing films.
But, honestly, what would a modern big budget Doctor Who theatrical film look like?