Hey Hey

When we tuned into the first Hey Hey special last Wednesday, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It’s been ten years since the show ended, which seems like a long time, but most of the regulars from back then are still around.

I first watched Hey Hey when I was a kid, when it was shown on Saturday mornings. It could be quite absurdist, and they’d freely admit when there was no audience present, panning the camera around an empty studio while playing audience sound effects. When it switched to evenings, I kept watching, and I certainly recall tuning in most weeks into the mid-90s, though I don’t recall if I kept watching to the very end.

What we got in the reunion was, essentially, the same show as it was in the 90s. I got some laughs out of it, and was fairly unimpressed by the musical numbers, just like in the 90s. (For me the musical numbers, unless it’s a guest artist of particular interest, just punctuate the rest of the show.) Likewise it seems people who never liked it weren’t impressed this time round.

But what surprised me was that, after a little encouragement, the kids got hooked. We were all sitting in the motel room in Bendigo, and possibly due to the style of humour (never too clever or subtle) they were rivetted to the screen until we switched off at about 9:40 to get some shut-eye. The Disasterchef skit, Molly’s dog and Dicky Knee, and the Red Faces Vegemite kid all kept us laughing. As did the old Maurie Fields joke, though I’m not sure why they bothered to splice that old and new footage together to do it.

In perhaps a similar way to the successful resurrection of Doctor Who (which is BBC1’s second-highest-rating programme), it would appear that “family entertainment” is a demographic that TV networks would do well to try and target more often — the Hey Hey special got more than 3 million people tuning in across the nation. (Note some media said 2.1 million — apparently this is capital cities only.)

Since we missed the end of the show, I hoped to set the VCR for Saturday’s repeat, but it was pulled at the last minute. No matter, we’ll be tuning in to the second special tonight. It’ll be interesting to see if the cast can maintain the momentum, and whether the huge audience numbers are sustained. If they can, and they are, then surely Channel 9 would have to seriously consider bringing back the show for a full season.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Hey Hey”

Was interesting to read in The Hun this week that 7 is thinking of putting on a Hey Hey style show with Grant Denyer as host, to capture the ‘family entertainment’ demographic…yet they knocked back Daryl Somers when he pitched the same thing to them when he was hosting Dancing With the Satellites.

Hey Hey was cool – but Daryl does have a tendency to… labour his points sometimes… and he always stuffs up celebrity head by giving away to much.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Daryl – know a lot of people don’t, but I do – but at times, he’s like an annoying friend… he has those annoying traits which irritate you, but you put up with them because he’s a mate.

I’d love to see Hey Hey back – but it’s always the sort of show you have in the background – it doesn’t require your full attention (and if you give it, you might get bored – eg, the aforementioned musical acts). I’d agree we need more of the family demo – I’m tired of the vindictiveness of reality tv (not to mention the lameness). I think it was a mistake for Ch9 to axe Hey Hey way back when, because even though the imported series are the ratings winners – giving best “bang for buck” to the networks – it’s these local light entertainment shows that give the station it’s “personality”… I think when Ch9 stopped focusing on this personality, they lost ratings… something Ch7 realised.

The worst mistake that Channel Nine could do is to resurrect “Hey Hey”. It’s a relic of a bygone era.

Having said that, I think that this shows that what we really need is something LIKE “Hey Hey”. We need entertainment for the whole family rather than specific demographics. We need variety shows to counter the over-saturation of “reality” shows. We could do worse than put Daryl Somers at the helm of such a show, because we know it’s what he does best.

But I don’t think we really don’t want “Hey Hey” back any more than the audience of the 1990s really wanted “In Melbourne Tonight” back. What we all really want is the modern equivalent.

i agree with some of the comments here about the music being lame and the risk of killing the idea off like IMT, but I have to say I watched and enjoyed the show (shame about Darryl pulling the pin on the replay!!). Something is seriously wrong with TV these days considering I used to watch a lot when I was younger but now find myself watching very little.

Shows tyhat were entertaining like Hey Hey gave way to a glut of boring lifestyle and travel shows in the 90’s (Honestly, can anyone tell me how many re-branded ‘Australia’ specials have Getaway done over the years??) Unfortunately this decade things became worse as they gave us relaity rubbish …Big Brother … The Apprentice … The Biggest Loser (anyone who obsesses over reality I guess)

As Andrew V often states to me, the networks often complain they are losing audience to pay TV and downloads, but they fail to see they are killing themselves with the rubbish on offer!!

I taped the show, which you are of course welcome to borrow. However, the entire show is on Youtube. Just search for “Hey Hey Its Saturday Reunion Show Part” (there are 14 parts).

my freaking goodness i LOVED hay hay when i was a kid! but sadly my wednesday nights are already in high demand so i was very bummed when they cancelled the saturday replay.

im in agreeance that TV nowadays is ridiculous! i rarely watch anything on tv but have started purchasing tv series that i like on DVD such as mother & son, vicar of dibley, the mighty boosh, keeping up appearances, mostly ABC shows.


This is completely off topic but I just woke up from having dreamt that you and I were on a bus and that you were talking to the female conductor about something to do with public transport. You got off at a bus stop and only once the bus started up again did I realise that that was the stop for Westall station. So I had to get off at the next stop and walk back. Apart from the bus conductor, another weird thing in the dream was that the road after the station went down hill and that the area looked a lot more like St Kilda than Westall. I was surprised when I realised that, even though I have been living in Europe for about ten years, I did remember in my dream to have the traffic moving on the left hand side of the road.

I was a bit skeptical about the reunion, considering I watched this show religiously back in the 90s! I thought it’d be quite daggy, but to my surprise, the episode was excellent! Exactly as it was when it ended! It reminded me of what I had missed for 10 years! With regards to it being a permanent return- I would rather it be a half-yearly thing- as great as it was back then, it would be out of place now!
What Andrew S says is true- TV networks blame everyone else for their misfortunes, but if they only treated their audience with some decency- they’d be rating by the bucketload! I’ve had enough Two and a Half men, or 2 trillion and 3/4 Men by now, and I don’t care about the Australian Beauty and the Geek! Though John Safran’s new show sure looks interesting:
One imagines that sort of thing happening at the offices of the New York Times and MSNBC!
After the success of Hey Hey, maybe we’ll resurrect some other classics- It’s a Knockout, The Main Event, and best of all- Keynotes!!

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