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From morning to night shift with the first episode of Hey Hey It’s Saturday from 1984

We look into the first episode of the transition from morning show to late night variety.



The iconic Hey Hey It’s Saturday. This site is not ashamed that we love this show a tiny little bit.

Originally an early morning show born in 1971  on Channel 9 (first episode broadcast October 9) the kids show screened cartoons for two hours from 8:30am Saturdays, with host Daryl ‘Dags’ Somers and co-host VFL player Peter McKenna, as well as a hand-puppet named Ossie Ostrich (owned by Ernie Carroll).

The show evolved into a platform for a variety of many co-hosts, entertainers, musicians and personalities appearing for interviews, reviews and performances, as well as shifting time slots:

  • 1971 – 1983: Saturdays 8:30am – 11:30am
  • 1984 – 1985: Saturdays 9:30pm – midnight
  • 1985 – 1999: Saturdays 6:30pm – 8:30pm
  • 2009 reunion: Wednesdays 7:30pm – 10:30pm
  • 2010: Wednesdays 7:30pm – 9:30pm, then Saturdays 7:30pm – 9:30pm

With over 1100 episodes in the can from the lifespan of 1971 to 1999 and including the 2009 – 2010 resurrection, we thought it’s worthy enough for us to try and do some time of episode guide with the existing episodes, digitised by Dags himself. Except for the 2009 – 2010 era, none of these episodes were replayed or released on DVD (other than the ‘Best Of’ specials) or iTunes, but exclusively available via HeyHey.TV for a small subscription fee. (We reviewed the site here).

It’s hard to start an episode guide from the beginning, as some episodes from 1971 to 1983 don’t really exist or unavailable to be digitised, so we will start from 1984, where the episodes from the Somers Carroll archive survived. So, let’s fork over the coin and get things streaming. Apparently around 774 episodes exist, so this will be a heavy process.

Disclaimer 1: Song links are to iTunes music. If not available, YouTube links will be provided.

Disclaimer 2: This article has been updated since original posting with broadcast date correction and added articles.

Episode 01 – February 18, 1984.

February Saturday 18, 1984 marks the date that the first late night episode of Hey Hey It’s Saturday Night aired. It wasn’t without the promotion either from national newspapers.

The Age Feb 18, 1984
The Age Feb 18, 1984
Sydney Morning Herald Feb 18, 1984

While the show was titled Hey Hey It’s Saturday, the name was changed briefly to adapt to the late night time slot of 9:30pm, so the titled ended up simply getting a “Night” slapped on the end to become Hey Hey It’s Saturday Night. This is explained by a quick little sketch of the host Daryl Somers interviewing a ‘stranger’ about the change of the timeslot. This ‘stranger’ mentions he never watches the show anyway, and then is promptly blown up as he walks away. Cue title.

The all too familar voice of John Blackman does his spool on the cast members and possible crazy antics they may get up to while a montage of 1983 highlights appear on the screen. Then we are greeted by the host with the most, and his puppet sidekick, Ossie Ostrich (Ernie Carroll). This is also followed by a fake round of applause by sound effects wizard Murray Tregonning while the camera cuts to the ‘audience’ of empty seats.

They’re back after taking a ratings break, with Daryl explaining they are now going from a 3 hour show to 2 and 1/2 hours slapstick and ad-lib. Everyone’s favourite “Head on a stick” Dickie Knee (voiced by Blackman) pops up, making height jokes. Throughout the series, Tregonning is challenged with quick response to sound effects, and he doesn’t fail. So the staple cast is back for 1984, including everybody’s favourite Queenslander, Jacki MacDonald, escorted by Floor Manager “Lucky” Phil Lambert.

After a few gentle ribbings about how backward her QLD family is, it’s time for the first musical act – Pseudo Echo performing Listening. Typo and all, and with a backing tape. Which was the style at the time.

Cue ad break after their riveting performance.

After some thank-yous, Daryl prepares to start the next segment Media Watch TV, but then throws to Wilbur Wilde, the resident saxophone lover, with his three piece band. Say hello to Animal.

After a brief jam session, Media Watch TV starts, showcasing viewers writing in after finding faults in commercials, movies or TV shows. A more entertaining way of saying that the person who looks after continuity doesn’t do their job properly. Cue ad break

Returning for Wot Cheezus Me Off – a segment where people can vent about anything they want that’s pissed them off. Though with the stagehands tomfoolery, Daryl keeps his cool when they flatten him against the backdrop.

Someone who wrote in about Wilbur Wilde cheezing some woman off, which prompts into Daryl joining Wilbur in an impromptu jam session. Other ‘cheezus’ included TV interference, and people who appear in commercials who are approached by the presenter and come up gullible trying said advertised product. This is demonstrated by John Blackman who pranks strangers into wearing shaving cream.

Now it’s time a musical performance by band Little Heroes and their tune Bon Voyage. (Though released in 1983, it turns out to be irony of the song title as this was their second to last single released before their separation later in 1984.)

Insert a new segment called Consumer Watch presented by Tony Porter, who covers items that the consumer watchdog would legally cover these days, such as dodgy repayments. This episode also gives birth to the infamous lotto segment Chooklotto – a concept consisting of putting certain sized frozen chickens into a barrel, spinning them around and the first correctly discovered viewer who picked the four winning numbers wins a prize. As a bonus, if you choose a “supplementary chook” number, you win a bigger bonus prize, which is concealed in an empty pavlova container containing that number. Because it’s the first episode of the year, no-one has entered, so it was a basic description of the game.

Next up, Somers and Co. congratulate a newly married Elton John, by playing his song Kiss The Bride and slicing in moments from his actual wedding, leading into an ad break, returning to the Wheel segment.

A simple concept where you would spin their studio chocolate wheel and have a chance to score:

  • Nissan Pulsar GL Hatchback Sedan – worth $9100, from Motorfast
  • Cornelius fur jacket
  • $1200 cash from Linda Electric
  •  16 day camping trip for two from Bell Kings Australia Adventure Tours
  • Fly-Drive holiday from Four Seasons Motor Inns, Tasmania
  • 24 Volume World Book Encyclopedia, 15 Volume Child Craft, and 2 Volume World Book Dictionary – worth $1296
  • 18 carat gold diamond ring from Vauclause Jewellery

After spinning the barrel full of entry envelopes sent in from the home viewer (after a struggle trying to open the barrel lid), Men At Work musician Greg Ham is dragged out from the back of the studio set to spin the wheel – but not before a bit of banter about his workload and tours.

A big spin later, and Leslie Tregaskas (spelling) from Neutral Bay, NSW wins a Pioneer Video Lazer Disc player from National Electionics, worth $1299. Hooray! Cue ad break.

It’s time for Media Watch Press – a segment of errors and mistakes found in magazines, newspapers and other forms of general media. Yes, newspapers.

The internet didn’t exist, and newspapers were one of the main sources for… well… news. What is usually meant to be a 3 – 5 minute segment, struggles to get past the first entrant as the conversation strays off to random punchlines and sound effects producer Murray Tregonning getting some random airtime. But here’s one of the media watch press submissions:

Blink, and the segment needs to take an ad break. Part 2 barely gets off the ground after a sandwich company Mr Submarine sends in a bunch of subs to the staff to get some free promotion. Cut to Jacki, Gavin Wood and Ham chomping down, and some sausage innuendos and the crew going ‘on strike’ with the subs. This is where the improv humour for the show shines, were there is little to no scripting, throwing in one liners and visual jokes at random times.

As the show leads into a scheduled ad break, Gavin Wood sets himself up for his music segment Gavin Wood’s Pop Report, hosted by Countdown announcer Gavin Wood.

Here, he spruiks the latest in music news:

  • Michael Jackson‘s album Thriller sells 25 million copies
  • Roy Orbison suffers suspected heart attack
  • The Smiths is a ‘band to look out for’
  • Diana Ross is releasing a brand of stockings
  • Culture Club will be touring June 1984
  • New singles from
    • Normie Rowe Rock And Roll, You’re Beautiful
    • Dear EnemyThe Good Life
    • The Rolling StonesShe Was Hot
    • Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
  • Three Top Albums:
    • Kim Wilde – Catch As Catch Can
    • Fat Larry’s BandStraight From The Heart
    • Huey Lewis & The News – Sports
  • Tim Finn‘s ‘A Fraction Too Much Friction‘ is Number 2 in Holland, and the album Escapade is Number 8.
  • it’s Gavin Wood’s birthday…

… all while Daryl was dressing him up for a prank from stage hand Krystal – which ‘explodes’ in his face.

Which wraps up to a performance by accomplished signer and Hey Hey regular Jane Clifton performing her single The Girl On The Wall, leading into an ad break.

It’s competition time, so it seems, as Daryl promotes a long-running contest to find the next “Solo Man” – a typically average but good-looking Australian bloke to represent the lemon soft drink Solo, known for the “Solo Man” commercials of the 1980s. A way of comparison would be a male version of a ‘Chiko Roll Girl’ pin-up, which is considered quite sexist by today’s standards.

The finalists were from each state and territory, taking away $1000 each. But the overall winner scores $2000 and a two week trip for two to any sporting location that’s hosted by Channel 9’s Wide World of Sports, presented by the CEO of Schweppes, Frank Swan. The winner? QLD’s Leigh Goodall. I wonder what he’s up to, now?

Ad break!

After the audience calm themselves down from the testosterone overload, another segment begins: Discussion. Consisting of a panel of experts of radio announcers and musicians, the table chat about what new music singles will be a hit or miss. In the first episode of 1984, Chris Maxwell (EON FM), Greg Ham (Men At Work), Hey Hey musical director Wilbur Wilde, and down the satellite from Sydney, Dan Craig and Lyndal Jacobs (2sM).

Songs discussed and rated out of 10:

  • Cyndi LauperGirls Just Wanna Have Fun
    • Chris – 7
    • Greg – 5
    • Wilbur – 9
    • Dan – Top 10
    • Lyndal – Top 5
  • Kenny Rogers – This Woman
    • Chris – 3
    • Greg – 5
    • Wilbur – 6
    • Dan – A Hit
    • Lyndal – A Hit

Mid-way through the judging of Lauper’s song, John Farnham gatecrashes, since he’s in the area and all after performing at a gig, as you do.

Time for the final ad break, and to wrap up the show, British comedy group Bouncing Czecks, who are in town appearing at The Last Laugh and soon at the Adelaide Festival, are squeezed in, singing something about a shark party while wearing flippers. Riveting stuff…

For the closing credits, Dags, Farnham, Wilde and Co. get together for a jam session, with Dags taking front-and-centre on the microphone – surprisingly staying away from the drums.

At a running time of 2 hours and 8 minutes, the extremely loose first episode of 1984 shows that things can easily get pretty wild after shifting from a morning to late night show. With more breathing space for the adult market, you never know what type of tongue-in-cheek crude humour could easily get past the censors, with added tomfoolery.

Main cast:

Daryl Somers, Ernie Carroll, John Blackman, Jacki MacDonald, Wilbur Wilde.