‘THE EMERALD TIGER’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Wild Nyssa in India
I really like ‘The Emerald Tiger’! It’s one of the best stories to feature the older Nyssa!
This is a four-part story written and directed by Barnaby Edwards. It stars Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor with Janet Fielding as Tegan; Mark Strickson as Turlough and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. Sarah really likes the story and it’s easy to understand why as it is set in India and a historical story in 1926.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘The Emerald Tiger’ signed by Sarah Sutton at the ‘celebrate 50 – The Peter Davison Years’ event in Chiswick, London, April 2013. I’ve also had the CD cover of this story signed by writer/director Barnaby Edwards at the ‘Pandorica 2015’ convention in Bristol, September 2015.
This story also delves more into Nyssa’s character which pleased me to listen to. In the story, the TARDIS arrives on a train platform in Calcutta, 1926. The Doctor and his friends are on their way to enjoy a game of cricket. Soon a rabid chauffeur of an Indian professor appears and he attacks Nyssa.
The chauffeur bites her on the neck and Nyssa undergoes a strange experience. She telepathically connects to a female tiger and becomes a were-tiger herself. Eventually, the Doctor and his companions go on a quest to help a certain Lady Adela Foster who is in search for the ’emerald tiger’.
But on the journey, they face deadly dangers and obstacles with being on the train and eventually ending up in the jungles of India. They also have to deal with the villainy of Major Haggard. Nyssa soon changes herself into a tiger. Will our heroes survive the dangers that lurk in the Indian jungles?!
This was once the first time I commented on a Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa audio drama. I wasn’t sure whether I would like these Fifth Doctor stories with the older Nyssa who re-joined the TARDIS in ‘Cobwebs’. I didn’t like Nyssa being old and wanted her young and beautiful in the TARDIS.
But I’ve enjoyed listening to these stories featuring the older Nyssa with the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. They’ve been interesting and Sarah Sutton is lovely. ‘The Emerald Tiger’ is a cracking good story and I liked the connections made in these stories to ‘Circular Time: Winter’ with Nyssa’s family.
I’ve chatted to Sarah Sutton about ‘The Emerald Tiger’ at many conventions including the ‘Collectormania Glasgow 2012’ convention in August 2012 and the ‘celebrate 50 – The Peter Davison Years’ event in Chiswick, London, April 2013. I’ve also chatted to Sarah about the story in my ‘Conversation with Sarah Sutton’ at the ‘Bournemouth Film and Comic Con’ in August 2015.
According to the CD interviews of this story, Sarah has been to India already. She was very pleased when I told her that I liked this story. I said to Sarah that this should be a big-budget movie made in India and she liked the idea. She laughed when we joked that the story wasn’t really filmed in India.
Sarah would like ‘The Emerald Tiger’ to be turned into a TV story when I asked her at the ‘Dimensions 2013’ convention in Newcastle, October 2013. Sarah prefers doing the historical adventures in ‘Doctor Who’ since she does find the science-fiction tales rather hard-going to record.
I sympathised with Sarah and understood what she was on about. I recall mentioning to Sarah that I found stories like ‘The Jupiter Conjunction’ rather hard-going to listen to. I’ve been able to gather what Sarah likes and dislikes in stories. I hope I’ve applied this in my ‘Fifth Doctor’ fan-fiction series.
Nyssa becoming a ‘were-tiger’ was fun to listen to in this story. I’m sure Sarah enjoyed doing an acting challenge like that where she ‘growled’ during her performance. I was anxious for Nyssa when she became a ‘were-tiger’. I wondered whether she would return to normal at the end of this story.
The themes of motherhood are addressed strongly in this, especially with Nyssa and Lady Adela. It fits well to how Nyssa’s motherhood connects to the were-tiger Dawan and links to previous stories with Nyssa and her children as featured/mentioned in ‘Circular Time: Winter’ and ‘Heroes of Sontar’.
Peter Davison is on top form as the Doctor in this. His enthusiasm shines throughout. I really enjoyed the train sequence with the Doctor as he tries to stop the train. I was so moved by the Doctor and Nyssa grieving over the ‘loss’ of Tegan and struck by how the Doctor turned his anger onto Turlough.
I enjoyed Janet Fielding as Tegan in this story. I found her journey in ‘Part Four’ exciting to listen to. I liked how Tegan keeps her promise to protect Nyssa’s family secrets from the Doctor. She’s brash and bossy as ever, but she still retains a compassionate side which is sometimes difficult to see/hear.
Mark Strickson is very good as Turlough when he’s with Tegan aboard the train; talking to the tiger Dawan and getting information from Lady Adela about the emerald tiger. I liked it when Turlough defies Major Haggard on his stuck-up opinions and delivering the wry, sardonic side to his character.
Cherie Lunghi (who I’ve seen in ‘The Agatha Christie Hour’) guest stars as Lady Adela Foster. Cherie is elegant and wonderful to listen to; delivering the motherly, caring side of Lady Adela that was sweet. I loved her reunion with her son and also becoming strong before Shardul Khan and Major Haggard.
Neil Stacey guest stars as Major Haggard, who represents the ‘British Raj’ and gets his way by shooting people and being so callous. Haggard reminds me of those ‘superior’ aristocrats who lived in the height of the British Empire when they were so smug and got away with things that were vile.
The guest cast also includes Indian actors playing exotic parts. These include Sam Dastor as Professor Narayan; Vineeta Rishi as Dawan and Vincent Ebrahim as Shardul Khan. Khan is a very chilling villain to listen to, with a deep and exotic voice and was very much like Shere Khan from ‘The Jungle Book’.
This is Barnaby Edwards’ show as he wrote and directed the story. Barnaby is one of the new series Dalek operators; and is a talented Big Finish actor/director. I’ve enjoyed listening to ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ (‘Castle of Fear’, ‘The Eternal Summer’ and ‘Plague of the Daleks’) that Barnaby also directed.
Barnaby writes well for the regular cast since he knows the actors and finds this team easy to write for just as I find it easy to write for the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy. It is great Barnaby Edwards does this TARDIS team justice. I wouldn’t be surprised if Barnaby wrote another story for the Fifth Doctor era.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Barnaby at two ‘Pandorica’ conventions in Bristol in 2014 and 2015. Barnaby’s a great guy to meet and I’ve had nice chats with him about the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa audios and shared how much I enjoyed ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ and ‘The Emerald Tiger’ as stories. Barnaby was really grateful for my feedback. I would like him to direct my ‘Fifth Doctor’ adventures.
This story definitely has the feel of ‘The Jungle Book’ in it since Barnaby takes references from Rudyard Kipling as well as popular action movies like ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. The audio setting for India in this story is so convincing with sound and music to add the background and the atmosphere.
The story ends with Nyssa back to normal and reunited with the Doctor; Tegan and Turlough. It turns out Nyssa has been rejuvenated, looking as she was before ‘Terminus’. This was quite unexpected and it’s a pleasant surprise to find Nyssa looking young again but still older (if that makes any sense).
I’ve listened to ‘The Emerald Tiger’ more than once now and I find it very easy to listen to and enjoy. This is a great story and if you’re a Nyssa fan like me; love historical stories; love the 1920s and a story set in India with tigers and emeralds, then I assure you…you will tremendously enjoy this tale!
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of exotic Indian incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton; Janet Fielding; Cherie Lunghi and writer/director Barnaby Edwards. There’s also a trailer for the next story with the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa called ‘The Jupiter Conjunction’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Emerald Tiger’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘The Emerald Tiger’.
‘The Emerald Tiger’ rating – 9/10
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