'Baker's End' - 'Tatty Bogle' is now on sale from www.bafflegab.co.uk ....!
I really love that sub-genre of British Horror fiction and film known as Folk Horror. There’s something so creepy and yet so ridiculous about hordes of horny-handed peasants in blood-spattered smocks dancing around a maypole waving scythes. There’s something that goes right back into the collective unconscious about it: we all go a bit funny when we see scarecrows and corn dollies and all that spooky kind of stuff.
It seemed to me that Happenstance is exactly the kind of place where the locals would give full vent to ancient customs and queer practices. They’re deep in the English countryside. They’ve never had BBC 2, let alone cable TV. They obey the old rhythms and laws of the land. And every thirteen years everyone makes a scarecrow of their own and leaves it somewhere it’ll scare the bejabbers out of everyone else. And a giant Tatty Bogle is erected on the village green, and his living Bride is roasted to death inside it, as everyone sings and has a rare old time of it. Oh, and it rains blood for several days running.
So… that’s the kind of Wickery Man / Bloody Satan Claw premise that I started with. Mr Simon Barnard was keen on having something with scarecrows, so I gave him scarecrows aplenty: even a hideous baby scarecrow thing that still makes me shiver, just thinking about it.
Rural horror and bloody rain… and talking cabbages. It’s all here. I had this lovely image of Tom talking earnestly to his best friend, a cabbage. It goes back to his suggestion, many years ago when he was Doctor Who (in the real world – not here) that a cabbage would make a good companion for the Doctor. I love the idea of taking that throwaway idea quite literally, and here Eric forms a critical part of this story’s hellbound climax.
I must point out that this episode is the most extreme instalment of Baker’s End yet. Things really start to get very odd indeed.
And I must say again – kudos to our brilliant cast and crew for going along with all these shenanigans. What a superbly funny and busy day we had in October recording this one. Singing! Raining blood! Fleeing from Hades! We barely had time to catch our breath. And, in the middle of it all, the formidable and gracious form of Tom Baker. He’s a legend, as we all know – but how hackneyed that phrase is. These days, so many people are called icons. But Tom Baker really is a piece of legend; a fragment of myth; a figure from a folk tale. He’s in his element, here at the heart of these stories, I think. He bellows and coos and declaims his crazy doggerel as the King of Cats and I couldn’t be prouder of the wonderfully mad and funny world we’ve created around him.