The Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa arrive in Calcutta in 1926, and immediately become embroiled in the search for a lost world teeming with strange creatures. With Tegan and Turlough trapped on a train with a tiger and a homicidal British Army major, the Doctor and Nyssa must track them across India’s countryside, before they meet a sticky end. But with Nyssa infected by a mysterious being known as the Emerald Tiger, that might be more difficult than they’d imagined.
The Emerald Tiger was one of the first Big Finish stories I ever listened to, and it’s one I’ve come back to time and again to revel in the glorious atmosphere writer Barnaby Edwards conjures up. There are so many gorgeous images, thrilling action scenes and touching character beats that it’s not hard to imagine this being a movie- it’s just that packed with twists, turns and epic moments.
Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Mark Strickson are all on top form, with Edwards’ script not only giving each of their characters their own subplots in the story, but giving them a whole range of emotions to play with. Some people say larger TARDIS teams can’t work, but this is an example of a story where they absolutely can.
Meanwhile, Cherie Lunghie and Neil Stacy impress as the slightly haughty Lady Adela Forster and the villainous Major Cyril Haggard, while Vineeta Rishi, Sam Dastor and Vincent Ebrahim play a trinity of intriguingly interconnected figures- Dawon, Naryan and Shardul Khan- who lie at the heart of this story, and whose voices are glorious to listen to.
Sound design and music are handled here by Howard Carter, and he does a truly exquisite job. Seriously, this is one of Big Finish‘s most well-produced stories, with a stunning sitar-esque soundtrack and some breathtaking action sequences, including the train chase which is the highlight of this story.
Overall, The Emerald Tiger is a Doctor Who story quite unlike any other, a cross between Indiana Jones and a Joseph Conrad novel that excels at being a rip-roaring adventure, but falters slightly on the sci-fi side of things. Highly recommended.
The Emerald Tiger is available as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com