Mercado on TV: Brush with Fame, soap blockbuster, Daryl and cancel culture

Daryl Somers

Summer Bay legend Kate Ritchie is one of the subjects on new Anh’s Brush With Fame

Home and Away (Seven) is promising a “Blockbuster Night” next week, but if you listen closely, they don’t actually say what night. It’s definitely not Monday, despite a “90-minute event” to fill a gap left by Ultimate Tag (now on 7flix), but it is a clever way to keep people watching all week.

The “Who Will Survive” promo suggests that several characters are dialing up the crazy, and one victim in all this will be Martha (Belinda Giblin) who gets locked up in a caravan. Surely it is time to retire this cheapest of soapie props? Home and Away’s ratings are steady but slipping. Rehashing plots from the 90s, and slapping unrelated episodes into “blockbuster” events, is not helping.

Summer Bay legend Kate Ritchie is one of the subjects on Anh’s Brush With Fame (Tuesday on ABC) this year as it returns with a mammoth 14 episode season. Well done getting visiting movie star Jane Seymour to take part in Episode 2 and it will be fascinating to see if Anh asks Kamahl about racism in Episode 13.

A clip of Kamahl appearing on Hey Hey It’s Saturday back in the day went viral this week after a Daryl Somers interview about Dancing with the Stars (Seven after Easter) was derailed by him whinging about “cancel culture”. Apparently Hey Hey could not be made today because of “political correctness”. Daryl said: “Our humour was never meant to offend anybody. It was always about having good, clean fun.”

The disturbing Kamahl clip shows Daryl Somers playing imaginary “jungle drums” and there is a cartoon of Kamahl with a bone through his nose. FYI, Kamahl is Malaysian, not African. Anyway, as a final insult, a crew member walks up and pushes Kamahl’s face into a bowl of white baby powder. Good, clean fun, right?

Daryl Somers is revamping his Hey Hey TV website for the show’s 50th anniversary later this year in October. I am all for classic Aussie TV shows being repeated somewhere today, and that includes shows like Kingswood Country, but be careful what you wish for. Our memories about how funny they are may not hold up today, unless of course you find bullying and abusing people of colour to be hilarious.

Let’s be truthful about why shows like Hey Hey aren’t on TV anymore. It’s one reason and one reason only – money. Networks have decided that live TV and variety formats are too expensive because it’s cheaper to make pre-recorded reality formats. A show that should have been live on FTA TV this week was that magnificent star-studded tribute to Michael Gudinski, rather than leaving it to YouTube.

Next week in Mercado on TV, two new Aussie dramas for your Easter viewing, Wakefield (iview) and The Tailings (SBS On Demand).

Read more Mercado on TV here.

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