The History Of Splatalot
Splatalot was created by Mark J.W Bishop and Matt Homburg on the 14th March in 2011. The series was inspired by the much more popular adult-oriented TV show Wipeout, with one of the creators one day thinking “Hey, what would happen if we did Wipeout, but for kids?” And so, Splatalot was born.
The game show was filmed in Amaranth, Ontario, Canada, and was built on a 50-acre lot owned by the parent hosters, Marblemedia. The show ran from 2011 all the way up until the 29th of August 2013, when the show had to be cancelled after the second season due to the property lease running out.
Currently, the old set is no more, as in a spiritual wrapping up of Splatalot that went by the name of Smashalot, the entire set was demolished and filmed for the entire world to see in 2018.
The Regional Differences
So, here’s a fun fact. Each region that the show was broadcasted in had a different set of hosts. For example, in the UK, which is where I’m from, the hosts of Splatalot were Dick and Dom (Or Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood). However, in Canada, the hosts were Jason Agnew and Matt Chin, and in Australia, the hosts were different again with Kayne Tremills and Scott Tweedie being the frontmen for the show.
How is this possible? Is there some kind of weird Mandella effect afoot? No, actually. Splatalot’s episodes were pre-recorded and then played to allow each set of hosts to comment on them separately without overlapping the other hosts. Unfortunately, I struggled to find any sources confirming why this is the case.
Other than that, the footage is mostly the same. Though, the Canadian cut leaves some extra footage in that the UK version seems to have cut out, which is a little sad. Especially since a lot of the cut footage involves the defenders.
The Three Splatalot Rounds
Splatalot is comprised of three rounds, with twelve attackers (or ten in the second season) Crossing the moat, which is a timed obstacle course in which the six fastest competitors (known as attackers) will make it through.
Escaping the stockade (or ditching the dungeon in the second season) sees the attackers having to build a ladder and grab one of only four flags at the top, failing to do so will lead to elimination.
Finally, we have captured the crown, a final skirmish with it being every man and woman for themselves as the attackers rush around another obstacle course in a last-minute bid for the crown.
However, to not make the journey too easy (or boring), each round accompanies a group of defenders. Both rounds one and two have three different defenders in them, meanwhile, round three has all six defenders come together from the first two rounds. Speaking of the defenders.
Splatalot Defenders Part 1: Season 1 Defenders
Call me biased all you want for attributing an entire section to them. But those who know the show know how much of an impact the defenders truly had. In Season 1, there were a grand total of nine defenders, each with their own unique weapons and personalities. Some carried over to season 2, while others left for various reasons. So, in order to not make this section too long, the three defenders that stayed on for season 2 will be covered in a later section.
First off, is one of my personal favourites. Gildar. Gildar (played by actor and wrestler RJ Skinner), is a Canadian Viking who is the epitome of a narcist. He compliments himself constantly, will panic and scream if he thinks he doesn’t look his best, and really gives off Gaston vibes whenever he appears on screen. Having a pension for looking at himself in the mirror, and hating sass with a vengeance, Gildar is certainly not one to sneeze at.
One of his funniest moments is in “Gildar has a secret” in which Gildar flipped his hair back so wildly that he caused himself a neck injury and was in a neck brace for the rest of the episode, deciding to “coach” the other defenders from the sidelines (which translates into Gildar shouting at them through a megaphone while he does absolutely nothing.)
Next off, is the daring temptress herself, Balista. Balista (played by actress Samantha Brown) is a Canadian huntress that is renowned for her charms which are so irresistible that every male presenter on the show seems to have a crush on her. She often talks in a very teasing tone to the attackers, clearly enjoying her job as a defender even if she always loses.
Don’t let that fool you, however, as Balista can be very fierce when she wants to be, as seen in the episode Splat of the Penguins when she fires straight at her fellow defender Throne for making an awful joke.
Moving away from the barbaric to the creative. It’s the fandom’s darling defender. Tinkor. Tinkor (played by Matt Burns) is an inventor and the manufacturer of the Splatalot weapons and the course itself.
Despite a majority of people in the fandom falling head over heels for him, Tinkor definitely isn’t what you’d consider a prince among peasants (if we’re being honest, he’s better off being referred to as a Tumblr Sexyman). Surprisingly, Tink is actually very nice to his fellow defenders, never throwing shade or shouting at them like they usually do to him, though, one could say that’s due to him being more focused on defending rather than arguing.
There are many jokes and references made about Tinkor’s poor hygiene, as well as often picking his nose. Interestingly he and fellow defender Shaiden have an odd on-and-off relationship going, as seen in episodes such as “Impossible is Nothing” and “Sarthak the Situation”, where they seem to share at least a little more respect to each other than to most other defenders.
Speaking of Shaiden. The sassy blue ninja (played by actress Grace Francis), and sister of fellow defender Thorne (played by her real-life brother Elliot Francis) is a British defender who clearly loves what she does. Shaiden often sports quite a calm exterior, however, she is vicious towards attackers (and her fellow defenders), often believing she is the only one doing anything.
Her most prominent rivalry is with the defender Skab, most likely due to his explosive temper. However, she isn’t against calming him down (thankfully for the attacker who won) as in the episode “It’s Taco Day.”, Shaiden used her magical ninja powers to calm Skabb down through the power of meditation!
Now, can you guess who’s next? That’s right! Crocness (you thought I was going to talk about Skabb weren’t you?). Crocness (Played by Actress Chenoa Deemal) is a half-human, half-crocodile (don’t ask how that works, I don’t think any of us want to know). She clearly takes pride in what she does, often taunting the defenders as she strikes them, this behaviour has even labelled her as the second most dangerous defender (just behind Skab.)
Interestingly, it’s revealed in”Gildar has a secret” that she and Gildar were once married. (Again, don’t think too hard about that.), not only that but in many episodes (most notedly in “Splat of the Penguins”) she and fellow defender Kookaburra seem to get along quite well. (Some may even go as far as to call them friends.) Sadly, the only reason why Crocness didn’t return for Season 2 was because Crocs (yes, the brand), sued the show for “stealing their idea”. Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds.
Finally, we have the fierce knight in glittery armour herself, Knightress. Knightress (Played by actress Gloria Onitri), is the fierce leader of the defenders. Ironically, considering her position, she plays much more fairly than most defenders, rest assured though, she does love taunting the attackers.
Knightress, much like Shaiden, is seen having a strange on-and-off relationship with fellow defender Throne. Sometimes they get along (Like in the episode “Talk to the barrel”). In which, gasp! They’re actually complimenting each other?! That’s the nicest thing any defender has done with a fellow defender ever. However, in the episode “Revenge of the nerds” it appears that they’ve reached a marital dispute as they argue about who gets to fire the splaty Splatzooka (as poor Crocness looks on in annoyance.)
Season 2 Defenders
Now, let’s have a quick look at Season 2. First off, we have Vane. Vane, played by actor Eric Johnston, is a lazy, food-obsessed archer who would rather take a nap on a cloud than actually defend the castle, often at the chagrin of the other defenders. Vane is generally considered the least-liked defender throughout the entire series, which is a little sad.
Regardless, one of the most notable things about Vane is that he is one of the only defenders who has managed to make fellow defender Throne smile (canonically anyway as I’m sure Elliot Francis is capable of smiling normally), by using a fake southern accent in the episode “Sleep Scotty”.
Next up is Faetal. Played by actress Nicole Power, Faetal is the family-friendly equivalent of a femme fatal. She’s an Amazon who loves to mess with attackers, however, unlike Balista, who uses her charm to woo male attackers, Faetal pretends to be friendly and sweet to attackers, before laughing at their failure.
One interesting fact about Faetal is that it is revealed in the episode “Two Drawbridges Up” that she is actually Gildar’s cousin. Now if only she could tell us why Gildar left the castle in the first place.
Finally, we have Madeva. Played by actress Alexia Khadime, she is the younger sister of Knightress and takes over as the leader of the defenders, she is very peppy and often loves giving out backhanded compliments to the attackers.
One moment that I distinctly remember is in the episode “Girls Vs Boys Splatdown” (please note this show was broadcast in 2016, don’t get your knickers in a twist here people), which depicted her quite literally pulling the splatzooka out of its place and using her own splat-gun to fire at the attackers instead in round 1, and proceeds to keep that splat-gun for the rest of the round. Staged or not, that was one pretty surprising moment.
The Seasoned Defenders
Get it? As in seasoned veterans? Okay, that was terrible I know. Anyways, now we move on to the three defenders who stayed on the longest.
Staring us off is the “bad boy” himself Thorne. As mentioned a few paragraphs ago, Throne is played by actor and twin brother of Grace Francis, Elliot Francis. Unlike his ninja sister, Throne is the exact opposite of calm. He’s a brash, British warrior who loves to think of himself as a “tough guy” (try saying that one to Skab why don’t you?) but in reality, Throne’s your stereotypical “Bad boy isn’t really bad boy”.
One of the highlights of this is in the episode “We are not alone” in which Throne helps one of the attackers up, only to receive a hug as a thank you. Aww. (But let’s be honest, that was probably just Elliot Francis being a nice dude.)
Next up. We have our favourite Australian kook. Kookaburra. Played by actor James Elmer, Kookaburra is an energetic, wacky, beat-of-my-own-drum kind of person. Or Kookaburra I suppose since he is supposed to be a Kookaburra.
He’ll often say or do random things that only really makes sense to him. One great example of this is in the episode “Sarthak: The Situation”, in which Kook decides the best course of action in order to fight against the attackers, is animated bird calls. Gotta love Kook.
Finally, last, but far from least. Is the main man himself, Allan Skabb Tonelli. Skabb, played to absolute perfection by Wendo Mhogolo, is a blood-thirsty barbarian. His violent and aggressive attitude has not only earned him the title of the Castle Bully but also the most dangerous defender this side of the kingdom.
Despite this, however, Skabb has been known to have a softer side. Fun fact, Skabb’s full name is revealed in the episode ironically called “Allan Skabb Tonelli” in which he left the final defence challenge out of embarrassment. Talk about soft sides indeed.
Minor Differences Between The Two Seasons
Oh yes, now I flex my Splatalot knowledge by word-vomiting out everything I happen to know.
So, one thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that between seasons, Skabb and Kookabura seem a little toned down. I’m unsure why this is, whether it was due to lost passion, the studio stepping in and trying to feed the actors more lines, or Wendo Mhogolo just wanting to save his voice from becoming completely extinct from the amount of screaming he used to do in the first season, both Kookaburra and Skabb seem far tamer than in the first season.
No more Kook bird calls or random laughing, or Skabb having a screaming match with an attacker. If anything, I feel most of the defenders feel less passion-filled. Even when Skabb was about to get thrown into the moat (something we’ll touch on later), he wasn’t screaming about it or even threatening the new king, he just accepted his fate and moved on with it.
Speaking of throwing people into the moat, in season 2, the new ruler of Splatalot is able to choose one defender to throw into the moat, often having the other defenders react in joy that it’s not them.
Another change is that the cast was downsized quite a bit in season two, going from nine defenders to six and the attackers decreased from twelve to ten. On top of this, both the second and third rounds were completely reworked, for better or for worse I would say is your opinion to make.
In conclusion, Splatalot was certainly a game show, that was certainly carried by the defenders. So my article isn’t nostalgia-fueled clickbait, take that pessimistic internet user!