Night Terrace is a series of hilarious, smart and witty science fiction comedy audioplays about a terrace house that travels randomly in space and time with a retired superspy and a door-to-door power company salesperson inside it.
It stars Jackie Woodburne (aka “Susan from Neighbours“) as Anastasia Black (the superspy), Ben McKenzie as Eddie Jones (the salesperson) and Petra Eliot as Sue, a mysterious disembodied purveyor of cryptic sometimes completely unhelpful advice who may actually know quite a lot about the house and why it does what it does. But why waste words describing Night Terrace, when you can listen to Episode One of Series One for free for yourself?
Following on from the success of Night Terrace Series One (including recently receiving an Aurealis Award), Series Two is currently being crowdfunded, with around a week to go to reach its target. If listening to Episode One (see above) isn’t enough to get you pledging to the creation of even more Night Terrace, here’s Night Terrace co-founder Mr. John Richards to elaborate on the show and why you really should back it.
Was doing a second season of Night Terrace always part of the plan?
John: I was always focused on just getting season one made, but others in the group (looking at YOU, Lee Zachariah) had other ideas. There’s actually something important about Season Two planted in the first two minutes of the first episode. And we know what Season Three will be about now as well. But as a deeply scientific-leaning man I worry about jinxes.
Had you worked in scripted audio/radio plays before working on Night Terrace?
John: David Ashton (co-creator, writer, Master Of All Sound) and I used to be part of The Third Ear, a radio comedy team. We did a sketch show for years on RRR, and sketches for various ABC stations including a half-hour sitcom for Radio National. I’ve also written some sketches for BBC radio (none of which made the final cut of the episode, but which delighted dozens of listeners at the live recording!). We all have a deep love of audio drama and content, especially from our Spiritual Fairy Godmothers at Big Finish, who have been extremely generous with advice and support.
What inspirations did you draw on when creating Night Terrace?
John: This was interesting for me, as we actually started not with an idea, but with an audience for an idea, which I’d never done before. We were coming to the end of Splendid Chaps, our startlingly successful Doctor Who live show/podcast project, and we loved our audience so much we wanted to keep them!
We’d built such a fantastically engaged body of listeners, people who were smart and funny, that we wanted to come up with a project to suit them. We had background in comedy and narrative drama, so that seemed the next logical step, and we wanted something that would appeal to Doctor Who fans while still being original. So our first meeting was to come up with something that ticked all the boxes of what we were interested in, without copying anything else.
We had an idea for a U.N.I.T. style comedy about The D.E.P.A.R.T.M.E.N.T. but I felt that would be too close to Graham Duff‘s Nebulous. And we had to avoid being too much like Hitch Hikers, or Red Dwarf, or My Favourite Martian, or Quark… we had a big list of all previous science fiction comedies! And we knew we wanted a female lead. So the idea of a show that was a bit like a female-led Doctor Who but with a vague X-Files-y backstory ended up being the one. I think Ben came up with the idea of a moving house and we went from there. Of course later on you pointed out there’d been an Australian kid’s sitcom with Ron Blanchard in it back in the 1980s that did that, so there’s no new ideas!
What’s your favourite episode from Season One?
John: I really love Season One in it’s entirety! Of my three episodes it would have to be “Sound & Fuhrer” [set on a New-Zealand-built asteroid theme park staffed by android Hitlers], mostly because I didn’t have to set anything up or finish anything off so I got to just write a big adventure story (with some discussion of how we see history as the subtext). I love Lee’s “Starship Australis” [set on a spaceship built to resemble the “best bits” of Australia], which is such a huge production, it sounds epic. Ben’s murder mystery one, “Time Of Death” [a time-twisted 1920s murder mystery] is brilliant, especially the scene-chewing from the awesome Virgina Gay as 1920s murder-solving heroine Miss Baker. And “The Outsourcing” [set on a planet whose corporate owners have taken outsourcing to a recursive extreme] was one that really grabbed people and which makes me laugh from beginning to end (especially when the fantastic Toby Truslove gets to play a butch space marine type). I can list the other episodes as well, if you like…
What’s the best response you’ve had so far to Season One?
John: Hearing people spontaneously say “HE WAS YOUR LOVEEEEERRRRRR!” in the style of Miss Baker NEVER gets old. Also, we won an award. Did I mention we won an award? We’re award-winning now.
Give us a quick teaser for Night Terrace Season Two.
John: Anastasia and Eddie are back, now joined by the less-mysterious-than-last-time Sue. We’re going to explore the difference between being a tourist and being a traveller, and taking responsibilty for your own actions. We’ll learn more about how the house works, and it won’t necessarily be good. We’ll be visiting the past, the future, and outer space. And Jane Badler will return!
Why do you think people should give you money so you can make Season Two?
John: This sort of content will not exist unless we all will it into life, especially in Australia. So if you want more science fiction comedy (and especially female-led science fiction comedy) then $25 for 4 hours of it is a pretty good deal. This literally cannot exist without the largesse of our listeners. Audio is a lot cheaper than television, but we’re still paying for actors, studios, etc. Also, it’s funny. You can check out episode one in its entirety on the kickstarter to see if it takes your fancy. And did I mention the award?
If you want to find out more about Night Terrace, or if you just want to give the Night Terrace team some money so they can make Season Two, head over to their Kickstarter page now. They’re currently sitting at around 90% funded, but they have some awesomesauce stretch goals if they raise over their funding goal, including a live episode and a musical episode too.
And I don’t say “give them money” only because I want to be able to listen to a second season of Night Terrace (not only) – I want YOU to be able to listen to it too.
Just not quite as much as I want me to be able to.