1 9 7 1 – 1 9 8 8 (Australia)
“Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you . . .”. Sing this to Australians of a certain generation and they will sing the “oo-oo-oo’s” back in rapturous nostalgia.
Each week for 18 years (read that again: EIGHTEEN years!) from April 1971 onwards, the avuncular Johnny Young brought his sequined show to a close with a gooey version of this Beatles classic.
His junior hoofers would sway around him in a feel-good kinda way while he muttered inane “goodnight Ethel” messages to viewers old, young and in hospital.
These kids knew how to smile, sing and box step at the same time.
Like a cabaret kindergarten, Young Talent Time (first airing in black & white on 23 April 1971) nurtured fledgeling dreams and produced a veritable host of international showbiz successes; Jamie Redfern, Debbie Byrne, Sally Boyden, Prince (only joking).
By 1979 it had turned naff and most of the kids were now extremely irritating precocious little shits, though there was a brief respite in the early 80s courtesy of Tina Arena.
Regular cast members included – at various times – Johnny Young (natch), Jamie Redfern, Debbie Byrne, Philip Gould, Jane Scali, Vikki Broughton, Rod Kirkham, Sally Boyden, Karen Knowles, Greg Mills, Derek Redfern, Tina Arena, Danni Minogue, Nicole Cooper, Steven Zammit, Vanessa Winter, Julie Ryles, Trevor Hindmarsh, Jodie Loebert, John Bowles, Joey Perrone, Evie Hayes and Ron Tudor.
Julie Ryles died in January 2011 from a rare condition known as progressive subcortical gliosis. She was 53.