Doctor Who and The Emerald Tiger

‘The Emerald Tiger’

Written and directed by Barnaby Edwards
Story 159
Released April 2012

In the jungles of Calcutta, a strange curse has been passed down, the curse of the Emerald Tiger. Much like the mark of the werewolf it turns the victim into an animal, but unlike that myth, the tiger eventually solidifies into a mass of jade. Nyssa has fallen under the curse and in order to save her, the Doctor must unravel this mystery and brave the land of impossible jeweled creatures, and a gun-happy English rogue.

Edwards fully admits that The Emerald Tiger is his ‘big budget film’ version of Doctor Who and it shows. The Doctor lands the TARDIS in Calcutta, 1926 to see an historic cricket match only to get swept up in an amazing adventure almost at once. A man is driven into throws of violence and charges through the throng of commuters at the train depot where the TARDIS has become parked. He is shot dead by the devious Major Cyril Haggard but not before marking Nyssa who immediately falls into a painful coma.

The TARDIS is hoisted into a nearby train as luggage. The train has been purchased for a private trip by Lady Adela Forster. Finding an ideal opportunity to evade the police, Haggard jumps onto the train, as do Tegan and Turlough who are determined to get the TARDIS back. Unfortunately between them and the time vessel is a massive emerald tiger with jeweled eyes and claws.

Close behind, the Doctor gives chase after the train via hot air balloon, turning the burner on its side to act as a makeshift jet engine, and attempts to gain access to the train and while he manages to rescue Turlough and Lady Forster, he fails to save Tegan whose car has become separated from the others and crashes into a vast crevasse. It’s a very moving moment and one in which the Doctor succumbs to grief over the believed death of his friend. Of course when she re-appears, the cliffhanger is strangely a cry of ‘Tegan?!’

But just imagine one of those moments happening on screen! It’s clearly impossible and can only be achieved in this audio format. That kind of took me out of the story at first as this adventure was such a rollicking whirlwind of action, but the writing and performances were so strong that it became lots of fun. Rather than a traditional dip into the past, this was something wholly other.

The Doctor (Peter Davison) and Turlough (Mark Strickson)

Along with pulling out all the stops in creating a blockbuster story, Barnaby Edwards also took inspiration from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Haggard’s works and Indian folklore. It’s all done with adoration and it shows. The fantastical moments are very moving and the setting is so firmly established by the sound masters at Big Finish that you’d think you were in Calcutta.

As a Fifth Doctor story, this works very well as it features the Doctor unwittingly thrust into a situation where he is in over his head and separates the crew into their own stories. Beyond the first part there’s sadly not much for Turlough to do and Nyssa spends a lot of time in a dream-like state, but Tegan fares the worst. Earning the ire of Major Haggard, she becomes the object of a million she-devil curses.

Of all the cast members, I think that Janet Fielding’s voice has changed the most, but she performs with such gusto that I can forgive it. After all, Peter Davison sounds like he goes to bed at night with a pack of Silk Cut in his mouth!

Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton)

A fanciful high adventure tale, The Emerald Tiger is an unusual Doctor Who story, but in this case that makes it a lot of fun as well. I have enjoyed almost all of the Davison Big Finish installments. While not as colorfully written as the Colin Baker stories, they have an intensity and character all their own.

The Emerald Tiger can be ordered directly from The Book Depository, with free worldwide shipping.

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4 thoughts on “Doctor Who and The Emerald Tiger

  1. Maybe that cliffhanger ending was originally longer “Tegan? Oh s**t!”? Is it just me or does that image of Tegan, Nyssa, and the telescope look like it belongs to a species of Doctor Who Porn? (Cue the Second Doctor, “my that *is* a big one, Jamie”) Okay, it’s just me! Hey Nyssa in tight pants and Tegan in her air hostess (er, flight attendant) uniform not to be dismissed… Ho ho ho. Ho, no.


  2. Your post prompted me to look up Sarah Sutton, as I haven’t in a while, and go picture hunting. Again, I find myself amazed to find out she is not much older than I am. I swear some of these actresses must have started when they were kids!

    Anyway… I stumbled upon a rather unfortunately named site that has some companion pictures on it.

    Read that URL slowly… I know what it is supposed to say… but when you’re in Google Image mode and looking for Web sites with pictures, and you see that URL… tell me you didn’t read it the way I did the first time!


  3. Yes, I’ve seen that! That naughty Doctor Whore and her interesting views, oh…wait, Doctor Who Reviews aha. I think it would be good if it had actually been Peter Cushing’s Dr Who reviewing stuff in an absent-minded way or maybe Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor reviewing things by SHOUTING AT THEM!
    Come on, SJV, I know you weren’t looking for pictures of Sarah Sutton you but images of NAKED Kamelion. Oh yes, nude Robot Action! Hahaha, *perverse*, makes you wonder what the Master was up to with it, and that’s beford we get to his curiously shaped TCE device… πŸ˜‰
    Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford, and Sarah Sutton etc were certainly all young when they started. And Nicola Bryant is now a MILF or, more accurately, a well-spoken cougar, erm at least in my pathetic and fevered imaginings! Um, she is indisputably gorgeous.
    I’m afraid Mr SJV that you can’t convince yourself that those actresses became companions as children. No, you really have to accept that you are… 30 πŸ˜‰ Yeah, and I am 20! Thankfully not, I don’t have to pretend that I think s**t is good which you apparently often have to if you’re 20 now. Bwahahaha.


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