Q& A with Rob Mills
CHANNEL 10’ s decision to bring back Young Talent Time was always a gamble. Getting Rob Mills to host the new version added to the risk. Mills, a former Australian Idol finalist, has shone on stage in Wicked but his TV work has been patchy. Late- night quiz show The Mint and game show The Singing Bee are hardly worth bragging about. YTT is trying to claw its way out of a ratings slump, but Mills has proved himself a standout frontman. Q: How did the opportunity to host Young Talent Time come about? A: I’d been chatting to Ten for a couple of years, trying to find the right project that suited me. There was the [ talent] show they thought of releasing in 2010 called Don’t Stop Believing, a UK format. If it had gone to air, I probably would have been the host of that. Q: Why did you think Australia was ready for a rebooted Young Talent Time in 2012? A: The whole world is screaming out for more positivity. The talent on Australia’s Got Talent and The X Factor Jack Vidgen and Reece Mastin shows that we want to see young kids dancing and singing again. Q: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a host? A: I think my strength is connecting with people from all walks of life and all age groups, to deal with kids from eight to 16 and an audience that will range from eight to 80. One of my weaknesses is my lack of experience but I’ve been working really hard with Ten and the crew to get me up to speed. I know I’ve still got lots to learn. Q: Has the depth of the kids’ talent surprised you? A: Absolutely. I have looked at old footage of the first Young Talent Team back in the 1970s and I reckon our kids are outshining some of the [ original] team members who had been in the show for years. We’re only six weeks in. Can you imagine how good our kids are going to be after a few years on the show? That’s incredible to think about. Q: How have the kids dealt with the instant fame that comes with being part of the Young Talent Team? A: We’ve got a psychologist who comes in and speaks to the kids about that sort of stuff. My main concern, when you work with young people, is making sure they’re well looked after and still allowed to be kids. Q: What has it been like working with Tina Arena? A: Tina’s like a mother hen. Some people have said to me she comes across a bit stern on the TV. I think maybe she’s just nervous on camera a bit. Off- camera she couldn’t be more nurturing and lovely to the kids. Q: What has your family said? A: My brother, Chris, is my toughest critic. He said ‘‘ you look much more comfortable [ now] ’’ . . . which is quite nice to hear.