Thursday, 25 July 2013

Details announced of Splendid Chaps: "Eight/Science"

.As previously reported, Splendid Chaps is a year-long performance/podcast project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who hosted by comedian Ben McKenzie (Dungeon Crawl, Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour) and writer John Richards (ABC1 sitcom Outland, Boxcutters podcast)

Described by its creators as part intellectual panel discussion, part nerdy Tonight Show, Splendid Chaps is a combination of analysis, enthusiasm and irreverence. The first episode went to number 1 on the iTunes TV & Film Podcast chart in Australia, and to number 4 in the UK. The podcasts to previous episodes are now available at www.splendidchaps.com or at iTunes.

Tickets are now on sale for their Eighth Doctor show! Their eighth major episode brings them 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 is also National Science Week, so Splendid Chaps are also 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 will be joined by a panel of actual scientists including biologist and geneticist Jack Scanlan. Plus a musical performance, and all the usual prizes and surprises!

Space: upstairs, Bar Open, 317 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Time: Sunday, August 11; recording starts 5 PM
Accessibility: Splendid Chaps 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 23 August 2013.

With thanks to John Richards