Q& A with Rob Mills

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Television - COLIN VICK­ERY

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.

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