Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hey Hey It’s Almost Saturday

I didn’t get to watch the return of “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” last night on Channel 9. It was on in the lving room, but unfortunately I was busy attending to some other matters which could not wait. Apparently what I missed was an entertaining and successful return to the screen by a show which had been a long running favourite for generations of Australians. Most of the familiar crew made an appearance, the old familiar segments were back, and the reassuring voice of John Blackman once again strung everything together for a couple of hours of good old fashioned entertainment.

It does seem a little odd to be watching a show called “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” on Wednesday night, but apparently in these bottom line driven times there just isn’t a big enough audience available on a Saturday night to justify the expense. That’s a real pity, because if you are stuck at home on a Saturday night there is pretty much nothing to watch, with the sole exception of the delectable Julia Zamiro on SBS, and possibly “Iron Chef” if you have a taste for that kind of thing. But mostly, Saturday night is a television wasteland, and has been ever since “Hey Hey” disappeared al those years ago.

The great thing about Hey Hey, and the reason why so many have welcomed it back to the screen now, is that it offers a genuinely family oriented viewing experience. It used to be the perfect Saturday evening ritual for young families which the entire family could enjoy after a big day attending the kids sporting activities, doing the yard work, and maybe having an afternoon barbie. But even the young adults who were heading out to the pubs and the nightclubs would keep an eye on Daryl and the crew while they got ready for their night out. It was a ritual which did as much to unify the nation as football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars. As such it represents a form of entertainment experience which has been sadly lacking for far too long.

There are plenty of other reasons to like “Hey Hey” too, such as the opportunity it provides for musicians and other entertainers to appear on television in front of a national audience. But, it still seems weird to have it on a Wednesday night, and especially to have it up against the premiere screening of the new World War Two drama “The Pacific” on Channel 7, anticipated to be one of the biggest events of the year. Although “The Pacific” started an hour later, it managed to attract an even bigger audience than “Hey Hey”. Personally, I would have programmed “Hey Hey” at 7.30 on Thursday night. That way Channel 9 could really give Matty Johns a run for his money with his new show over on Channel 7.

But I’m still struggling with this whole middle of the week thing. If only they would change the name to something that makes sense, like “Hey Hey It’s Almost Saturday”. Then I think I could relax and enjoy it, even if I would probably have to record the damn thing and watch it when I actually have some free time. That would be most likely on Saturday.

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