The Neighbours of Night Terrace: Ben McKenzie

The Kickstarter for the third season of the brilliant radio SF comedy, Night Terrace, is entering its final third. In celebration, I’m interviewing a number of people involved with the previous two seasons and the current series!

Today it’s:

Ben McKenzie

who is a producer, writer and actor (playing Eddie Jones) for Night Terrace Season 1, Season 2 and the current Season 3 Kickstarter.

How did you get involved in Night Terrace?

It’s the old old story: friends start a Doctor Who podcast, podcast ends, friends have an audience, friends realise they’re all writers and actors, friends decided to create an audio series in order to work together more. A tale as old as time!

Why did you get involved?

I love audio comedy. I listened to The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy quite early on and my Poppa introduced me to The Goon Show. I had a Walkman and listened to spoken word and comedy stuff as much as music! Also I missed acting a lot. I started out as an actor and transitioned into comedy and apart from some sketch shows haven’t done nearly as much as I’d like. Much of the work I have done is in voiceover, but since until recently there’s been so little audio drama produced in Australia, that was mostly narration.

What do you love about the show?

I love that we’ve managed to make our own version of the Doctor Who formula – the characters can go anywhere in space and time, and indeed they do! Plus like early Doctor Who they’re not in charge of their travels, only what they do once they arrive. I love the openness of the premise and how well it works in audio, since we can afford lavish sets and special effects (all entirely thanks to David Ashton). Plus while it’s a comedy we try to make it about things and have plots that go somewhere and make sense.

What’s your favourite line/quote from NT?

This is an unfair question to ask a writer of the show, so instead I will pick my current favourite nerdiest exchange, from the live special “Situational Awareness”:

“Is Heisenberg the one who put the cat in the box?

“No, that was Schrodinger. And also wasn’t Schrodinger. Long story.”

What’s the best feedback you’ve had about the series?

Look, I can’t lie: hearing Neil Gaiman say he thinks it has heart and ideas was a big deal. Like a lot of us making this show, he’s been a big influence on me and I’m a big fan. But I haven’t made much else that lasts – most of my work is live performance and much of it improvised or a one-off. To have people I don’t even know listening? Or people who believe in what we do enough to fund it with their own cash, and make it happen? That’s huge and wonderful. There are also some specific bits of feedback from listeners and supporters that have meant a lot, but I don’t think I could single one out. They know who they are, I hope.

What key skill would you bring if you ended up travelling in time and space with the crew?

I’m kind of a geek of all trades, or as a friend once said, a nerd for all seasons. I certainly don’t know the most about anything, but I know a bit about lots of things. I’d like to think that makes me adaptable and useful in a lot of places and times! Also I love to research things so that might prove helpful too.

Would you like to travel in time and space with Anastasia, Eddie and Sue?

Um…yes! Of course! It wouldn’t be weird at all for Eddie and I to be in the same room at the same time! And sure it’s random, but dinosaurs were around for ages, so the chance of seeing a Stegosaurus would totally be worth it.

Really?

…no. Not really. I mean, the adventure is great, but the never going home part is a sticking point. And Eddie seems oddly okay with it, except for a few times. What’s up with that? I would miss so many people…

Would you like to be part of the next season of Night Terrace? Zip over to Kickstarter to listen to the very first episode, and pick your pledge level!

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