Category: Live Shows

Spinning Off into Another Dimension (live show)

The universe of Doctor Who is vast. So vast that it can’t be contained in a single television program – even one that’s still going after 53 years. So vast, in fact, that even a year’s worth of podcasts couldn’t cover everything…so perhaps we’ll do just one more. Just this once.

Join John Richards, Ben McKenzie and Petra Elliott, ably assisted by invisible chap David Ashton, as they temporarily return from the time vortex for the first time in nearly two years to bring you a special one-off episode of Splendid Chaps! The chaps will discuss those bits of Who that have spun off into another dimension: Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Class and more! We’ll be joined by a couple of returning special guests: our favourite sci-fi academic, Dr Djoymi Baker, and children’s author George Ivanoff! Plus there’ll be the usual mix of comedy, deep discussion, audience questions, music and prizes!

This very special live episode will be released as a mini-series of short episodes in February and March 2017.

Space: The Bella Union, upstairs, Melbourne Trades Hall, corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets, Melbourne
Time: 4 PM Sunday, February 12, 2017; doors open from 3:30 PM
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible; please contact the venue for lift access.
Tickets: $18/$16 groups of 4+/$12 concession (includes booking fee where applicable)
Bookings: via bellaunion.com.au online or at the door (subject to availability)
Podcast: not yet available; planned release 23rd of February to 23rd of March, 2017

The Splendid Chaps Christmas Special (live show)

Yes, it’s the end…but the moment has been prepared for!

All right, we know we’ve said that before. But now, after eleventy episodes of Doctor Who discussion covering the Doctor, his friends and enemies, and topics ranging from clothes to evil to comedy, it’s time to bid farewell to hosts Ben McKenzieJohn Richards and Petra Elliot (and our invisible fourth chap, sound engineer David Ashton). To see out this year of Doctor Who, the chaps look at all the Time Lord goodness that didn’t fit into the rest of the year, including not-quite-Doctors Peter Cushing and Richard E Grant, spin-offs The Sarah Jane Adventures and K9 & Company, and much much more.

There’ll be special guests both new and old, including Cyberman designer Alexandra Tynan, comedian Adam Richard, technoevangelist Fee Plumley, academic Dr Djoymi Baker, comedian and quiz master Janet A McLeod, writer and Bazura Project guy Lee Zachariah, journalist Myke Bartlett, film reviewer Thomas Caldwell and maybe even one or two more! Plus songs from house band The Time Lads, a Christmas Dalek, and a special Christmas lucky dip of Doctor Who prizes, with all lucky dip proceeds donated to two very Doctorish charities: the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) and Medecins San Frontières (MSF).

We’d love to see you one last time!

Space: The Bella Union, upstairs, Melbourne Trades Hall, corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets, Melbourne
Time: Sunday, December 15; doors open from 4:30 PM
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible; please contact the venue for lift access.
Tickets: $20 (including booking fee)
Bookings: via bellaunion.com.au online, or at the ACMI box office (subject to availability)
Podcast: not yet available; released 23rd of December, 2013.

The Not-So-Splendid Chaps: Monsters and Villains (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!).

Let’s not pretend: there are many more than eleven episodes, and this one – our second last live show for the year – is the main result of our successful Pozible campaign to take a show up north! Thanks to the generous support of our listeners in Sydney and beyond, the Splendid Chaps are hitting the road and materialising in Glebe to stop talking about our heroes and instead think about those not-so-splendid chaps (and, er…things?), the monsters and villains of Doctor Who!

Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen, the Silence, Silurians, Quarks… The Doctor’s monsters sometimes seem to be physical manifestations of humanity’s fears. Is it the creatures we find so terrifying, or what they represent – and what do they represent? We celebrate the baddest of the bad, as well as those whose galactic domination has been less than completely successful.

Then there are the less literal, more human monsters: the Master, Davros, Lady Cassandra… Are they all thoroughly evil, or do they have more subtle motivations? What makes a good Doctor Who villain tick? Are they better than inhuman monsters, or is it best when they work hand in hand? They’re often some of the best fun to be had in a story, so let’s embrace the dark side!

Ben, John and Petra will be joined by writer and comedian Alice Fraser (FBi Radio, NewsLab), broadcaster, social media producer and ex-Rage programmer Maddie Palmer, and actor and presenter Steven “Bajo” O’Donnell (ABC2’s Good Game, ABC3’s Good Game: Spawn Point) to talk about the people and things we love to hate. Plus prizes, surprises, loveliness and a live musical performance of a lost Doctor Who classic tune from Keira “LadyNerd” Daley and Catriona Wimberley!

Space: upstairs, The Roxbury Hotel, 182 St Johns Road, Glebe, Sydney
Time: Saturday, November 30, 5:00 PM
Accessibility: We regret that this venue is not wheelchair accessible.
Tickets: $25
Bookings: via trybooking.com or at the door (if seats available)
Podcast: TBA.

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.

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.

Nine/Women (live show)

Young London woman Rose Tyler is at work when she is surprised by animated shop dummies, but she is saved by a mysterious man in a leather jacket who calls himself the Doctor. Though he tells her to forget him, she discovers he is a legend, the subject of Internet conspiracy theories: he has appeared throughout human history, and wherever he goes, death and destruction follow. Tough, resourceful, at times silly but with uncompromising morals, this Doctor has seen much and survived terrible losses. But he’s also alone – until he inspires Rose to realise her potential and save him, and the planet, in return…

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 ninth major episode brings us finally to new Who, that time when the seemingly impossible happened and the show returned! Russell T Davies reinvented the Doctor by casting renowned TV and film actor Christopher Eccleston, famous for serious roles in dramas like Cracker, Our Friends in the North and Elizabeth. His simultaneously light-hearted and tortured portrayal of a man who has lost everything won over old and new fans alike, though the revelation after the smash success of the first episode that he would only be staying for one year took fans and media by surprise. Despite his short stay in the role, Eccleston defined the new era of Doctor Who and laid the groundwork for the format that persisted ever since.

Just as important to new Who was new companion Rose Tyler, played by pop star turned actor Billie Piper. For some she was a revelation compared to the “scream queens” of the past; but is this a fair assessment? We take as our theme women in Doctor Who: was having a proactive and near equal status companion for the Doctor really such a radical idea? Has Doctor Who been as terribly sexist as has often been claimed? Are the women in the show as varied and multifaceted as the men? And is the modern series really better in its portrayal of women than the old?

Hosts Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliott are joined by a panel including feminist organiser and writer Karen Pickering (Cherchez la Femme), author and podcaster Tansy Rayner Roberts (Galactic Suburbia, Verity!) and National Indigenous Organiser for the National Tertiary Education Union, Celeste Liddle (Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist), plus a musical performance, giveaways and other excellence!

Space: The Gasometer Hotel, 484 Smith Street, Collingwood (corner of Alexandra Parade)
Time: Sunday, September 15; 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 September, 2013.

Eight/Science (live show)

The Doctor, mysterious saver of worlds, is summoned to collect the remains of his rival Time Lord, the Master. But it’s a trap: the Master forces the Doctor to land in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, 1999, where he is shot, taken to hospital and accidentally killed on the operating table by heart surgeon Grace Holloway. After a delay, the Doctor finally regenerates – but with no memory of his identity. He seeks out Grace, who helps him settle into his new personality: suave, energetic, romantic and full of enthusiasm, this new Doctor encourages those around him to live life to the fullest – sometimes by revealing little bits of their future. He manages to stop the Master from taking over his body and destroying the Earth, after which he kisses Grace farewell and goes on travelling alone.

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 eighth major episode brings us to the Doctor of the show’s “middle period” between classic and new Who – Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor. A cult figure thanks to his starring role in Withnail and I (alongside alternate Ninth Doctor Richard E Grant), McGann was a popular choice and garnered much kudos for his performance – but almost nothing else about the American co-produced telemovie seemed to please audiences on either of the Atlantic, and no new series was produced. It’s a weird moment in the so-called “wilderness years” between old and new Who.

It’s also National Science Week, so we’re looking at science in Doctor Who. Ostensibly science fiction, and starting out life with an educational remit, Doctor Who originally alternated between trips to historical events and sci-fi tales that were meant to teach us about science. But amongst the mad scientists, wobbly grasp of concepts like “black hole”, “neutron” and “constellation”, and the rather more fantastical bent of the post-2005 show, does Doctor Who actually depict real science in any meaningful way? Does it champion the idea of being “sciencey”? What does it get wrong, what does it get right, and what can we learn from it about science in either case?

Hosts Ben McKenzie, John Richards and Petra Elliott are joined by a panel of actual scientists including biologist and geneticist Jack Scanlan , astrophysicist Dr Alan Duffy, and science communicator Allie Ford. Plus a musical performance from folk musician Hannah Pelka-Caven, and all the usual prizes and surprises!

Space: upstairs, Bar Open, 317 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Time: Sunday, August 11; 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 August, 2013.

Seven/Religion (live show)

Blustering Time Lord meddler the Doctor and his friend Mel are ambushed by fellow Time Lord The Rani, and as his TARDIS crashes he is mortally wounded and forced to regenerate. His new persona starts out highly eccentric, scatter-brained and confused – but as his personality settles, it become unclear how much of this is real, and how much obfuscation of his real agenda. Teaming up with Ace, a teenager from the 1980s who had already become lost in time and has a penchant for high explosives, he soon begins to tie up plans and schemes he’d started lifetimes ago… 

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 seventh episode in our main series discusses the Seventh and final Doctor of what we now call the classic era, played by variety performer and actor Sylvester McCoy. Famous for escapology, spoon playing and putting ferrets down his trousers, McCoy’s casting raised a few eyebrows, but his performance changed many doubters’ minds – especially when combined with Sophie Aldred as Ace, and under the new direction provided by the incoming production team under Andrew Cartmell. Of course, no-one knew that the program’s days were numbered…

We’re also looking at the theme of “religion” in Doctor Who. The Doctor has been all across space and time and encountered zealots, fanatics, kindly priests, and beings who believed themselves to be gods or demons or the devil himself. But what does the program say about religion, faith and belief? Is the Doctor Who universe truly a rational one in which the supernatural is really just advanced science, or is The Beast really the Devil? Is faith worthwhile, and if so, what does the Doctor believe?

Hosts Ben McKenzieJohn Richards and Petra Elliott are joined by guests including writer and game designer Paul Callaghan, comedian and television writer Dave Bloustien, and for our discussion of religion, the Reverend Dr Avril Hannah-Jones, Uniting Church minister and founder of the Church of the Latter Day Geek (as seen on Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight)! Plus a very special musical performance from the one and only Lee Zachariah accompanied by the two and only Adam Rudegeair, and all the usual prizes and surprises!

Space: The Public Bar, 238 Victoria Street, North Melbourne (opposite Victoria Markets)
Time: Sunday, July 14; recording starts 5 PM
Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible.
Tickets: $15 (plus booking fee where applicable)
Bookings: via trybooking.com or at the door (subject to availability)
Podcast: released on the 23rd (part one) and 30th (part two) of July, 2013.