Author: Ben

Actor, comedian, feminist, improviser, voiceover artist, presenter, game mechanic, scientician, rogue nerd, ginger.

We’re going beyond Eleven!

Splendid Chaps started as a series of eleven live podcasts from January to November, celebrating each of the eleven Doctors. But we’ve managed to slip in a few extras here and there – and with your help, we’re making a couple more! On November 30, we’ll produce a live Splendid Chaps show in Sydney, thanks to the pledges made in our Pozible crowdfunding campaign! In return, our supporters score tickets to the show and other rewards, including badges, posters, T-shirts, a special message from the Chaps, picking the topics in an additional “By Request” show (yes, a successful campaign means two extra episodes!), and more! We’ve reached the goal, but we’ll be selling tickets for the remaining seats in the venue online soon.

Ten/Sex

Sit down for this one, ‘cos you’re gonna get hot under the collar as hosts Ben McKenzieJohn Richards and Petra Elliott discuss David Tennant and sex in Doctor Who with guests Aimee Nichols and Richard Watts in our tenth (ish) live Splendid Chaps episode, recorded at the Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne on October 13, 2013. Plus there are prizes, another deluge of audience questions, and Melbourne geek rock band Blue Turtle Shell marry our two topics in song! This one isn’t very sweary – but it does get a little risqué. What can we say? It does what it says on the tin.

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Don’t forget you can go into the draw to win season four of modern Doctor Who on DVD (the Tenth Doctor and Donna season), courtesy of our friends at BBC on DVD! To enter the draw, just comment on this episode at splendidchaps.com. Do you think David Tennant is sexy? Is he your favourite Doctor? Do you find him smug or charming – or both? Are sex and relationships okay in Doctor Who, or do they weird you out? And who else in Doctor Who was clearly doing it, right under our noses? Comment by November 20 to be in the running, and we’ll announce the winner at the recording of Eleven/Future on November 21.

The Other Splendid Chaps: The Companions (live show)

Splendid Chaps is a year-long celebration of Doctor Who‘s fiftieth anniversary: eleven live performances recorded as podcasts in which your brains will be fed, your funny bones tickled, and your hearts opened (yes, both of them!).

Having smashed through the eleven episode barrier months ago, the Splendid Chaps are back with another bonus episode, this time at the Melbourne City Library as part of their Doctor Who Festival! We’ve spent eleven episodes talking about the Doctor; now it’s time to talk about those other splendid chaps – the companions!

Companion, assistant, sidekick…none of these names really do the role of TARDIS occupant and time-space adventurer justice. In fifty years the Doctor has had almost as many fellow travellers aboard the TARDIS – most human, but also a few robots, aliens and fellow Time Lords. Exactly who counts varies depends on who you ask, but they’ve always been understood to be our point-of-view character; a proxy for the audience who will ask the Doctor to explain what on (or off) Earth is going on. Who are these people? What do they teach us about ourselves, the Doctor, and our changing society? Are they really there to get in trouble, pass the Zeus plugs and make the Doctor a better person, or is there more to them than meets the eye? And how different is the new series’ attitude to its supporting characters?

Ben, John and Petra will be joined by writer, director and podcaster Lucas Testro (Neighbours, Winners and Losers, NonCanonical), and broadcaster, documentary maker and podcaster Marian Blythe (3RRR, Boxcutters 2.0) to talk about the rest of the TARDIS crew. Plus prizes, surprises, loveliness and a live musical performance of a lost Doctor Who classic tune from Emma Heeney!

Space: Melbourne City Library, 253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Time: Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 PM
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible.
Tickets: Free! (bookings essential; limited seats available)
Bookings: via webwiredsolutions.com.au or at the door (if seats available)
Podcast: TBA.

Eleven/Future (live show)

The Doctor, the lonely god, last of the Time Lords, comes face to face with his own people and their most evil son, the Master, but manages to avert their disastrous return, seemingly avoiding his foretold death. But Wilf, an ordinary old man present for the final battle, taps on the radiation-filled booth in which he is trapped – fulfilling the prophecy that “he will knock four times”. The Doctor grudgingly saves Wilf, absorbing the fatal radiation, and leaves for a “victory lap” around the Universe, waving a silent goodbye to old friends. Having held back death for so long, his regeneration is explosive, severely damaging the TARDIS and sending it hurtling towards Earth. The new Doctor is youthful, eccentric, enthusiastic and affectionate, but rather more alien than his predecessor, out of touch with human culture and at times feeling all of his 900 plus years. He forms a bond with a young Scottish girl, Amelia Pond, and accidentally binds their entire lives together. 

Splendid Chaps is a year-long celebration of Doctor Who‘s fiftieth anniversary: eleven live performances recorded as podcasts in which your brains will be fed, your funny bones tickled, and your hearts opened (yes, both of them!). Our eleventh and final(ish) major episode brings us to the (still) current Doctor, Matt Smith. Splitting fan opinion on his announcement, in part because of his youth and obscurity, he soon won over audiences with a performance influenced by Patrick Troughton. This was also the biggest time of change in the revived show’s history, with not only a new Doctor, but a new production team, headed by fan favourite writer Steven Moffat, bringing a definite new feel to the show.

As Splendid Chaps draws to a close, we want to look forward as well as back, and so we take as our theme the future. The Doctor in the old series and the new has often looked forward in time, whether a few decades, a few centuries, or even millions or billions of years. How has the show depicted the future? Has it tried to be predictive, or to express our hopes and fears? And what of the future of the show itself? With Matt Smith leaving, and Moffat’s time surely also coming to an end, what does the future have in store for Doctor Who?

Hosts Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliott are joined by comedians Justin Hamilton and Stella Young, plus a new song from Keating! composer Casey Bennetto, backed by our house band The Time Lads. Plus there will of course be prizes, surprises, jokes and more; it’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for! (We have a little something extra up our sleeves…)

Space: ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne
Time: Thursday, November 21; recording starts 7 PM
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible.
Tickets: $15 full, $12 concession, $11 ACMI members (plus booking fee where applicable)
Bookings: via ACMI online, or at the ACMI box office (subject to availability)
Podcast: not yet available; released 23rd of November, 2013.

What I Learned From Doctor Who (live show)

Splendid Chaps is a year-long celebration of Doctor Who‘s fiftieth anniversary: eleven live performances recorded as podcasts in which your brains will be fed, your funny bones tickled, and your hearts opened (yes, both of them!).

Well…we said eleven. But that was ages ago. The Doctor doesn’t play by the rules, so why should we? As part of Stonnington Libraries’ [untitled] Festival, the chaps are doing a special bonus episode talking about what they’ve learned from Doctor Who!

Born in part as an educational program, with Sidney Newman wanting no “bug-eyed monsters”, Doctor Who has often sought to educate us about our world – and the Universe beyond it. But over the years, as the traditional educational content about history and science faded away, it still brought us concepts and ideas – Buddhism, mythology, ethics, politics, friendship…there’s so much to learn from the Doctor!

Ben, John and Petra will be joined by comedian, actor and teacher Rob Lloyd (Who, Me.), and writer and editor Liz Barr (Chicks Unravel Time and it’s impending sequel) for a discussion of what Doctor Who has taught them. Plus prizes, surprises, all the usual Splendid Stuff, and a live poetry performance from the one and only Emile Zoey Baker!

Space: Toorak/South Yarra Library, 340 Toorak Road, South Yarra
Time: Saturday, November 16, 4:00 PM
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible.
Tickets: All tickets $10 (plus booking fee where applicable)
Bookings: via trybooking.com, or buy tickets at the door (subject to availability)
Podcast: TBA.

The Ten/Sex viewing list

Uh-oh! It’s been so busy around here, what with theatre productions, Pozible campaigns and mini-episodes, we’ve neglected to write up the viewing list for our next episode! But in case you want to cram in your homework in the few days left before the show, here is your homework viewing for Ten/Sex, which will be recorded on October 13th at the Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne (full show details here).

Your homework viewing for David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor is:

  • The Girl in the Fireplace
  • The Shakespeare Code
  • Partners in Crime

We’ve made sure there’s one from each of his full seasons, so you can see him in action with Rose (and Mickey!), Martha and Donna.

To experience something of the spectrum of sex and relationships in Doctor Who, we suggest:

  • The Green Death (Jon Pertwee, 1973; six episodes)
  • Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways (Christopher Eccleston, 2005, two episodes)
  • Human Nature/The Family of Blood (David Tennant, 2007; two episodes)
  • The Unicorn and the Wasp (David Tennant, 2008; one episode)
  • The Name of the Doctor (Matt Smith, 2013, one episode)

We’d also recommend some previous homework, including The Aztecs (the first time the Doctor gets engaged!), The Dalek Invasion of Earth (and anything else where a companion falls in love and leaves the TARDIS – reasonably or out of the blue!), The Romans (for that post-coital scene between Ian and Barbara, and the French-bedroom-farce style antics of Emperor Nero), The Caves of Androzani (if you want to think about the creepy side of this topic, with Sharaz Jek), Captain Jack’s debut in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, and the reframing of Sarah Jane’s relationship with the Doctor in School Reunion (both recommended last month for Nine/Women).

Other possibilities include The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords (for both Martha’s exit, which frames her relationship with the Doctor, and the Master’s relationship with his wife), The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End (for…well, you know what for), and anything with River Song in it (but especially Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead and The Wedding of River Song).

But we’re sure you have your own suggestions – so let us know in the comments!

Dimensions in Brisbane

In early September, Ben was fortunate enough to participate in the 2013 Brisbane Writers Festival, a festival which embraced genre writing with panels on licensed works, comics, crime, romance and many more. So of course it was full of interesting Doctor Who fans to interview – which leads us to Dimensions in Brisbane!

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In this special mini-episode of Splendid Chaps, you’ll meet:

  • Bianca Nogrady – freelance science journalist, broadcaster and author. You can find her online at biancanogrady.com or follow her on Twitter at @BiancaNogrady.
  • Damon Cavalchini – a writer who’s been part of the spec-fic scene in Brisbane for many years. Find out more about him and his work at damoncraft.com.
  • Yassmin Abdel-Magied – an engineer, founder of Youth Without Borders and author. Her blog is Redefining the Narrative, and she tweets at @yassmin_a.
  • Kate Eltham – author and current director of the Brisbane Writers Festival. Check out her web site or follow her on Twitter as @kate_eltham.

To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or via this Feedburner feed.

We’re crowdfunding a Sydney show!

We mentioned it during Nine/Women, and now it’s real – the chaps are crowdfunding a show in Sydney!

We always wanted to tour the podcast to other cities, but for a small show like us, that’s a big financial risk. We’ve heard from a few Sydney listeners that they’d love us to come, and there are some great Sydney-based guests we’d love to have on the podcast – so we’re running a Pozible campaign to pre-sell enough tickets to cover our costs and make it happen!

If you’d like to come to the show, just visit our Pozible campaign page; you can pledge $25 in return for a ticket to a special Sydney episode of Splendid Chaps. No-one pays anything unless we reach our goal of $3,000, which will cover travel and accommodation costs for Ben, John, Petra and David, plus pay for our time and that of our guests to make the show in Sydney, and cover the cost of all the rewards. Oh yes, did we mention those? If you really want to make sure the show happens, you can pledge more money and get some other cool stuff, including Splendid Chaps badges, signed posters and T-shirts, a special message recorded by the chaps, or you can even choose one of the topics discussed on an extra “By Request” episode!

We obviously can’t confirm much until we know for sure that we’re heading to Sydney, but we’ve already worded up some great possible guests, including comedian Alice Fraser and co-host of ABC2’s Good Game, Steven “Bajo” O’Donnell (subject to availability)! And we’ll update you with more info about the Sydney show as the campaign progresses.

So if you’d like to see us make an extra episode of Splendid Chaps and let the Whovians of Sydney in on the fun, please buy a ticket or other reward via the campaign, and help spread the word! We have until November 2nd to reach the $3,000 goal.

Nine/Women

Splendid Chaps finally makes it to new Who! Hosts Ben McKenzieJohn Richards and Petra Elliott discuss Christopher Eccleston and women in Doctor Who (and didn’t we need more time for that huge topic!) with guests Karen PickeringCeleste Liddle and Tansy Rayner Roberts! It’s the ninth live Splendid Chaps episode, recorded at the Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne on September 15, 2013. Plus there are prizes, a tonne of audience questions, and a surprise musical performance from two of the chaps! Oh, and a word of warning: this one gets a bit more sweary than usual. But what do you expect? We’re Australians!

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Don’t forget you can go into the draw to win Christopher Eccleston’s first season of Doctor Who on DVD, courtesy of our friends at BBC on DVD! To enter the draw, just comment on this episode at splendidchaps.com. Were you won over by Eccleston, or do you think he’s a creep? Who are your favourite women from Doctor Who? If we’d had another hour, what do you think we should have covered in our continuing chat about women in Who? Comment by October 12 to be in the running, and we’ll announce the winner at the recording of Ten/Sex on October 13.

Ten/Sex (live show)

The Doctor, survivor of the Last Great Time War, discovers to his horror that the Daleks he thought dead have returned to exterminate humanity. He sends his friend Rose Tyler home, but she absorbs the energy of the Time Vortex in order to obliterate the Daleks – energy which will destroy her. The Doctor, already prepared to die, absorbs the energy from Rose with a kiss and bids her a proud farewell before regenerating. The new Doctor is younger, happier and more engaged, but retains something of his predecessor’s hard edge – and after a rocky start, soon develops a deeper connection with Rose.

Splendid Chaps is a year-long celebration of Doctor Who‘s fiftieth anniversary: eleven live performances recorded as podcasts in which your brains will be fed, your funny bones tickled, and your hearts opened (yes, both of them!). Our tenth major episode brings us to many people’s first (and favourite) Doctor, David Tennant. Phenomenally popular, and quickly establishing his own fanbase independent of the show, Tennant stayed in the role over five years, all the way to the end of Russell T Davies time as showrunner, cementing the program’s success and becoming “the” Doctor for a whole generation of viewers.

Seemingly a big part of Tennant’s success was his sex appeal – something foreign to many fans of the classic series. The Doctor of the Old Time (and most of his friends) seemed disinterested in sex, save for the occasional bit of flirting, but in the new series he clearly romances Rose, spurns Martha, fends off Amy and perves on Clara; he’s snogged every female companion, and “danced” with or married a slew of historical figures. Then there’s future pansexual Captain Jack; Amy and Rory, who spend their honeymoon in costume and their wedding night in the TARDIS; and the love affair that lasts lifetimes between the Doctor and Professor River Song. Is this weird? Is it awesome? What does modern Doctor Who say about sex, relationships and sexuality, and did the classic series have anything to say about them?

Hosts Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliott are joined by writer, broadcaster and critic Richard Watts (artsHub, RRR’s SmartArts) and erotica writer and burlesque performer Aimee Nichols. Plus music from Melbourne geek rock band Blue Turtle Shell, giveaways from our lovely sponsors, and all the usual tomfoolery! (But no hanky panky.)

Space: The Gasometer Hotel, 484 Smith Street, Collingwood (corner of Alexandra Parade)
Time: Sunday, October 13; recording starts 5 PM
Accessibility: We regret that this venue is not wheelchair accessible.
Tickets: $15 (plus booking fee where applicable)
Bookings: via trybooking.com or at the door (subject to availability)
Podcast: not yet available; released 23rd of October, 2013.