Debra Byrne 3


  • This week 4TR returns from a three week hiatus to focus on those performers who first came to notice via the medium of TV talent shows, going back to the early days of black and white transmission where such shows as Brian and the Juniors, Young Talent Time and Hey Hey It’s Saturday were prominent, to the more recent big budget extravaganzas including Popstars, Australian Idol, X factor, The Voice, Australia’s Got Talent and others. For every performer who carved out a successful career from talent show beginnings such as Tina Arena, Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll, there were many whose lives were irrevocably changed for the worse after enjoying instant celebrity only to be faced with the harsh realities of growing up and surviving in the national spotlight only to fade from the charts – Debra Byrne, Kate De Araugo and Casey Donovan, are three of many.


Debra Byrne 2


  • In Years Ago this week we look at the career of Debra Byrne, one of the original cast members of Johnny Young’s Young Talent Time, a show that ran for 17 years and produced two female performers of great talent, Tina Arena who would become a global success story and sell over 7 million records, and Debra Byrne who didn’t trouble the charts too much and battled sexual abuse and drug dependence to emerge as a credible live musical star in many hit shows of the 80’s, we revisit Debra’s hit from 1974 He’s A Rebel, and remember those often cringeworthy YTT  moments.


tina arena 4

  • Tina Arena was a YTT regular for many years, she matured into an international star, and is regarded as a national treasure in her adopted country France. The winner of ARIA and APRA awards and an inductee into the ARIA Hall of Fame, we turn back the clock to 1995/96 when Tina released the mega-selling album Don’t Ask, which was studded with such hit songs as Chains, Sorrento Moon and Wasn’t It Good.




  • The all-girl group Bardot emerged from Channel 7’s Popstars in 1999 as the first of the girl groups to roll off the reality show assembly line and they enjoyed the instant celebrity and chart success that flowed from the clever exploitation and image -building of those who pulled their strings. Their debut single Poison was a big hit, which we re-visit in our Special Feature this week, however they disbanded after several years, and of all the Bardot members only Sophie Monk has managed to sustain a career on the fringes of the entertainment industry, her latest gig is on the Shaun Micallef game show Talkin’ ‘bout my Generation.


Guy Sebastian 1


  • In 2003 Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll fought out the very first final of Australian Idol, and it would be Guy with the ‘Fro who would defeat Shannon with the Flava Sava Goatee, both would go on to substantial careers in Ausmusic, Guy taking his debut single Angels Sent Me here to #1 and Shannon re-birthing the Moving Pictures hit What About Me, and also taking it to an Australian #1.     


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