Tina Arena's last show: Young Talent Time, 1983
Cast member graduation shows are a fan favourite and here it is Tina Arena’s turn to say goodbye to the show she has called an ‘extraordinary apprenticeship’.
When Tina joined the cast in 1977 the representation of people from migrant backgrounds on Australian television was extremely low, so her immense popularity with fans was a significant moment.
Tellingly however, producers from the show advised her to change her Italian first name from Filippina to Tina to make her more ‘relatable’.
The genuine emotion of the segment shines through before Tina sings her farewell song ‘MacArthur Park’, which showcases her incredible vocal range.
It is touching to see Dannii Minogue hand flowers to Tina and share a tender embrace because Tina was Dannii’s coach when she first started in 1982.
There is a lovely ‘live television moment’ while Johnny Young is paying tribute to her when you can hear a small child calling out in the audience.
It is easy to see the lineage from variety shows like Young Talent Time to this century's reality music shows such as The Voice (2012–present), X Factor (2005, 2010–2016) and Australian Idol (2003–2009). Common ingredients include a stage set-up where the singer is surrounded by adoring fans and the live concert atmosphere created by pyrotechnics, lighting design and back-up dancers.
Today Tina is one of Australia’s highest-selling artists, having sold over 10 million records worldwide. She was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2015.
In 2011 she became the first Australian to be awarded a Knighthood of the French National Order of National Merit for her contribution to French culture. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2016.
This excerpt is from episode 83/07.
Notes by Beth Taylor