My Stars - The New Young Talent Time

23 January 2012
Like so many other Australian children of my generation, growing up there was pretty much nothing on Earth I wanted more than to be on Young Talent Time. To be a star on the all-signing, all-dancing, dreadful-joke telling, pineapple-costume wearing variety show that was a staple of Australian television through the 1970s and 1980s? Where do I sign up? The show sent my imagination into a spin. I sang, I danced, I begged my mother to make me a dress with a sequined bodice and bubble skirt. I wanted to be one of those kids so badly it hurt.

What child wouldn't want to dress like this? Courtesy News Mail.

Of course there were several obstacles in my way. For a start the show was filmed in Melbourne, and we lived in Sydney; I'd never received any form of singing or dancing training, despite my pleas (my father regarded spending money on children for anything that wasn't absolutely necessary as spoiling them); and most crucially, I had no talent whatsoever - my singing makes those around me cringe no matter how drunk they are, and my aspergery self has stubbornly resists all attempts at dance and physical training I've paid for as an adult in an attempt to recover the youthful dreams so cruelly snatched away.

Yet I had mixed feelings when I heard Channel Ten was reviving Young Talent Time. What would a YTT for the modern market look like - slick, soulless, constant admonitions to vote and download?  I sat down to watch the first episode last night - and was utterly transfixed. It was all there from the original - the cheesy dances running back and forth across the stage; going to the break on a refrain; the bizarre backdrops, in this case a projected band (I'm still waiting for the return of the puppets). And the kids were just terrific; I was particularly impressed by Michelle's voice and Tia's stage presence. It was a wonderful blend of the old and the new; a changing of the guard vibe that acknowledged the history of the show whilst allowing it to progress.  Of course, the show has it's detractors. Yes I know it's cheesier than a stack of ten discarded pizza boxes; I'm of a nostalgic frame of mind but if I weren't, Young Talent Time would be pretty much the last thing I'd want to watch.

Now, I believe I may have mentioned I have big dreams for BabyG. The return of YTT sent a fresh dream soaring. Okay, so I can never be a YTT team member - but my kid can be a YTT team member! My stars, how I would love that. The costumes, the songs, the glamour - except instead of having to stay modest about my achievements, I can boast endlessly about BabyG's achievements! Now I just need the bloody show to stay on the air for the 8 or so years it will take for BabyG to be trained, auditioned, and accepted as a team member. It needs to rate well. So watch the damn thing, or else you're destroying a little boy's dreams. (They are his dreams, even if he doesn't know it yet).


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