Ben McKenzie, John Richards, Dave Callan and Paul Verhoeven
Hosts Ben McKenzie and John Richards and guest Dave Callan listen to guest Paul Verhoeven. Photo by Chris Butler.


Hosts Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliott discuss Tom Baker and comedy in Doctor Who in the fourth live Splendid Chaps episode, recorded in two parts at Trades Hall in Melbourne as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on April 6 and 13, 2013. With special guests Dave Callan (Triple J), Paul Verhoeven (Steam Punks, Lords of Luxury), Adam Richard (The Shelf, Outland) and Josie Long (Lost Treasures of the Black Heart), plus the stand-up Dalek and a cover of Doctor Poo and the Psychic Koalas’ “The Universe is Big” performed by our very own Petra and the Time Lads – Caleb Garfinkel and Bryce Clark!

To make sure you don’t miss an episode, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or via this Feedburner feed.

Don’t forget you can go into the draw to win a (Region 4) DVD copy of The Legacy Collection box set (containing Shada and More Than 30 Years in the TARDIS) by commenting on this episode below! Tell us what you think of the Baker era, share your favourite gags from Doctor Who, or just tell us what you thought of our Comedy Festival episode. Comment by May 18 to be in the running, and we’ll announce the winner at the recording of Five/Fear on May 19.


  1. Murray says:

    What a lovely singing voice Petra has!

    Great episode. I loved hearing Sylvester McCoy getting props for some of the understated humour during his time. He did not suffer the “doesn’t know when to read it ‘straight'” problem. He seems to get labelled as trying to be too wacky – I presume based on some of those first few stories. In case you can’t tell, he is one of my faves.

    Looking forward to the “Books” mini-ep. To a large extent, books were my era’s “merch” – you couldn’t get toys or anything (I know that this is not entirely true everywhere… but let’s just say that you were unlikely to find it in any suburban shopping centres anywhere near me – except maybe occasionally an “Annual”), but Target books were available right up until the early 90s. They were the main way that I became acquainted with the Doctors from before my time (One, Two, and most of Three).

  2. @Cluemark says:

    Well put Murray (commenter above/below). I’m looking forward to 7 too.

    Kudos to the team for acknowledging a safe space – there’s no wrong way to be a Who fan. This gets lost in a lot of online fandom. I like to look at Doctor Who like wine (or comedy, I guess). There are many styles that may not have universal appeal but the palate can learn to appreciate in context.

    Anyway, Four. Tom Baker was a huge influence on me both as my childhood Doctor and then reading his autobiography in my graduating year of high school.

    That bohemian spirit is probably part of what I’m searching for and drives my connection with Doctor Who as a character. I had it as a younger man but traded it in to join “legitimate” society. There’s still part of me that just wants to wander childishly.
    Don’t we all?

    LOVED the guests. Loved the discussion but as there was more people to introduce there was less “stuff”. More stuff. Love the stuff.
    (Sounds like the live shows had an AWESOME atmosphere though).

    Love your work folks.

  3. Henrik Hansen says:

    Loving the podcasts, gentlemen. Favourite joke in Doctor Who is probably from the Moffat penned mini-ep “Time Crash.”

    5th Doctor (regarding The Master) “Does he still have that rubbish beard?”

    10th Doctor. “No. Well…… A wife.”

  4. Stephen Coppins says:

    Woo Who!!!!

    Was already enjoying the podcast, when I realised that I had won the Virtual Prize Draw!

    Thanks for drawing my name out!

    …unless there’s another Stephen Coppins who commented on the last podcast? Then colour me embarrassed…

    Anywho, regarding this months podcast:

    Every fan has their favourite story. Sometimes it’s one that the majority of fans (in their “conventional wisdom”) hate, and I love that about fandom (the fact that someone loves the stories that most fans hate, that is).

    I can quite happily watch/read/listen to just about any Doctor Who story from any era (yep, I even like the annuals, the Nestle chocolate wrappers and the Sky-Ray ice lolly story cards) – except one – Underworld – a Tom Baker story.

    I like the first episode, then I just can’t figure out what in the known universe is going on for the next three. I don’t know why? I’m pretty sure it’s not the CSO caves. I mean I can understand what’s happening in Dimensions in Time, but despite several attempts to watch Underworld, my brain just doesn’t want to comprehend. Which is a little sad in some respects.

    But my point is (yes, there is a point) – that of all stories from every era and genre that make up the Doctor Whoniverse, it’s a Tom Baker story (every non-fan’s favourite Doctor, and the actor who won most “Favourite Doctor” fan polls pre-2005) that I like the least. But it is because his era had so many classic and good stories, his long stay on board the TARDIS, and his ability to be mad-cap funny and deadly serious in the same story (sometimes in the same scene), that Tom Baker is remembered with such affection.

  5. Scott Vandervalk says:

    Great episode, all!
    As Murray said, good to see the nods to Sylvester McCoy for his humour (some of my favourite).
    My favourite Baker stories are the horror-esque ones: Horror of Fang Rock and Talons of Weing Chiang.

  6. Thomas Brown says:

    What an interesting listen.

    I look forward to hearing and being entertained by further such auditory pleasures.

  7. Jess Cooper says:

    A combination of that Warm-Up Dalek and Dave Callan had me in stitches, I was crying from laughter! Good work guys!

  8. Richard Ingram says:

    That was great again. I find the touches of humour in the modern who good, like you were saying about it it not taking you out of the character and story.

    As an aside, is there any chance of these being transcribed, or perhaps a list of the stories you talk about and why, as I would like to keep a list of stories I want to watch, but I listen in the car and can’t right them down immediately.

    Thanks again for a great show.

  9. Good episode! Was a real treat to watch the first half at the Comedy Festival.

    Looking forward to the Books special, too. Will there be any other specials outside 1-11? It’d be fantastic to have a final farewell podcast come December 23 to round out the year, maybe looking at the Specials over the years (multi-Doctor, Christmas etc), or the future of Doctor Who. I’d suggest an Audio/Big Finish special, but then I suppose a lot of the 8th Doctor podcast will be discussion about audio stories…

  10. So, Josie Long’s story about Tom Baker leaving text message recordings on people’s phones got me thinking: didn’t this happen around the same time that TB was refusing to do Big Finish audios? Why didn’t some bright spark at Big Finish just text an entire script at him and have him read it into the Big Finish answering machine? Missed opportunity, guys!

  11. Ian Nicholls says:

    I think I know who’s killing the actors playing The Doctor. They’re dying in order. The obvious suspect is Marieke Hardy, the writer behind the TV show Laid.

    I bet if we accused her, she’d even bring up the timey wimey defence 🙂

  12. simon says:

    One of the things this episode brought home to me is that, by concentrating on the Doctor and the broader themes of the show, the companions get de-emphasised a little. Oh, they were all named and everything, but not in a hell of a lot of depth.

    And given Sara Jane is, in many ways, the Uber Companion (she’s the main one that came back in the new series, the only one to get a hit spinoff (after having survived a non-hit-spinoff) and Romana is the only companion who could be fairly said to have equalled the doctor, it is a bit of a pity that they’re getting sidelined quite that much.

    There is an argument that Doctor Who eras can be defined by the comings and goings of the companions, in fact, which is where you could argue Baker has five eras (counting the separate Romanas as different eras, and calling Traken and Logopolis a coda at the end rather than their own era) – Harry/Sarah, Sarah, Leela, Romana I and Romana II. I’d argue Harry/Sarah and Sarah as a solo companion are also different eras as they do operate somewhat differently – the opening era with the three of them means you get multiple combinations of them teaming up in all kinds of wacky ways.

  13. Daria Sigma says:

    Another fine podcast. I’ve never quite been one to worship at the Altar of Tom as some do, but I can’t deny there’s a lot to like about his era…

  14. Tim Lawrence says:

    While I’m glad you didn’t mention him, because all true Doctor Who fans blush with shame at the recollection, discussing the Baker years without mentioning K-9 is like discussing the Allied forces of WWII without mentioning Stalin.

  15. Benjamin Maio Mackay says:

    Isn’t the the wrong era Dalek for Tom Baker? Lovely show guys, keep up the good work.

  16. John Shea says:

    Awesome podcast! “Creation from the Pit” is the earliest Doctor Who episode I can remember watching. Despite (or because of) it’s campiness, I’m still a rabid fan of the show over 30 years later!
    I loved warm-up Dalek. Brilliant! I look forward to next month’s podcast.

  17. Fraser says:

    I enjoyed going to the two parter episode 4 at Trade’s Hall. The warmup Dalek was great. Any chance of a return in any future episodes?

    • John Richards says:

      There is a fair bit of unused Dalek Warm-Up from the two comedy fest shows – I wasn’t sure you could cope with listening to it for much longer! Also – you know – VISUAL. But we might work some in to a later episode. And we’re hoping we can coax him out again for the November show…

      • Kit says:

        This listener could have taken a much longer Episode 4 – it sounded like an awful lot of material was trimmed to fit the two live shows into one podcast. Baker had the longest run, he could have borne the longest podcast!

        (Unless you’re going to count the Eighth’s marathon multi-media reign as “current” Doctor, which would trounce poor Tom.)

        Josie Long was super-delightful. Can someone book her to do her own tour in three months so she can return for the Sylvester episode?

        I googled up Paul Verhoeven’s interview bitlet with Gaiman, and it reads like Gaiman is saying he absolutely *wouldn’t* be showrunner for Who, and being carefully specific to say that he’ll write episodes for Moffatt if asked, but not necessarily for future showrunners…

  18. Robert LaBrie says:

    Another brilliant episode! The warm up Dalek had me in stiches!

    I have to confess I have a special fondness for Tom Baker. He is my first Doctor and in my eyes the best! And since meeting and marrying my wife I have slowly converted her into a particularly Splendid Chap!

    Keep up the good work! (Petra is awesome!)

  19. Alex says:

    As a result of this podcast my household accidentally bought a copy of the Dungeons and Dragons movie. And the sequel.

    • Ben says:

      Thankfully the sequel is nowhere near as bad; nor is the third one, The Book of Vile Darkness. But I wouldn’t say they were good

      Watch out for the character in the second one who disappears at random intervals. It’s probably just a poor edit, but my friend Pete always thought that character clearly belonged to the player who couldn’t make it every session! 😉

  20. Joel Aarons says:

    A breath of fresh air in Doctor Who comedy/podcast analysis. Love you guys! Wish I could come to see you live!

  21. Liz Irvin says:

    My sister and I went to the first live show at the MICF and won the *amazing* Ark in Space DVD so it is pretty greedy of me to try to win this prize too.

    I second (or third, or thousandth) the call to continue the warm up Dalek, especially the humorous observation. I never thought I could be in stitches over Doctor Who comedy. Great work guys, I am going to get my skates on and hang out at more of your live shows.

  22. actualchad says:

    I remember that scene in Rememberance where they switch seats under the overpass, but it was ruined for me because I could SEE them in the dark. Then they jumped up and down on the spot. Ruined what could have been a great moment.

    And yes, that line from Time Crash cracked me up too.

  23. Koa Webster says:

    Having only recently discovered you Splendid Chaps, I listened to Episode 4 after a week-long binge on Splendid Chappiness. I have loved every one of your podcasts, for their insight, ideas, humour and just overall enjoyment of all things Doctor Who. Well done for a great execution of a fabulous idea!

    Tom Baker was my first Doctor, and as has been discussed previously on Splendid Chaps, there is always a soft spot in your heart for your first Doctor. It was interesting to learn more about the actor, and hear your ideas about the themes in his era.

    Like many of your commenters, I adored the Warm-Up Dalek, and I loved Josie for her sheer exuberance and obvious delight and enjoyment of the Doctor.

    Well done, Chaps, for a laugh-out-loud episode.

    P.S. Will you do any of your shows in Sydney later this year? Please???

    • Ben says:

      Thanks for the lovely words, Koa! We’d love to come to Sydney but unfortunately it’s probably beyond our means as a shoestring budget podcast. On the other hand, at least you’ll get to see the Doctor Who light show as part of Vivid Sydney on June 1!

  24. Jim Kee says:

    Terror of the Zygons. My first doctor who episode. I was so blown away at how amazing this show was. I’ve loved it ever since, an I’m glad my kids are now really into it. It makes me feel that I’ve accomplished something positive as a parent.

    I agree with Simon above about the companions. Any plans on an episode devoted just to them?

    Great job as always. I wish I could come see them live, though.

    Keep warm,

  25. Andrew Mitchell says:

    Hi chaps,

    Love your work on this episode. By far the highlight was the warm-up Dalek. I’m still smiling about it.

    Keep up the great work.


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