The Ben Chatham Adventures is an ongoing series of Doctor Who fanfics by Sparacus, a poster on Gallifrey Base. They star Ben Chatham ("played" by Adam Rickett), a heroic, self-deprecating, multi-layered self-insert of the author. The plots are occasionally affectionate homages to 1970s Doctor Who stories, such as the 1974 stories The Green Death and Invasion of the Dinosaurs.
The series began with what Sparacus maintained was a Canon Series 2, which featured Rose falling for Chatham, the Doctor killing a hamster, Mickey joining a cult and Jackie Tyler dying from a brain tumor contracted from a genetically-modified apple. (But that's okay, because Sparacus maintains that she was too low-class to appear on Doctor Who anyway.)
Eventually, Chatham left (because "Rose was a chav") and became the focus of his own adventures, in which he fought aliens — or more accurately, stood around, did nothing and then called Torchwood to deal with everything — alongside a wildly unlikable supporting cast. These independent stories have long since overshadowed Chatham's time with the Doctor, making the link to the Whoniverse more and more tenuous. Our "hero" would return to Who in an alternate version of Series 4, in which he and a mute Donna Noble traveled through time and space (but mainly through rural England), facing the combined evil forces of the Meddling Monk, BOSS, the Cybermen, and some random Von Daniken aliens. Ben then left the TARDIS again, falling in love with someone he just met who offered him tickets to see Bowie. As is traditional with Ben, he was immediately dumped and left alone in his own spin-off series.
A Gallifrey Base poster by the name of Lemon Bloody Cola became a secondary writer for the series after he unrelentingly praised the fics as daring and inventive pieces of art, and Sparacus himself as an intellectual genius. LBC's fics were packed full of Purple Prose, complex-yet-genius plotlines, Alien-walrus rape, X-Men tributes, and Isobel. He soon built up a persona of an angsty, right-wing intellectual who wrote bad poetry and whose girlfriend had apparently run off with a Marxist hippie. Many believed he was a troll in disguise, and later he revealed that he was.
As the fics gained notoriety, a series of Ben Chatham stories written (mostly) by Sparacus's detractors was launched, giving Chatham the possibly unique honor among Mary Sues of having spawned his own fan fiction. The "fan" series is widely regarded as universally superior to the "canon" output (though it is unknown whether Sparacus has read any of it).
New "disciples" of Sparacus include Mutie (actually a regenerated Lemon Bloody Cola) and JonPertweeFan (who became famous on the forum for typing nonsense), the most vocal fans of the series. Sparacus continues to claim that a so-called "silent majority" exists that supports his stories, but evidence of this is slim. You know, because they're silent. Or perhaps Silents. note
Villains of the Ben Chatham Adventures have included such innovative monsters as the Russians (all of them called Ivan) and Kylie Minogue. Later stories have included such enemies as the androids in Chateau of Death, and Evil Snowmen from a short Annual story.
Stories are written as if they were pitches for television scripts; however, they frequently include family-unfriendly content such as overt sex, mints that act like drugs, and the gory murder of Cornish fishermen by monsters created by Russian stereotypes. Orchids and teenage girls with their throats ripped out also feature with regularity.
The series is notable for being incredibly badly written (or So Bad, It's Good, or an incredibly devoted Stealth Parody that's arguably gone on too long), with a very jarring present tense voice that makes even the few decent ideas difficult to follow, and for the author's constant insistence that:
- ...No matter how many people hate his stories, everyone else on the forum loves them and forms a "silent majority".
- ...All criticism is void (he counters it with "Unsubstantiated Assertion!").
- ...Chatham is canon.
- Caves of Oblivion
- Planet Waves
- The regeneration of the 10th Doctor into the 11th, set in a gay bar.
- The debut of the horny 11th Doctor, mixed with a cavalcade of ethnic stereotypes.
- An archive for the pre-11th Doctor Chathamverse adventures
Characters are detailed on the character sheet.
The Ben Chatham Adventures provide examples of:
- All Just a Dream: every Halloween special, in which Katie becomes a vampire and kills Ben, or when a vampire with a maggot-ridden skull kills Ben, or when Ben is killed by the Nimon.
- Artistic License Physics: in Planet Waves, the heroes are trapped in a room filling with gas, and decide the best thing to do is get down on the ground "as gas floats so it is safer at ground level". Yeah...
- As You Know: The most common form of exposition.
- "You insolent dog! You were chosen as one of the illuminated few who my race allowed to remember the Reapers last visit to your world in 1987, in order to prepare for their second coming."
- Author Appeal:
- Sparacus seems to fancy Adam Rickett...
LBCMutie has a similar thing for Hannah Murray.
- Author on Board: Ben's views seem to dovetail remarkably well with Sparacus' own opinions on a wide variety of subjects. Particularly the working class — or rather, anyone who may have an accent commonly associated with and / or vaguely appear to be working class.
- Beige Prose: All events except for those which feature Ben topless are described with astonishing economy, to the point where alien invasions are introduced and solved in the space of a sentence.
- Chickification- Rose, Martha, and Donna have all fallen victim to this.
- Crossover: Two in a row, with The Ghosts of Weatherfield as a Coronation Street crossover and The Lord of Reedy River being a Robin Hood crossover. The cast were so massively out of character it was difficult to work out whether it was a crossover to the 1978 or 2005 Tv series...
- Unfinished tale: The Case of the Twelve Gold Crosses, with Sherlock Holmes. And it has Oscar Wilde as Chatham's love interest...
- Deus ex Machina:
- in Operation Delta, Sarah Jane Smith and K-9 enter the story just in time to save Ben from being killed.
- in Doppelganger, the alien monster turns out to be allergic to Ben's aftershave and explodes.
- in Death in the Cloisters, the alien killer turns out to be allergic to jelly babies and explodes.
- Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Particularly when the victim is Ben, the offender is Henry VIII, and he forces Ben to put on a dress in preparation. He's interrupted before he can carry out the deed, however.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Ben does this to an insane degree.
- Everyone Looks Sexier If French: Chateau of Death seems to be heading in this direction.
- Fanon: Of a sort; despite the vast, vast, vast quantity of evidence to the contrary, the author insists that his fanfiction is part of the series continuity.
- Five-Man Band
- The "Hero": Ben
- The Lancer: Katie
- The Big Guy: Kyle
- The Smart Guy: Shakey Jake. Apparently. The Doctor takes on this role when he appears.
- The Chick: Isobel, or the Doctor's companion when she appears.
- And of course, Torchwood's old Five-Man Band, given how Chatham frequently texted or called them to solve his problems. The parody fic "Useless" lampshaded this with the narrator asking him "So you're contacting a super-top-secret alien-fighting organization through... Regular text messaging?"
- Funetik Aksent/Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Kyle's accent seems to vary wildly between Mancunian, Liverpudlian, Cockney...basically anywhere that sounds vaguely working class. What makes this particularly impressive is that he is a written character with no spoken dialogue, and the author could easily resolve this by just choosing to describe him using one accent and removing the others.
- Harmless Villain: The Apocalypse Chaser is a massively powerful trans-dimensional being whose plan involves causing a paradox to tear space-time apart to create an army of Reapers... who eat him.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Ben, strangely enough, in the movie pitch New Dawn. But then he has an Unexplained Recovery.
- Despite the typically hostile reaction to the overall story, Sparacus did earn some rare praise for the ending of the Robin Hood crossover, in which Chatham actually risked his life to save the day. At least until someone pointed out he had ripped the ending off from another user's parody rewrite of the Chatham New Year Special story, in which Torchwood's Gwen Cooper had risked her life in virtually identical circumstances to save the day.
- Historical Domain Character: Oscar Wilde was Chatham's love interest in The Case of the Twelve Gold Crosses.
- Homage: A generous interpretation of Sparacus's liberal pulling from Classic Doctor Who stories to use as the plots of his own is that he is paying tribute to the original series. A less generous interpretation is that he has no ideas for plots of his own and so just nakedly plagiarises them.
- Identical Grandson: both Friar Tuck in The Lord of Reedy River and Barry Tuck are apparently played by ... sigh... Johnny Vegas.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: there are a surprisingly large number of recurring original characters for a fan series. Kyle, Craig, Isobel, Katie, Paul Farraday, Corrine Shaw, Barry Tuck, Shakey Jake, Anselm Ashford-Ashworth, Carl and Abby Simpson and probably some more. None of them do much, though...
- Long-Lost Relative: In Chateau of Death, Ben finds out he has a half-brother he never knew about, the product of his father's affair with a French actress.
- The Mafiya: Run a chemical scheme in New Morning. And they're all named Ivan.
- Moral Dissonance: A lot of Ben's actions are overtly selfish, repellant, narcissistic and just plain wrong, and he at times possesses an almost sociopathic lack of compassion or interest in the affairs of others, yet he's rarely ever called on it. The writer also often refuses to acknowledge any of this.
- MST: Most people are fans of Ben Chatham because they either read or write what amounts to MSTies of the orignial fics.
- Pinball Protagonist: Most of the stories involve our supposed heroes simply being passively dragged along to watch the plot happen to other people before eventually something happens to resolve it, at which point everyone inexplicably decides that Ben — the most useless and passive of all the protagonists — deserves all the credit.
- Planet of Steves:
- All of the Russians are named Ivan.
- And all of the women in the latest story, set in France, are named Giselle.
- Poe's Law: Opinion is divided on whether Sparacus is a very convincing Stealth Parody of obnoxious egocentric fan authors with very odd ideas, or whether he is the real deal. And even those in the former camp started to wonder whether Sparacus was maybe committing to the joke a bit too much at times.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Probably most of the cast due to Author on Board, but in particular Ben himself and Barry Tuck, the waiter of a wine bar the main cast frequent who is able to produce canned laughter from thin air by savagely groping members of the main cast.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Apparently Ben has a "smoothe" chest. And the less said about punctuation the better.
- Secret Test: In the election special New Dawn, Ben and his team investigate a political party apparently led by the Eleventh Doctor. At first, it looks like the Doctor is actually a Zygon who has kidnapped the real Doctor: but it turns out the whole thing is a test of Ben's team by the Doctor and Amy, who presumably had nothing better to do.
- Self-Insert Fic:
- One story ends with Katie molesting one of the story's critics in a coffee bar.
- Ben Chatham himself is a blatant insert. Sparacus' personality and opinions grafted inside the body of Adam Rickett.
- Stealth Parody:
- LBC, now Mutie, is an admitted one.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
- "I have never stolen young girls knickers off washing lines and sniffed them."
- Sparacus is always coming up with these, often as a rebuttal to previous criticisms which greatly (and disturbingly) expand on what the original criticism was about to hint at a more lurid and disturbing nature.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Sparacus either pretends to or honestly thinks that Ben is a beloved, important and canon Doctor Who character.
- Too Dumb to Live: All core cast members have had at least one moment of blinding stupidity. Ben and Craig have had several.
- Word Salad Title:
- A chapter of the LBC story The Claws of Time was named "Columnated Ruins Domino". Case closed.
- ...wait a minute, that's a line from Smile!
- Working-Class People Are Morons: Ben (and, not incidentally, Sparacus himself) is very fond of sneering at 'chavs', even if the characters being sneered at don't actually fall into that particular group. A lot of them (unintentionally?) turn out to be a lot more useful and intelligent than he is.