Splendid Chaps Productions was born when Ben McKenzie and John Richards decided to make the live Doctor Who podcast Splendid Chaps in 2013. With the addition of Petra Elliott, David Ashton and Lee Zachariah, they’ve gone on to write and produce theatre and audio comedy, most notably the sci-fi series Night Terrace. You can find out more about them below.
About The Chaps 1
Ben McKenzie (benmckenzie.com.au, @McKenzie_Ben; not the one on Gotham) is an actor, comedian, writer, game designer and ginger. He co-created Dungeon Crawl, a monthly improvised comedy show based on the tropes of Dungeons & Dragons; is head games designer at live games company Pop Up Playground and one of the minds behind hit bank heist game Small Time Criminals; and has performed sketch, stand-up and improvised comedy around Australia for nearly two decades. He appeared in The Bazura Project and Woodley on ABC TV, was a writer and presenter for Channel 31 geek variety show Planet Nerd, has been a guest on various other podcasts including Boxcutters, Shooting the Poo and Scamapalooza, and co-stars as Eddie Jones in Night Terrace. His favourite dinosaur is Stegosaurus.
Ben can’t remember a time when he didn’t watch or read Doctor Who. If pressed, he used to say his top three Doctors were Two, Five and Eleven, or give the “splendid chaps” answer, but doing the podcast he realised he does have a favourite: Sylvester McCoy. He would be happy to see a woman play the Doctor.
John Richards (outlandinstitute.wordpress.com) is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. He is best known for co-creating and writing the ABC1 television series Outland, the best gay-and-lesbian-science-fiction-fan-club-comedy ever made. He was a presenter on the Boxcutters podcast for five years, where he won a Chronos Award for interviewing Doctor Who writers Paul Cornell and Rob Shearman, and he hosted the pop-culture jamboree The Outland Institute on Joy 94.9. He wrote the stage two-hander Not Of This Earth which toured Australia, and was part of the acclaimed radio comedy team The Third Ear who produced a regular sketch comedy show, a sitcom for ABC Radio National (based on Not Of This Earth) and wrote and performed material for the television series Something Hot Before Bed. He has a dim memory of once being a stand-up comedian. In 1995 he wrote a song that made JJJ’s Hottest 100. In 2013 he had theatrical pieces produced in London and Melbourne, including Songs for Europe: Two Short Plays About Eurovision. He is a regular contributor to publications including Cult, Encore and DNA, and his shoulder appears in the feature film The Extra.
He was abandoned in the wilds of West Australia as a child and raised by a TV showing Doctor Who. His top three Doctors are Five, Three, Seven and Eleven, even though that’s four of them. But they are all splendid chaps.
Petra Elliott (petraelliott.com, @PetraElliott) completed a BA in acting earlier this century and has since explored theatre for children, contact impro, puppetry, and improvisation skills used in live performance, including development of a theatre in education project for YWCA Scope. Theatre highlights include Sissy (then) in Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Dinah in Brighton Beach Scumbags, Lucy in 3 Points of Contact, Eve Ensler in The Vagina Monologues, Emilia in Othello, Belinda/Flavia in Noises Off, M’lynn in Steel Magnolias, Godspell, Cabaret, Les Miserables, multiple roles in He Died With a Falafel In His Hand, and as the title role in Peter Pan. Most recent credits include Inside Out with FLW Theatre and La Mama, Who Killed John Bearington III? and the 2012 Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour. She has also worked at a corporate reception desk during the pre-Christmas period, inspiring an extraordinary Lady Ga Ga parody.
David Ashton is founder of Sample and Hold Studios in Melbourne. He has extensive experience in broadcast audio production, including twelve years at SBS and three with the ABC. He’s produced live programs, pre-recorded productions and outside broadcasts for radio, recorded and produced local musicians including Mark Barrage, The Emergency and Minimum Chips, and recorded The Church, Regurgitator Michael Franti and many others for radio broadcast.
- We realise chaps is traditionally a gendered term, but with a podcast titled Splendid Chaps, we don’t imagine we’d get away with calling ourselves anything else. ↩