‘The Monkey House’ (ST/Audio)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Alien Zoo with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough

This story is by Nic Ford and is read by Stephen Critchlow. It features the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa.

I enjoyed listening to ‘The Monkey House’ audio story! I’m not usually one for listening to the subscribers Short Trip audios by Big Finish via the main range of ‘Doctor Who’. But I made an exception as this Short Trip audio featured Nyssa in it as well as Tegan, Turlough and the Fifth Doctor.

As a matter of fact, this Short Trip audio features the older Nyssa with Tegan, Turlough and the Fifth Doctor. This is rare as there hasn’t been a story with that Fifth Doctor TARDIS team since the older Nyssa story arc ended in ‘The Entropy Plague’. It was refreshing to hear a new story from that series.

This Short Trip audio is only available to Big Finish subscribers with ‘The Two Masters’. I subscribed for ‘The Two Masters’ to collect and listen to this audio tale. I’m sure that there’ll be more subscriber Short Trip audios to feature Nyssa and I’ll subscribe the main range stories to collect them in future.

The story has the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough inside a ‘monkey house’ in a zoo on an alien planet. The story mostly takes place from the point of view of an alien girl who grows up to become a woman and learn some serious lessons about whether to invade the Earth full of human monkeys.

I’ve been in contact with the writer of this Short Trip audio, Nic Ford, since he’s on ‘The Divergent Universe’ forum as well as me. Nic has placed this story between ‘The Jupiter Conjunction’ and ‘The Butcher of Brisbane’. I’m really grateful to Nic with informing me about the story’s placement here.

It was interesting how Nic tells the story from the alien girl’s point of view. She sees the specimens in the monkey house as something to laugh at and make fun of. This happens when she’s a little girl and exploring the monkey house for herself before seeing the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough.

Gradually in the story, the alien girl begins to question her beliefs and actions, especially when the Doctor questions and challenges her whilst he’s inside his own cage. By the time she becomes fully grown up and a captain of an armed force of warriors on her world, she becomes a different person.

I enjoyed Stephen Critchlow’s reading of the story here. I’ve seen Stephen in an episode of ‘Monarch of the Glen’ and he also worked with the Fifth Doctor TARDIS team in ‘The Lady of Mercia’. Stephen gets into the story superbly and does well with voicing the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough.

It was fun to hear how the alien girl comes across the four TARDIS regulars in their cages in the monkey house. First she comes across Nyssa, then Turlough, then Tegan and then the Doctor. I liked it when Nyssa was being nice to the alien girl first, before she began acting, pleading to be released.

I was puzzled when I heard that Tegan was wearing a purple uniform in this story. I thought she’d given up her job as an air stewardess by this point. 😀 It was also interesting to visualise what the alien girl was like, as she seemed to be a like an elephant with a trunk and she possessed four arms.

There’s a cameo appearance by Jo Grant and U.N.I.T. in this story when the alien girl and her people invade Earth. This was a nice surprise and it was sweet when Jo greeted the alien girl in Bessie. She offered her some crisps. Surprisingly, the Third Doctor wasn’t around. I wondered where he was.

‘The Monkey House’ has been an enjoyable subscribers’ Short Trip audio to listen to with the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and the older Nyssa. It’s not a story that focuses on that TARDIS team sadly, but it was interesting to hear how an alien girl’s life can be changed so dramatically by them in this.

‘The Monkey House’ rating – 7/10

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For Nyssa was

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  • ‘Speed of Flight’ (Book)
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