Daryl Somers

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Daryl Somers
Born Daryl Schulz
(1951-08-06) 6 August 1951 (age 62)
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Occupation Television host
Years active 1971 – 2010
Known for Hey Hey It's Saturday 1971 – 1999, 2009 – 2010
Dancing with the Stars 2004 – 2007
Awards 3 Gold Logies (1983, 1986, 1989)

Daryl Paul Somers OAM (born Daryl Schulz 6 August 1951 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia), is an triple award winning Gold Logie recipient, who is best known as an Australian television personality and musician. The son of a dairy farmer and a cabaret singer, Somers rose to national fame as the host of the long-running comedy-variety program Hey Hey It's Saturday and continued his television celebrity and status as host of the live performance program Dancing with the Stars.

Early life[edit]

Somers, who has an Irish Catholic heritage with a German background, was educated at Christian Brothers College, St. Kilda. A drummer, he joined a group playing music in the style of Herb Alpert which began under the name "Pasquale and his Mexican Rhythm." Under the name "Somerset", the group appeared on GTV-9's talent quest programme New Faces, winning their way to the finals, only to be beaten by John Williamson.[1]

Television career[edit]

The Hey Hey It's Saturday era (1971 – 1999)[edit]

Somers started professional TV work on 14 July 1971, taking over as the presenter of an afternoon children's program called Cartoon Corner, which was previously 'Skeeter's Cartoon Corner', hosted by James Kemsley (who went on to draw the famous Ginger Meggs comic strip for 23 years). Daryl's first words were, "Hi I'm Daryl Somers, Skeeter will no longer be with us and now it's time for a cartoon".

His audition consisted of him doing an impersonation of Mr Magoo.[2] Also present at these auditions was Ernie Carroll. Daryl was accepted and was duly paid $75 a week to do the show[2]

Later that year, on 9 October 1971, Hey Hey It's Saturday started. Somers at first co-hosted with footballer Peter McKenna but eight weeks later, his co-host became the pink hand-puppet Ossie Ostrich, who was operated by former In Melbourne Tonight staff writer Ernie Carroll. McKenna continued to appear on the show for some time.

Originally created as a Saturday morning children's cartoon show, the program gradually expanded in both size and scope. Soon, additional cast members joined, including booth announcer John Blackman, who also voiced many (unseen) characters, and, later, co-host Jacki MacDonald.

Album cover from the 1976 comedy release Keep Smiling with Daryl and Ossie.

The program's production crew also began to play a prominent role in the series, with sound-effects technician Murray Tregonning adding humorous sound-bites and sound effects from a huge bank of pre-recorded eight track cartridges, and personnel such as long-serving cameraman "Lucky Phil" Lambert making regular appearances.

Props assistant Ian "Krystal" Murray provided props, most famously the "Dicky Knee" character:

"I hit my knee on the desk one morning and said, 'Oh, I've got a dicky knee', and this voice immediately answered 'G'day' [...] A week later Krystal came up with this hairdressing polystyrene head with a wig on and wearing a school cap. It popped up in front of the desk and became a permanent character."[3]

Hey Hey was also notable for breaking the so-called fourth wall, often turning the cameras around to show what was happening in the studio and on many occasions (as portable cameras came into use) roaming at will through and outside the studios.

The series' distinctive brand of irreverent humour soon attracted a sizable adult audience and in 1984 it had become so popular that Nine made the unprecedented decision to move it to a 9:30 Saturday evening timeslot, and renamed Hey Hey It's Saturday Night. It remained on Saturday night for the rest of its run but moved to the 6:30 time-slot in 1985 and eventually also reverted to the name Hey Hey It's Saturday. At its height, Hey Hey It's Saturday was one of the most popular and consistently high-rating series in the history of Australian television, winning many awards including three Gold Logie awards for Somers.

Hey Hey screened for twenty eight years (1971–1999) on the Nine Network across Australia. It had by then become an institution, so there was considerable shock when the Nine Network announced that the series was to be axed at the end of 1999.

Family Feud and The Daryl Somers Show (1980–83)[edit]

In 1980 Daryl replaced Tony Barber on the quiz show Family Feud, and hosted the program for three years and 713 episodes. In June 1982, he was given his own night-time TV variety show — without Ossie — in the style of The Don Lane Show aptly named The Daryl Somers Show, which ran for 18 months. Somers still ran Hey, Hey during this time. All the hard work paid off with Daryl winning his first Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality on Australian TV in 1983.[4] Also in 1983, Somers was crowned King of Moomba with Edna Everage as his Court Jester.[5]

'Break' (2000 – 2003)[edit]

During the five years after the show's demise in December 1999, Daryl Somers rarely made public appearances, with the exception of a court appearance in 2001 to answer a drink driving charge (after which Somers admitted he was "...a bloody idiot" - a reference to a famous anti drunk driving advertising campaign of that time), and an appearance as a guest on the Network Ten program Rove Live.

Dancing with the Stars era (2004 – 2007)[edit]

In late 2004 Somers returned to the small screen when he made the move to sign with Nine's arch rival, the Seven Network, hosting Dancing with the Stars a live program where 10 celebrities compete each week in a dance competition.

On 30 November 2007 Somers announced that he would leave Dancing with the Stars. Somers was replaced by actor Daniel MacPherson who has been the host since season 8.

Return of Hey Hey It's Saturday (2009 – 2010)[edit]

Somers had another year off television duties in 2008.

There has been considerable interest in the reformation of "Hey Hey It's Saturday" in some capacity. ABC Radio Broken Hill interviewed Corrine Lawrence and Daryl Somers on 22 July 2009[6] in regards to the growing interest. Daryl has revealed the show's return is "not out of the question" and speculated that one or two reunion specials could be made in the near future.

A reunion special aired on 30 September 2009. It rated strongly, attracting 3.9+ million[7] viewers, although the second show generated international controversy because of a "blackface" Jackson 5 parody act (called The Jackson Jive) that appeared on the "Red Faces" segment.

With the success of the Reunion Specials in 2009, the show returned in 2010 as a regular series. The 2010 series had 20 episodes airing, with the first 13 episodes airing from April until July, with the remaining 7 episodes airing in October and November, all of which rated well.

There is no further comment from the Nine Network if the show is returning in 2014 or beyond. No new episodes were produced between 2011–13

List of TV programs[edit]

Logies[edit]

Somers has been a part of the Logies since his early days of television, either as host, winner or nominee. He has been host of them 5 times (1988, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998) and co-host in 2006.

Logies won:

  • Gold Logie - 3 times (1983, 1986 and 1989).
  • Most Popular Light Entertainment / Comedy Personality - once (1990)
  • Most Popular Light Entertainment Personality - 4 times (1993, 1995, 1996, 1997)
  • Most Popular Comedy Personality - once (1995)

Logies nominated:

  • Gold Logie - 12 times (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
  • Most Popular Light Entertainment Personality - once (1994)
  • Most Popular Comedy Personality - once (1997)

Personal life[edit]

Daryl Somers is a singer and drummer and is married to Julie da Costa, a former principal dancer with the Australian Ballet and is now a Director of The Australian Ballet Company.

Somers is a passionate supporter of the Geelong Football Club and is the Club's #1 ticket holder. Somers has a star on the Caloundra Walk of Stars.

Other work[edit]

Somers released an album on the Sony BMG label titled Songlines in 2005. The album contains covers of various music.[8]

In 2013, Somers was announced as part of the performing line-up of Harvest Rain Theatre Company's 2014 season, playing Nicely Nicely Johnson of Guys and Dolls.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stone, Gerald (2000). Compulsive Viewing. Melbourne: Penguin Books Australia Ltd. ISBN 0-14-029817-7. 
  2. ^ a b TV Week 19 October 1996. "Hey Hey it's 25" by Darren Devlyn, pages 76-77.
  3. ^ Stone, Gerald, op. cit., p. 432
  4. ^ "Hey Hey It's Saturday - Daryl Somers". Channel nine. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Craig Bellamy, Gordon Chisholm, Hilary Eriksen (17 February 2006) "Moomba: A festival for the people" PDF., www.melbourne.vic.gov.au, pp.17-22. photo p.19
  6. ^ ABC Radio Broken Hill interview featuring Corrine Lawrence, who started a Facebook page, "Bring Back Hey Hey It's Saturday" and Daryl Somers [1]
  7. ^ Hey Hey wins ratings showdown, By Michael Idato, 1 October 2009, theage.com.au
  8. ^ "Daryl Somers - Songlines CD". CD Universe. 
  9. ^ "Hey Hey it's Harvest Rain's first professional season". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2013-11-19. 

Other references[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Rowena Wallace
for Sons and Daughters
Gold Logie Award
Most Popular Personality on Australian Television

1986
for Hey Hey It's Saturday and Blankety Blanks
Succeeded by
Ray Martin
for Midday
Preceded by
Kylie Minogue
for Neighbours
Gold Logie Award
Most Popular Personality on Australian Television

1989
for Hey Hey It's Saturday
Succeeded by
Craig McLachlan
for Neighbours