Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio 159: The Emerald Tiger

Visiting a cricket match in 1926 India, the Doctor hardly expects to encounter were-tigers or psychotic military officers, or have to enter a legendary lost world…

Doctor Who goes epic in Barnaby Edwards’ latest script for Big Finish, which combines the fever pitch of the Indiana Jones adventures – and the chapterplays from the 1930s and 1940s which inspired them – with the Lost World tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Marvel Comics. (The character names are a bit of a clue…)

I’ve been critical of Barnaby’s scripts in the past, often feeling that they just needed perhaps one more pass to achieve their full potential, but this one gets it spot on. The characterisation of the fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and the older Nyssa is accurate: in the CD extras, the author ascribes this to having directed the actors in a previous story, but I think he’s doing himself a disservice. Not all the plays reuniting the team have caught the nuances of the dialogue, or allowed the crew to be completely true to themselves. Douglas Adams complained that his characters would rather be sloping off to a party than pushing a plot forward, and there’s a certain element of that about Turlough – something that becomes the cause of a terrific scene between Peter Davison and Mark Strickson.

The Emerald Tiger ticks all the boxes for this sort of adventure – even the “coincidence” at the end involving Djahn works in context (although I’m sure I’m not the only one who had visions of Terry Scott in Carry On Up The Jungle for certain scenes!) Cherie Lunghi, Sam Dastor and Neil Stacy make good foils for the TARDIS team along the way, while Vincent Ebrahim’s villain occasionally can send shivers down the spine. My only mild reservation regards the final twist, but hopefully that’s something that will be relevant to later stories.

Verdict: A terrific start for this latest trilogy.  8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order The Emerald Tiger from Big Finish


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