A comedy radio play about business

> A short radio sketch written for a BBC comedy call for entries, about a struggling publishing company’s novel way to save itself.

(Yes that was a pun.)

This is a piece from 2011 that got through to the final stages of the competition, along with Betty Davis’ Eyes, before being knocked out.


Monkeys vs Kittens


Laurie Cansfield

A community radio personality
Bright young lass from Sunderland
Straightforward Geordie bloke

Radio studio, and a struggling publishing company in Newcastle.

The present.

The action begins in a radio studio, with the presenter introducing an outside report. The reporter is at the publishers, interviewing the boss of the company.


ACT I (and only)

Scene 1 (and only)


A radio jingle plays. The presenter introduces the item.


Now we go over to Susanne Breen, with an inspiring story about how one struggling north east company has turned to the animal kingdom for help during the recession. Susanne, what’s going on over there?


(Cut to reporter at publishing company.)


Thanks Alan. Well, after Bottoms Books Limited was forced to make over 70% of its staff redundant during the recession, some of our listeners may remember that the company initially took the unusual route of purchasing 1000 monkeys and 1000 typewriters to replace the lost workforce. This was seen as a risky move to begin with, and for some time did prove to be useless. But the addition of five kittens to the team, each equipped with a state of the art laptop computer, has today inspired new confidence among stakeholders. I’m here with company CEO, Ron Bottoms, to find out the story behind his forward-thinking decision. Ron, how did this all come about?


Basically, the monkeys weren’t performing. See, theoretically, you put 1000 monkeys in front of 1000 typewriters and they come up with a masterpiece, right? In fact, they spend most of their time fighting over parking spaces for their bikes, having tea breaks and throwing their you-know-what at each other. A lot of the typewriters are ruined. So we got the kittens in. Yes, supposedly they’re less intelligent creatures than the monkeys, but we’re not actually after a masterpiece, just some airport fiction. Plus, they seem to bring a more sensitive point of view to the stories. That’s something our female audience appreciates.


Yes… So, what we’ve got here is a tale of friendly rivalry between colleagues?


Exactly, Susanne. Now, some people have said that it isn’t fair that the monkeys have to make do with typewriters while the kittens get these fancy laptops. Those people haven’t thought it through. Kittens, by their very nature, are weak. Monkeys, on the other hand, could rip of your jaw without breaking a sweat. They’re strong enough to operate typewriters, whereas the kittens aren’t. We could hardly afford another 1000 laptops, either. We may as well have just bought one come to think of it, because at the moment all five kittens are sleeping in a heap on top of the Macbook while the software updates. It gets warm when it’s been on a while. But I’m sure once they get into the swing of things it’ll turn out to have been a sound investment.


So it’s monkeys versus kittens here, Alan. Who will write the bestseller first? Back to the studio.


(Cut to radio studio.)


Thanks Susanne. That’s certainly made me ‘paws’ for thought.


A radio jingle plays.