Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Good night, Australia!" #YTT is back!

I had no idea Young Talent Time was coming back until, oh, about 4.30 last Friday afternoon. WHY DIDN'T I KNOW THIS???

When I was growing up, Sydney had all the other Aussie-made shows but in Melbourne, we had three of my childhood staples:

Hey! Hey! It's Saturday. Neighbours. But most beloved of all,

Young Talent Time.

I ADORED this show. I loved Johnny Young. I felt like I had a personal connection to each of the kids. When one would leave (Karen Knowles, you BROKE MY HEART........ it's ok, I forgive you already) and another would join, I'd warm to them eventually. I had my eighth birthday there and thought I was the luckiest girl on the planet when Tara Falconer invited me to her birthday party and I got to go again (it seemed the "done" thing to go to tapings of the show for birthday parties). It was the place to be. If you were a little kid with stars in her/his eyes. And you lived in Melbourne.

It finished in 1988. I can hardly believe it was that long ago. How can it be that it was never resurrected until now? But my goodness, what a resurrection.

I am going to admit right now, I am hopeful. So very, very hopeful. That this doesn't go down the chute too quickly. That there are no scandals, that there is no hard time made or had by any of the team or contestants. That people don't unduly bag it without first stopping to realise the gaping hole in wholesome children's entertainment these days.

Because I need this to work!

This show is vital. It is very much needed. Yes, there is a saturation of talent shows but they are so formulaic and rigid and narrow-focused. They smack of greed and almost unhealthy competition and materialism. They are not and will never be YTT.

Like looking into the past... The LGBB sits, riveted by the new show

After the show, they sang "All My Loving". I cried. Like a bit of a baby. In a flash, a warm blanket came over me. I remember being all rugged up in my 'jamies, towel-dried wet hair, fed. With my family, that was so often at war and fractured. Safe for a moment. I would sit there and allow myself to get pulled in to the TV. Tuning out all else except those twinkling studio stars behind them as Johnny Young sat and swayed while he sang my weekly goodnight song. To me.

Tonight, the LGBB was overcome at the very first notes of the song. She bundled up her little dog, Scraps, and jumped off the couch to come and cuddle up to me where I was stretched out on the floor, probably pulling a pose very much like the one I used to 25 years ago. I looked down at her and remembered the happy I used to feel. That childlike, nothing-can-beat-it, innocent Happy. She led me back to it in a split second. Because of that song. She was beaming from ear to ear, hugging me and her little dog so tight I almost had to ask her to tone it down a little. But I daren't, for I never wanted the moment to end.

It did, a few bars into the song. And she turned to me and begged, "Can I PLEEEEASE watch this again? Right now!"

So from me to you, Johnny Young.... You are on a winner. You always were. Genius! I saw the emotion in your face tonight and had to swallow past a sudden lump in my throat watching how happy you were. It was so good to see you. We love the new format. Don't go changin'!

And to you, young Robert. So-called Millsy. You did well, Grasshopper. I was pleasantly impressed and surprised. The Talent is strong in you. Use it wisely, because if you don't there is a legion of mothers out there who grew up on YTT and need you to get it right. For the sake of their littl'uns! We've glimpsed the legacy. Don't you be messying it up, boy-o. Y'hear?

Image credit

"Good night, Australia!"

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