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The Crooked Man was the third story in the third series of the Fourth Doctor Adventures, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by John Dorney and featured Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela.

Publisher's summary[]

Winter at the seaside. The wind blows. The waves crash. People are dying and a strange spindly figure stalks the cold, deserted streets. A typical holiday for the Doctor and Leela in other words.

When they stumble across a grotesque series of murders at the coast, the TARDIS travellers realise the local constabulary is out of its depth. Something supernatural has come to town, something evil. And it all seems to be tied in to a particular young family.

Monsters lurk behind strange doors. Tragic secrets wait to be uncovered. And somewhere, deep within, the Crooked Man sits. He is waiting for you.


Part one[]

Laura Corbett enters a bookshop to sell her deceased father's books and returns home to her husband Simon Corbett who cooks her dinner. The two are newly-wed with a child named Edward and attempting to fix up an old house that they've just moved into. Later that evening a murder occurs in the bookstore and the shop owner, Rance, is found dead with paper stuffed down his throat. The Doctor and Leela investigate the crime scene at the book shop the very next day along with the dispatched police constable Ellis Andrews. The two decide to go around the neighbourhood and interview potential suspects about the murder while Ellis stays behind and runs into Laura, who had returned to the shop thinking she'd accidentally left a manuscript in the box of books she sold the previous day. The Doctor and Leela first try and interview Lesley King who throws them out of her house. They then try and interview head of neighbourhood watch Celia Turner but she attempts to murder them using cyanide in their tea and the Doctor, catching the smell of almonds, bests her and he and Leela discover that she is a character from the Land of Fiction and watch as she is "killed" by the Crooked Man who tears the spine of her book and makes a getaway. The Doctor and Leela follow in pursuit.

Their chasing leads them back to Laura and Simon's house where as they arrive, Simon, Laura and Ellis (the latter two having just arrived as Ellis offered to safely walk her home) discover more books amassing around the house despite Laura selling off all her father's old collected books yesterday. They are then contacted through the baby monitor by the Crooked Man who speaks to the Doctor and warns him that the Land of Fiction is coming...

Part two[]

The Crooked Man kidnaps baby Edward and escapes into his world, dubbed "The Crooked World" by the Doctor and the Doctor, Leela, Laura, Simon and Ellis chase after him. They venture further into the Crooked Man's world and encounter several strange creatures that seem to be made of paper-mache. Simon manages to defeat their adversaries with ease, displaying an almost inhuman bout of strength, piquing the Doctor's interest but they press on further. They eventually manage to find the Crooked Man who reveals that he managed to break into reality through a portal he found and has lured them into a trap. The Doctor, who had questioned Laura earlier, asks her to explain how she knew so much about the Crooked Man and she finally reveals that her father used to be a writer and wrote unconventionally scary stories that he would sometimes frighten her with (she explained they did not get along well), one of them being the Crooked Man's story, a story about a demon that ate people's imaginations and loved to kill and the Doctor surmises this creature had the power to step through dimensions due to having such incredible powers. They find the Crooked Man who reveals it was a trap, which the Doctor suspected, but as he controls his world he uses his powers to start draining their minds, however, Simon breaks free and confronts the Crooked Man, freeing the others from his control. Ellis then finds the manuscript for the story and they manage to defeat the Crooked Man by destroying it. They then hear the other inhabitants of the Crooked World from the Land of Fiction trying to escape back to reality but the Doctor says they cannot be allowed out as they kill humans in order to survive.

While the others think that with the Crooked Man's death the breach between the Land of Fiction and reality will close, the Doctor realises this isn't the case and goads Laura into revealing her real secret. The truth is that her husband Simon, an ideal husband, further demonstrated by even taking her last name, is actually the construct of her imagination. It turns out that PC Ellis was actually the one who got Laura pregnant and then left her for another woman and in her distress, Laura had imagined a husband that she would describe to others so vividly that he was born in the Land of Fiction as Simon, and she had imagined him as the kind of husband who would stop at nothing to be there for his son, "not even the walls of reality". Simon, the cause of the breach, realises he must stay behind to properly close the breach, much to Laura's anger and resentment. They all manage to escape just in time with Edward safely in his room again.

Leela is perplexed that Laura would, despite knowing the truth that her husband wasn't real, would live in denial for so long, with the Doctor reassuring her that everything will work out and that they should go try out crazy golf.

Laura finishes the story for Edward and says that although it was how his first father passed on, he has a new father who, although not perfect, loves him very much. She then wishes him a goodnight.



  • PC Ellis Andrews refers to the Doctor as "a loony in a scarf."
  • The Doctor refers to YouTube.
  • Celia Turner is from Hearts and Minds 2: Turner's Revenge.
  • The Doctor reads a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby.
  • Ellis used to read Choose Your Own Adventure books.
  • Laura comments that the crooked man's world is very M. C. Escher-esque.
  • The Doctor comments "Lead on, Macduff", a line from Shakespeare's play Macbeth, however he points out that it's really a misquote.


  • This story was recorded on 23 May 2012 at Audio Sorcery.
  • The Doctor jokes that Ellis must not get out much when he reveals he watches a lot of Professor X.
  • The Doctor quips that it's a good sign when people try to kill him as it usually means he's on the right track. There are several notable examples where he quips something similar to this, such as in TV: City of Death "What a wonderful butler, he's so violent!" (the butler had previously tried to murder him, Romana and Duggan) among many other occasions.
  • Leela asks why the Doctor wears such a silly scarf if they do so much running. This is an in-joke as Tom Baker used to trip over the scarf often during production.
  • During the writing stage, Nicholas Briggs found some elements in the initial script to be "so horrid" that he asked John Dorney to tone them down. (BFX: The Crooked Man)
  • David Richardson's brief for the story was "the Land of Fiction invades a house". (BFX: The Crooked Man)

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