Hey Hey It's Saturday

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Hey Hey It's Saturday
New Hey Hey It's Saturday Logo.png
2010 Hey Hey It's Saturday logo
Directed byPeter Ots
Ray Punjer
Scott Duncan
Andrew Cooper
Presented byDaryl Somers
John Blackman
Andrew Fyfe
Russell Gilbert
Livinia Nixon
Ossie Ostrich
Plucka Duck
Dickie Knee
Red Symons
Wilbur Wilde
Molly Meldrum
Jacki MacDonald
John-Michael Howson
JudgesRed Symons
(Red Faces segment)
Voices ofJohn Blackman
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons29 (1971–1977, 1979–1999, 2009–2010, 2021, 2022)
No. of episodes500+
Executive producersDaryl Somers
Gavan Disney
ProducersBob Phillips
Pam Barnes
Jenny Parr
Jim Burnett
Ernie Carroll
Production locationsGTV Richmond, Victoria (1971–1999, 2009–2010)
Camera setupMultiple-camera setup
Running time3 hrs (1971–83)
2 hrs (1984–99, 2009–10)
(including commercials)[1]
Production companiesSomers Carroll Productions
United Media Productions
DAS Entertainment
Original networkNine Network (1971–1999, 2009, 2010)
Seven Network (2021, 2022)
Picture formatPAL (1971–99)
DVB-T 576i (2009–2010), (2021)
Audio formatMono (1971–1984)
Stereo (1984–1999, 2009–2010)
Original release9 October 1971 (1971-10-09) –
20 November 1999 (1999-11-20) (first run)
30 September and 7 October 2009 (reunion specials)
14 April 2010 – 27 November 2010 (second run)
10 October 2021 and 17 April 2022 (anniversary specials)

Hey Hey It's Saturday was a long-running variety television program on Australian television. It initially ran for 28 years on the Nine Network from 9 October 1971 to 20 November 1999, with a recess in 1978. Its host throughout its entire run was Daryl Somers, who later also became executive producer of the program. The original producer, Gavan Disney, left the program in the 1980s, and Somers then jointly formed his own production company, Somers Carroll Productions, with comedy writer and on-screen partner Ernie Carroll, the performer of Somers' pink ostrich puppet sidekick Ossie Ostrich.

On 25 July 2009, the Nine Network announced the show would return for two reunion specials in late 2009 and hinted if they rated strongly, the show could return full-time.[2] The first reunion show aired on 30 September 2009, and the second on 7 October, and both won the ratings on their respective nights. However, the reunion also received negative international attention for a segment featuring performers in blackface.[3]

On 7 December 2009, it was announced that the show was planned to return in 2010 with 20 episodes.[4] Broadcast of the 20 episodes were split into two groups with a break between them, with the revival premiering on Wednesday 14 April 2010. The second group was broadcast on Saturday nights from 16 October 2010 with the season finale on 27 November 2010. Due to falling ratings and high production costs, the show was not renewed for a new season in 2011.[5]

A 50th anniversary special, Hey Hey It's 50 Years, aired on the Seven Network on 10 October 2021, which is 50 years and one day after the show debuted.[6][7]



Premiering on 9 October 1971,[8] Hey Hey It's Saturday was a Saturday morning children's program in which Somers and Carroll provided "top and tail" segments between cartoon episodes. Due to the freedom afforded by its low-priority timeslot, the team was able to develop the comedic aspects of the show and the cartoon segments were eventually phased-out in favour of the live performances.

The constant ad-libbing (often laced with double entendre) of the presenters, including voice-over man John Blackman, soon attracted a cult following among younger and older viewers alike. The show's style was variously influenced by vaudeville, the American Tonight Show format, the Marx Brothers, The Goon Show and Monty Python. Somers was also strongly influenced by comedy duo Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton, and it is significant that Carroll wrote for In Melbourne Tonight (IMT) for many years.

Through the early 1970s, as its ratings grew and its meagre budget was increased, Hey Hey evolved into a freewheeling live light entertainment / comedy variety program. Regular segments included "What Cheeses Me Off" (which aired viewer complaints on virtually any subject), "Media Watch Press" (to which viewers contributed humorous newspaper misprints, almost invariably smutty),[9] "Red Faces" (a New FacesGong Show-style talent competition) and "Chook Lotto", a parody of variety show barrel competitions, in which the numbers in a farcical lotto game were chosen using numbered frozen chickens spun in a large wire cage. The team also performed live revue-style send-ups of current TV shows such as The Sullivans, or chaotic parodies of soap operas, police shows and other popular TV genres. Like Kennedy's, the humour was of the wink-wink, nudge-nudge variety—viewers became accustomed to Blackman's voice-over snigger—and the satire was broad and skit-level rather than sharp and disturbing. The show aimed to please its lower-middle-class demographic and succeeded well.

Like IMT, the earliest years of Hey Hey were marked by a similar "anything can happen" attitude, with sketches and improvisations stretched to the point of absurdity or terminated without warning. Sponsors were also laid open to some gentle ridicule, and live "reads" of sponsor advertising often became part of the comedy—a device that Graham Kennedy had first made famous on his radio show. Hey Hey also broke the "fourth wall", frequently turning the cameras around, taking viewers behind the scenes into every area of the studio, out to the studio pool and even beyond the building. Many of the crew (e.g. floor manager Phillip Lambert) effectively became the de facto supporting cast, either as themselves or as occasional extras in regular segments. During this formative period there was no studio audience, although this later became an integral part of the show. Carroll also occasionally stepped out from behind Ozzie to perform in sketches or as a character, although he usually disguised his voice and/or appearance.

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

The rapid-fire comedic interplay between Somers, Carroll, Blackman and audio operator Murray Tregonning was central to the show's success. Blackman kept up a near-constant stream of jokes and remarks, and he also provided the voice of the show's many invented characters; some were merely voiced, while others were seen in various forms, including "Mrs McGillicuddy" (a stock photo of a toothless old woman); "Angel" (a Barbie doll dressed as an angel and chroma keyed into the scene); "Norman Neumann" (pronounced /ˈnɔɪmən/ NOY-mən, like the manufacturer), a talking Neumann boom microphone; "The Man From Jupiter"; and the character that became an icon of the show, cheeky "schoolboy" Dickie Knee (a ball with a school baseball cap and long black-haired wig, stuck on a stick), who would pop up in front of Daryl (operated by a stagehand) and make rude remarks. Meanwhile, Tregonning was renowned for his remarkable ability to select and play appropriate sound effects at a second's notice, and his humorous audio punctuations became another trademark of the series. This was long before the introduction of digital sound recording and digital samplers, and all Tregonning's sound effects were played from a huge collection of tape cartridges.

The program went into recess in 1978 when Daryl and Ossie took the bold step of leaving the Nine Network for the rival 0–10 Network to present a primetime show featuring 'comedy, audience participation and novelty games', simply titled The Daryl and Ossie Show. Betty Bobbitt and Monique Daams were co-hosts.[10] Only forty episodes were aired between September and November 1978. Daryl and Ossie then went back to Nine, and Hey Hey It's Saturday returned to air in 1979. The show continued its evolution, beginning with recruitment of popular Queensland TV presenter Jacki MacDonald as a co-host on its return to Nine in 1979.

Move to primetime[edit]

In 1984, the Nine Network moved the show from its morning timeslot to a primetime slot on Saturday nights, and it was briefly renamed Hey Hey It's Saturday Night before reverting to its original name. During this time, Hey Hey also became one of the most important TV venues for both local and international music, film and TV stars. Many visiting overseas stars including actor Sylvester Stallone, singer Tom Jones, musician Stevie Ray Vaughan, and professional wrestler André the Giant were impressed by the program's zany style (and its wide appeal) and made return appearances on subsequent visits. During its peak years, backed by the full resources of Nine and assisted by the rapid improvement in satellite communication, Hey Hey regularly travelled to locations all over Australia and even overseas for live broadcasts.

In 1984, in a world first, reformed Aussie 1970s rock band Skyhooks appeared on the same night live from their concert at Sydney's Olympic Park, where they were performing in front of 26,000 people with Daryl and Ossie appearing with them on a giant screen above the stage. The band traded quips with the Hey Hey crew in between performing some of their biggest hits. Red Symons landed his Hey Hey gig as a result of the success of this appearance.[citation needed]

The show enjoyed strong ratings and maintained a dedicated following throughout the Eighties, and became a "must watch" program for a generation of viewers, with its popularity augmented by the stellar guest lineup and regular musical performances. Other personalities gradually came on board, including ex-Skyhooks guitarist Red Symons, who not only played in the show's house band, but was also infamous for his withering sarcasm and as a judge on the "talent" segment Red Faces. Another noted Australian rock musician who became a long serving cast member was saxophonist Wilbur Wilde, who had previously played in Australian bands Ol' 55 and Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons. The regular cast was further expanded by the addition of former Countdown host Ian "Molly" Meldrum, comedian and ex-The Comedy Company star Russell Gilbert, actor and comedian Maurie Fields, and ex-The Curiosity Show presenter, Dr Deane Hutton.

Hey Hey retained its loyal following well into the 1990s—at one point between 1992 and 1994 also screening on TVNZ in primetime, before being moved to late Saturday nights—but Ernie Carroll decided to retire in 1994, taking Ossie Ostrich with him. Other characters, including "Plucka Duck", were brought in prior to his retirement to partially fill the void left by Carroll's departure. In the late 1980s, a cartoonist, Andrew Fyfe, was added to the team, offering visual gags similar to Blackman and Tregonning's audio contributions. In 1992, Fyfe started his own children's game show on Nine called GuessWhat?. On this show, he drew picture puzzles in front of two teams of children. A number of Somers–Carroll-produced "Red Faces" and Best of Hey Hey specials screened and were rescreened with high ratings for their timeslots. The show also had a lane named after it near its studios.

In 1998, Russell Gilbert got his own Somers–Carroll sketch comedy show on Nine, The Russell Gilbert Show, which lasted a year. Also in that year, Hey Hey went full circle and became a Saturday morning kids TV show again, in the form of a separate show called Plucka's Place. This was hosted by Plucka Duck and Livinia Nixon. Livinia soon went on to co-host the main show. A wide range of Plucka merchandise was released to complement the new program.

First cancellation[edit]

Nine Network executives decided toward the end of 1999 to cancel Hey Hey It's Saturday. Nine cited various reasons for the axing, including a dip in ratings, an ageing audience and a need to cut costs at the network; however, the program still attracted an average of 1.2 million viewers.[11] Somers had also claimed that he wanted to take the program into a new direction after the departure of Carroll, but the budget to redevelop the show was deemed excessive. The final episode ran for 240 minutes, an hour longer than was scheduled. After a break of a few years, Somers moved on to host Dancing with the Stars on the Seven Network in 2004.

Nine re-aired the Hey Hey By Request specials in 2005 and June 2006. Also, on Nine's quiz show Temptation, Hey Hey's Wilbur Wilde and John Blackman appeared in May 2006 as part of Temptation's Logies Superchallenge, and both represented the show. Dickie Knee also made a brief appearance.

In October 2006, the Seven Network began airing old Red Faces segments as a part of a show called The Best and Worst of Red Faces, which had originally screened on the Nine Network in the 1990s.

In June 2007, Daryl Somers received funding from the Seven Network to produce a pilot for a new Saturday Night format.[12]

During the 2008 Logies ceremony, Daryl Somers presented an award for the "Most Outstanding Children's Program". Prior to announcing the winner of the award, Somers did a skit with Dickie Knee and Plucka Duck.

Reunions and revival[edit]

Since the show's initial demise in 1999, there has been considerable interest in the reformation of Hey Hey It's Saturday in some capacity. A Facebook group created by Corrine Lawrence of Broken Hill, was set up to garner support for a return. In mid-July, the Herald Sun ran a story on the campaign, which was subsequently picked up by other media outlets, including the Nine Network itself. Membership of the group skyrocketed as a result, going from 10,000 members to 32,000 members by 22 July 2009. By July 2010 membership exceeded 488,000. ABC Radio Broken Hill interviewed Lawrence and Somers on 22 July 2009 in regard to the growing interest.[13]

It was reported on 24 July 2009 that Daryl Somers and the Nine Network had agreed to a deal for two specials to air in late 2009 after lengthy negotiations and, if the shows rate well, the two will negotiate the return of the show to its original format.[14]

The specials were a mix of old and new content. Graeme Trippett joined Daryl Somers as co-executive producer. The first reunion special aired on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 and was a ratings success.[15] It attracted a peak audience of 2.64 million viewers and an average audience of 2.169 million people, and beat the debut of Celebrity MasterChef Australia which had a peak audience of 1.92 million viewers and an average audience of 1.36 million.[16] It gave Nine a 40% share of the ratings for that day, topping all other television stations by a massive 20%; it also ranked Number 1 as the highest rating show for that week. The second special aired on 7 October and attracted 300,000 viewers more. The second reunion special once again topped the ratings for that week with an average of 2.3 million viewers, giving Nine its highest share of 2009 at 43.3%. However, it also drew international reaction for the Red Faces segment "The Jackson Jive" (see below), consisting of a Michael Jackson impersonator and five backup dancers in blackface.[3]

Following the success of the 2009 reunion specials, the show returned in 2010 after a deal was signed for at least 20 new episodes. The show was set to air on Wednesday nights but retain the title Hey Hey It's Saturday with Daryl Somers returning as host. Ian "Molly" Meldrum had recently signed a deal with Channel 7, excluding him from the line-up. Red Symons was part of the lineup, after his decision to leave Australia's Got Talent on Channel 7.[17] The show returned on 14 April 2010 with over 1.5 million viewers across the five major cities.[18]

Second cancellation[edit]

Despite the initially respectable viewership numbers, ratings steadily dropped after the premiere episode of the new series; in the wake of this, on the 7 July 2010 episode, Somers announced on-air that the current run of episodes would conclude on 21 July 2010 and that Hey Hey It's Saturday would be returning for a seven-episode run in October 2010 and be moved back to its original Saturday night timeslot.[19] The second group of episodes started airing from 16 October 2010, with the season finale on 27 November 2010. However, although still somewhat popular in Melbourne, the ratings of the show nationally were not good enough for Nine to justify the expense of its production, leading to the second cancellation of the show.[5]

In early 2012, Somers announced that Somers Carroll Productions had approached other commercial networks in hope for Hey Hey's return but were unsuccessful despite their best efforts.[20] It was also reported that Somers Carroll Productions were also looking into putting on a live stage version of the show in ticketed venues around the country instead.[21]

Beginning in 2014, Somers Carroll Productions started releasing full episodes and highlights videos of the show from year to year on their official website, http://heyhey.tv. The site charges a fee of $6.95 a month to view full episodes from 1977 to 2010, and also features a four-part holiday special from 1974. Much of the early years of the show were not retained by GTV-9 and so are not available on the site or for DVD release. However, home recordings of some material have been included in retrospectives.

In December 2015, Somers announced that he was still in talks regarding Hey Hey returning "whether it be one or two shows or whatever" in a Christmas video message uploaded to YouTube.[22] Prior to Somers' television return in 2016 as host of You're Back in the Room, he also revealed that the Nine Network had approached Somers Carroll Productions for talks regarding a possible return of Hey Hey.[23]

50th anniversary specials[edit]

In August 2021 it was reported that Somers had put out a call on social media for ideas for segments to be filmed for a 50th anniversary special that would air in future, with some segments already having been shot with the participation of key cast members.[24] It was later confirmed that the Seven Network would air the special, titled Hey Hey It's 50 Years, after Channel Nine revealed that it rejected Somers' pitch for the celebration.[25][6] The 90-minute special aired on 10 October 2021, which is 50 years and one day after the show debuted.[7] It drew in 1.2 million viewers.[26]

The success of the anniversary special led to Seven commissioning a second special titled Hey Hey It's 100 Years, which aired in Melbourne and Adelaide on 17 April 2022 and elsewhere in Australia on 24 April 2022.[27] Seven also commissioned two Red Faces specials—The Best of The Best and Worst of Red Faces and The Very Best of the Best and Worst of Red Faces—which were broadcast in July 2022.[28]



Presenter Role Duration
Daryl Somers Host 1971–99, 2009–10


Presenter Role Duration
Peter McKenna Co-host 1971 (First 8 weeks)
Ernie Carroll Ossie Ostrich (Co-host) 1971–94, 2009–10
Jacki MacDonald Co-host 1979–89, 2009, 2010
Denise Drysdale Co-host 1989–90, 2009
Jo Beth Taylor Co-host 1996–97, 1999, 2009, 2010
Livinia Nixon Co-host 1997–99, 2009–10

Other regulars[edit]

Presenter Role Duration
Red Symons Red Faces host & guitarist 1980–99, 2009–10
John Blackman Voice-overs 1971–99, 2009–10
Wilbur Wilde Saxophonist 1984–99, 2009–10
Russell Gilbert Comedian & audience warm up 1990–99, 2009–10
Trevor Marmalade Live reporter 1991–99, 2009–10
Molly Meldrum Molly's Melodrama host 1987–99, 2009
Andrew Fyfe Cartoonist 1982–99, 2009–10
Plucka Duck Pluck-a-duck host 1990–99, 2009–10
Penne Dennison Entertainment reporter 1998–99, 2009–10
Danny Clayton Music 2010
Daryl McKenzie Musical Director 1992–99, 2009


  • Denise returned to guest host in 1994.
  • Molly appeared in a 2010 episode via archived footage.


The show became a showcase for comedy and music which was reflected in the show's segments:

Red Faces[edit]

"Red Faces" is a segment in which three (sometimes four) amateur performers or groups would present their routine (which was usually singing, dancing, comedy or something utterly bizarre) before a panel of judges. The segment and its name were a parody of the serious talent quest program New Faces coupled with a gong as in The Gong Show. The panel consisted of Hey Hey's resident band's guitar player Red Symons along with two of the show's guests from that week.

Normally contestants would be gonged by Red Symons well before they finished their performance. Each contestant was then given a score out of 10 by each of the judges. For most acts, Red, always the last to give his score, would usually give his trademark score of 2 along with a pithy and acidic comment. Other times he would give high scores when the performance really was particularly good (or poor)—on several occasions he declared a performance the winning one, even if the others had not been done yet. The winning contestant received a $500 cash prize, second received $250 and third received $100. In the final years, the prizes were doubled and were sponsored by McDonald's restaurant chain. In the 2010 revival of the show, first would receive $2000, second received $1000 and third received $500, initially sponsored by Hungry Jack's but later changed to MyFun.

Some, but not many, contestants found fame after appearing on "Red Faces". One group of friends known as The Music Men performed their own rendition of I Am the Music Man, and were later hired to perform in a beer commercial as a result. Jason Stephens, a comedian who appeared on The Late Show, had his start on Red Faces impersonating a penguin. The Melbourne-based musical comedy trio Tripod also performed a satirical medley of Oasis songs on the show in their very early years. Cate Blanchett also appeared on Red Faces in the late 80s, at the age of 17.[29] "Red Faces" faced its oldest contestant, 96-year-old Dorothy Hayter, in the 80s and Red Faces had its youngest contestant, Kaitlin Elizabeth Millgate (4 months old) on 27 August 1994.

Chook Lotto[edit]

A longstanding game show segment, "Chook Lotto" (or Chooklotto) involved a large barrel of numbered frozen chickens, or "chooks", and was a parody of Tattslotto, one of the National Lottery Draws of Australia. This segment ran from 1984, was rested in 1985, then returned in 1986 and went till the end of 1988. Daryl and Jackie McDonald would draw out 4 chickens numbered from 10 to 19. The home viewer would send in their entry and have to circle one of those numbers as a "Super 69" number. Then another cast member would enter the numbers into a computer (Originally an Atari 800XL, later an Olivetti Model) and whoever had those numbers would be the winner. Then Daryl would return to the desk and use the Super 69 number on ten paper eggs which had the same numbers as the chickens drawn out. Each of them held a prize. The main prize was a car from Ken Morgan Toyota; or, if the prize card had stars on it, they would win every prize inside the other eggs. This segment was eventually replaced by Plucka Duck (Pluck-a-duck); however, Chook Lotto returned in the 2010 revival of the show, with viewers invited to go to the show's website and select four numbers as well as a supplementary number. Due to gambling laws in Australia, when Hey Hey was revived in 2009, the game was called "Fake Chook Lotto", and contestants played for no prize whatsoever; however, once the legalities were sorted out, real prizes were offered in 2010.

The chickens were provided by Inghams Enterprises, and all 210 finalists would receive a voucher for a free chicken.

Plucka Duck[edit]

"Plucka Duck", (at first Pluck-a-duck) was the replacement for Chook Lotto, and was responsible for creating the show's character of the same name. Contestants would spin a numbered wheel with each number corresponding to a prize. After the spin, the contestant was allowed to either elect to keep their prize, or have another go by "plucking a duck".

An important ingredient of the segment was Wilbur Wilde singing the Plucka Duck theme song to the tune of Roger Miller's Chug-a-Lug:

"Plucka Duck, Plucka Duck,
He's not a chicken or a cow,
Plucka Duck, that's him right now!"

Many different versions of the theme song were used over time, based on a number of different tunes and adjusted lyrics, such as "Excuse me while I kiss this duck", spoofing the Jimi Hendrix song "Purple Haze". (In the reunion shows and 2010 seasons 1 & 2, Livinia Nixon joined in as well)

If the contestant elected to pluck a duck, the character Plucka Duck—a man in a duck costume—appeared and contestants plucked a feather from his tail. Each feather had a number concealed on it which corresponded to a prize, and that would be the prize won.

This was later changed. In the subsequent version of the contest a large mechanical contraption resemblant of a merry-go-round powered by a bicycle—usually ridden by Plucka himself—would be wheeled on. The contestant would have to pick a soft-toy duck (later created in Plucka's image) from the spinning wheel, which would have a number hidden under its vest. This number, as with the wheel, corresponded with a prize.

On one occasion a contestant spun the wheel and landed the peg between the wheel's highest prize (a car) and that of a lesser prize. The show was interrupted by a phone call from the head of the Nine Network, Kerry Packer, who directed Somers to "Give her the car."

Plucka Duck would often have a female presenter performing alongside him. One of his presenters in the early 1990s was Melissa Hannan who was a popular TV personality at the time, daughter of Jimmy Hannan. Plucka Duck's most recent female presenter was Suze Raymond, who was host of Channel Nine's music video program Eclipse Music TV.

Molly's Melodrama[edit]

The former talent co-ordinator/interviewer of Australian Television's Countdown, Ian "Molly" Meldrum hosted a segment titled "Molly's Melodrama". This segment was similar to Countdown's Humdrum segment where Molly would review local and international music as well as interview the famous and infamous faces of the musical scene. However, in true Hey Hey fashion, Molly's segment was often taken over by other cast members (Dickie Knee in particular) who often performed cruel and painful pranks on Meldrum.

Prior to Molly Meldrum, the music review segment featured Gavin Wood, former Countdown voice-over man, with his segments frequently punctuated with practical jokes targeting him.

Ad Nauseam[edit]

A quiz where contestants, which usually were either studio audience members or Hey Hey guests, would answer questions based on television commercials.

Beat It[edit]

Similar to Ad Nauseam, this was a music quiz. The segment's title was taken from the Michael Jackson song of the same name, which was played by the house band at the beginning of each installment.

Lost for Words[edit]

A game show style segment where a number of celebrities would be asked to name a word that started with the last letter of the previous word.

Magic Word[edit]

An audience member would be brought onto the stage and presented with an unusual word. Various Hey Hey crew members (usually Dickie, Red or Russell) would each give the member a possible meaning of the word, one of which was the word's actual meaning. If that person correctly guessed whose meaning was the right one, that person would win a prize.


A parody of Mastermind, where contestants were strapped to a chair and had to answer a maximum of 6 questions. If that contestant got three questions wrong, he or she got "slimed".

Media Watch[edit]

The Media Watch segment displayed humorous errors from TV and newspapers, generally sent in by the viewers. As the segment became more popular, it was split into "Media Watch Press" and "Media Watch TV".

After the end of HHIS, the concept used in "Media Watch" and "Phunny Fotos" was replicated in the What The? segment on Rove Live. A similar segment appears on the U.S. TV program Late Show with David Letterman under the name Small Town News.

The Great Aussie Joke[edit]

The hosts of this segment were Shane Bourne and Maurie Fields. This segment was also featured on the first reunion show, which was fifteen years after Maurie's death, with Maurie being superimposed into the set, and doing the joke with son Marty.

The Nixon Tapes[edit]

This segment, which appeared during Livinia Nixon's time on the show, featured footage from movies or TV shows sent in by viewers, which contained a mistake or blooper of some sort (such as a production error). Audience members had to guess what the mistake was.

Celebrity Head[edit]

In this segment, three contestants would have the name of a celebrity placed on top of their heads where they could not see them. Using a series of questions which could only be answered with either "yes" or "no", the contestants had to try to guess who their celebrity was. The name, like many other parts of the show, was joked upon for its double entendre. As one of the most popular games on Hey Hey, "Celebrity Head" was adapted into a board game and retains casual interest.


Spoofs of other programs were a regular feature in the early years. This began with caustic voice-overs of old TV shows, (comparable to the much later American program Mystery Science Theater 3000 and similar to other Australian comedy efforts including the "Europa Films" segments of The Aunty Jack Show and the 1980s live comedy team Double Take). Later, this expanded into ongoing comedy sketches such as Division Saturday (a parody of Division 4), The Sillivans (The Sullivans) and The Shove Boat (The Love Boat).

The rural radio station 2QN Radio Deniliquin was satirised until official complaints were received, leading to a change over to 2KW Upper Kumbukta West, a fictional country town that was also home to the "Mrs Mac" character. The fictitious country of 'Biddleonia' was created as a new home for Irish jokes etc., so as not to offend any actual minorities.

Ian Buckland appeared and also performed in sketches including a satire called "The World's Worst Magician". These segments spawned merchandise in the form of magic kits and products.

In each of the two reunion shows, there was a "DisasterChef" segment—a spoof of MasterChef Australia.

In 2010, Hey Hey spoofed many commercials with Trevor and Russell in them.

Cultural impact[edit]

Other Australian sketch comedy programs have satirised the show at one point or another, including The Comedy Company when it was parodied as Ho Hum It's Saturday and Mad magazine which did a parody with the same title. The 1997 comedy film The Castle memorably portrayed the program as the Kerrigan family's second-favourite television show (with their favourite show being "The Best of Hey Hey It's Saturday").

Use of terminology from the show spawned controversy during a Test cricket match between Australia and South Africa in Melbourne in December 2005. Australian bowler Shane Warne referred to South African batsman Makhaya Ntini, who was batting with an injured knee, as "John Blackman". Warne was claiming that Ntini was controlling his "dicky knee" just like Blackman "controlled" Dickie Knee on the show. But Ntini, a Bantu, interpreted the remark as a racist jibe, and a minor controversy occurred. Eventually Australian captain Ricky Ponting explained the situation to South African captain Graeme Smith. Blackman himself had in fact visited the Australian team's dressing rooms not long before the incident occurred.[30]

A number of musical guests have written tribute songs to the show, including one by Ricky May.


Despite the ongoing popularity of Hey Hey with viewers during its first incarnation, by the late 1990s some television critics considered the show to be corny and had become "a tired old fossil".[11] Although the 21st-century incarnation of the show also initially rated highly, the show came under renewed criticism for being backward and culturally insensitive.[31] In retrospect, its outlook and many of its jokes are now considered by some commentators to be racist, sexist, and homophobic.[31][32][24][33] The international controversy surrounding the Jackson Jive sketch on "Red Faces" led to the show being derided as "old fashioned, out of touch, stale, [and] misguided".[34] In 2021, Somers stated that he believed that some of the content that aired on the show in the past would not be acceptable today due to “political correctness and the cancel culture”; his remarks faced additional criticism.[24]

Singer and frequent guest Kamahl has stated that his ethnicity and background were often the butt of jokes during his appearances on the show, likening his treatment to being humiliated.[35] A rebuke by John Blackman to Kamahl's claims received backlash on social media.[36] In April 2021, Somers wrote a lengthy apology to Kamahl and to those who found the show's content offensive.[37] Kamahl unreservedly accepted Somers' apology.[38]

The Jackson Jive[edit]

International controversy was caused by an act during the "Red Faces" segment during the second reunion special on 7 October 2009 called "the Jackson Jive".[39] The sketch featured six performers: five dressed as the Jackson Five in matching blackface outfits and wearing large afro wigs, with their teeth made extremely white;[40] and one as an adult Michael Jackson, his face painted white, with Jackson's portrayal being performed by a man of Indian heritage.[41] They sang the Jackson Five's hit "Can You Feel It" in a jive style.[42][43] During the act, a cutaway showed a caricature of Kamahl with a caption reading "Where's Kamahl?".[39] Red Symons eventually gonged the act off.

The group had performed the same act in "Red Faces" in 1989, without incident, during Hey Hey's original run.[44] This was not the only act to do blackface on the show — a woman using the alias of Mammy Smith (a reference to Mamie Smith) wore blackface to do a cover of George Gershwin's "Summertime" in a 1993 episode,[45] while Somers himself had also appeared in brownface or blackface on multiple episodes, including a tribute to the late Ricky May in 1988 and in blackface to make fun of Kamahl.[46][47]

American musician Harry Connick Jr., who performed on the show, was serving as a guest judge at the time and strongly expressed his disapproval of the skit when asked to give a score, and also later on in the show, and gave the performers a "0" score.[48] He appeared visibly uncomfortable throughout the skit.[49] He said, "If they turned up like that in the United States, it'd be like Hey Hey There's No More Show."[42] He later said that he would not have agreed to be on the show had he known beforehand about the sketch.[48] The quote proved prophetic, as the show was axed the following week.

Somers apologised to Connick on-air after a brief station break. He said that nobody had intended to deliberately offend the viewers, the guests, or the audience, and he described the sketch as a "bit retro".[41] The incident drew some negative response within Australia, but it drew heavy negative reaction from commentators around the world, including in the US and the UK,[41][50] and it prominently highlighted significant differences between the cultural acceptability of blackface in Australian culture compared with American culture.[44]

Programming history[edit]

Programming History
Name Dates Day Timeslot
Hey Hey It's Saturday 9 October 1971 – 29 September 1973 Saturday 8:30am–11:30am
Hey Hey It's Saturday 6 October 1973 – 26 November 1977 Saturday 8:00am–11:00am
Hey Hey It's Saturday 17 February 1979 – 3 December 1983 Saturday 8:00am–11:00am
Hey Hey It's Saturday Night 11 February 1984 – 25 May 1985 Saturday 9:30pm–12:00am
Hey Hey It's Saturday 8 June 1985 – 13 November 1999 Saturday 6:30pm–8:30pm
Hey Hey It's Saturday: Final 20 November 1999 Saturday 6:30pm–10:30pm
Hey Hey It's Saturday: The Reunion 30 September – 7 October 2009 Wednesday 7:30pm–10:30pm (30 September)
7.30pm–11:00pm (7 October)
Hey Hey It's Saturday 14 April 2010 – 28 July 2010 Wednesday 7:30pm–9:30pm[4]
Hey Hey It's Saturday 16 October 2010 – 27 November 2010 Saturday 7:30pm–9:30pm


 The original (partial) episode list was flagged as copyrighted and omitted from the new main page. I think the list of episodes from a previous edit are fair use, but please feel free to discuss this.


In 1992, Hey Hey It's Saturday broadcast an episode from Australia's latest theme park, Warner Brothers Movie World, situated in Gold Coast, Queensland. During their time there, the Hey Hey crew made a 45-minute feature film in just seven days. The film was titled "Silence of the Hams" and featured all the current cast members of the show. The movie's premise was in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the film Casablanca and starred Daryl Somers as a private investigator named Rick Shaw, who is attempting to track down who is responsible for trying to destroy the world's movie business.

The announcement was made on the following episode that they had made a movie and, after editing, that it would appear on the Nine Network. It was first broadcast on 15 June 1992 and was only ever repeated once on television. The movie has never been transferred to any form of official home media, but the entire movie was uploaded to YouTube on the official Hey Hey channel.[51]


Hey Hey It's Saturday won 19 Logies during its 29-year run. Awards the show has won include:

Award Awarded to Year(s) won
Most Popular Personality (Gold Logie) Daryl Somers 1983, 1986, 1989
Most Popular Light Entertainment Personality Daryl Somers 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997
Most Popular Light Entertainment / Comedy Personality Daryl Somers 1990
Most Popular Light Entertainment Program The show 1987, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
Most Popular Comedy Program The show 1985, 1999

The show and cast have been nominated for various Logies over its run. Awards nominated include:

Award Nominee Year(s) nominated
Most Popular Personality (Gold Logie) Daryl Somers 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Most Popular Light Entertainment Personality Daryl Somers 1994
Most Popular Light Entertainment Program The show 1986, 1996, 2010 (Reunion), 2011
Most Popular Light Entertainment / Comedy Program The show 1991, 1992
Most Popular Light Entertainment / Comedy Personality Daryl Somers 1990, 1991
Most Popular Comedy Program The show 1997, 1998
Most Popular Program The show 1998
Most Popular Comedy Personality Russell Gilbert 1995, 1996
Most Popular Comedy Personality Daryl Somers 1996, 1997
Most Popular Comedy Personality Plucka Duck 1997

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Classic TV Guides". 6 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Hey Hey It's Saturday Back on Nine". NineMSN. 25 July 2009. p. 1. Archived from the original on 27 July 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Hey Hey red-faced over blackface skit". ABC News. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Hey Hey It's Saturday returns April 14". What's On The Tube. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Report: Hey Hey it's Saturday axed". TV Tonight. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  6. ^ a b Knox, David (22 August 2021). "Seven to screen Hey Hey We're 50". TV Tonight. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  7. ^ a b Knox, David (26 September 2021). "Airdate: Hey Hey It's 50 Years". TV Tonight. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  8. ^ Daryl Somers, quoted in Hey Hey It's Saturday Reunion, first broadcast 30 September 2009
  9. ^ Hey Hey It's Saturday – The Book. United Media Productions, Richmond, Victoria, 1983
  10. ^ The Age, 19 October 1978 p. 37
  11. ^ a b "From the Archives, 1999: The party's over for Hey Hey It's Saturday". Sydney Morning Herald. 18 November 2019. p. 1. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Hey Hey It's back again". Daily Telegraph. 23 June 2007. p. 1. Retrieved 3 April 2008.
  13. ^ ABC Radio Broken Hill interview featuring Corrine Lawrence and Daryl Somers [1] Archived 17 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Article from adelaidenow.com.au, posted 24 July 2009 at 8:50pm
  15. ^ 1 October 2009 Hey Hey wins ratings showdown Theage.com.au
  16. ^ Davey, Ben (1 October 2009). "Hey Hey, it's blown MasterChef away". The Australian. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  17. ^ News.com.au (7 December 2009). "Hey Hey It's Saturday to get at least 20 more episodes". News.com.au. Archived from the original on 8 December 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  18. ^ Quinn, Karl (15 April 2010). "Hey Hey it's a photo finish". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  19. ^ Hey Hey It's Saturday ratings and 2010 season review CricketMX.com
  20. ^ "Hey Hey!". Facebook.
  21. ^ "Daryl Somers to revive 'Hey Hey It's Saturday' for third time?". Digital Spy. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Daryl's Christmas Message 2015". YouTube. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  23. ^ Hawker, Philippa (1 April 2016). "Daryl Somers on You're Back in the Room and Hey, Hey it's Saturday". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  24. ^ a b c "Hey Hey It's Saturday Is Getting *Another* Reboot, So Has The Show Learned Nothing?". Pedestrian.tv. 7 August 2021. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  25. ^ McKnight, Robert (9 August 2021). "CONFIRMED: HEY HEY IT'S SATURDAY TO RETURN TO PRIME TIME TELEVISION". TV Blackbox. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  26. ^ Knox, David (11 October 2021). "Hey Hey anniversary tops Sunday with 1.2m viewers". TV Tonight. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  27. ^ Knox, David (10 April 2022). "Airdate: Hey Hey It's 100 Years". TV Tonight. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  28. ^ Knox, David (16 April 2022). "Red Faces specials confirmed". TV Tonight. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  29. ^ "Top marks for Blanchett". The Age. Melbourne. 1 March 2005. p. 1. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  30. ^ Teams mop up Dicky Knee mess
  31. ^ a b Brown, Ruth (8 October 2009). "The world sees red over Hey Hey's blackface". Crikey. Private Media. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  32. ^ Enker, Debi (8 April 2010). "Hey Hey, it's divisive". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  33. ^ "Kamahl responds to Hey Hey it's Saturday star's comment he should move on from racist 'humiliation'". the Guardian. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  34. ^ Black, Sophie (8 October 2009). "Hey Hey misguided patriotism's back". The Stump. Private Media. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  35. ^ "Malaysian-Australian star, Kamahl, said while he was "humiliated" by his treatment on 'Hey Hey It's Saturday', he's been humbled by the support he's received from fans in the past week". The Feed. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  36. ^ "Hey Hey, It's Saturday Muppet John Blackman Has Addressed Claims Of Racism With The Worst Take". Pedestrian.tv. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  37. ^ "Daryl Somers apologises to Kamahl after controversy over racism". The Feed. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  38. ^ "Daryl Somers apologises to Kamahl after controversy over racism". SBS News. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  40. ^ Mascarenhas, Alan (21 October 2009). "We're not racist, we're Aussies". The Global Post. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  41. ^ a b c Overington, Caroline (9 October 2009). "Hey Hey It's Saturday blackface skit makes some red faces". The Australian. News Limited. Archived from the original on 11 October 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  42. ^ a b Brown, Lane (7 October 2009). "Harry Connick Jr. No Fan of Australian Blackface Michael Jackson Tribute". New York. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  43. ^ Connick Red Over Black Face, retrieved 24 March 2023
  44. ^ a b Jon Stratton (2011), "The Jackson Jive: Blackface Today and the Limits of Whiteness in Australia" (PDF), Journal of the European Association of Studies on Australia, 2 (2)
  45. ^ Hey Hey Its Saturday 1993, retrieved 28 February 2022
  46. ^ Ricky May tribute package, 1988, retrieved 28 February 2022
  47. ^ Bucklow, Andrew (15 June 2020). "Daryl Somers blackface video resurfaces". news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  48. ^ a b "Jackson Brothers Respond To Australia's 'Jackson Jive' Blackface Controversy". Access Hollywood. Archived from the original on 12 October 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  49. ^ Evelyne Yamine; Gareth Trickey; Chris Scott (8 October 2009). "Hey Hey sees red over black face Jackson 5 act". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  50. ^ Siobhan Duck; Xanthe Kleinig (9 October 2009). "Julia Gillard defends Hey Hey blackface skit". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  51. ^ "Silence of the Hams". YouTube. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2017.

External links[edit]