Back in the game
Daryl Somers was done with TV … until this new game show with a twist came around. By SIOBHAN DUCK
FUNNILY enough, it was during negotiations about bringing back Hey Hey It’s Saturday that Daryl Somers found himself mesmerised by a completely different show.
You’re Back in the Room, which sees contestants compete for cash while under hypnosis, is the first of several new formats Nine will be unleashing this year.
World-renowned hypnotist Keith Barry – who plays the same role in the hugely successful British version of the show – was signed up to take part.
And for Somers, it was the first show that has been able to tempt him out of his self-imposed retirement from the small screen since he walked away from Dancing with the Stars.
The triple-Gold Logie winner hasn’t appeared on prime time since the ill-fated Hey Hey reboot in 2011.
“It was a gut reaction really,” he tells TV Guide of his decision to leap back into a hosting role.
“It just felt right. I felt like this was a format that would work for me and that audiences would really like.”
Although he was initially sceptical about hypnosis itself, having never been put under anyone’s spell, Somers says his mind was made up when he watched Barry in action on the UK series.
“I went away and watched a whole lot of episodes of the UK series on YouTube and was really impressed by what I saw,” he says.
“And it’s also a really funny show. It’s not really about the hypnosis but about how he uses that to create these funny scenarios. It works really well.”
Captivated by Barry’s skill, and excited by the possibilities You’re Back in the Room presented to him as host, Somers signed on the dotted line and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Although the show is pre-recorded, it still gives me a lot of freedom to do what I like to do (ad-libbing) and bring my flavour to it,” he says.
“I know a lot of the crew were surprised that I didn’t use an autocue or an earpiece.
“That’s just how I’ve always worked. I did it on Hey Hey and then on Dancing too.”
Before You’re Back in the Room came up, Somers says he’d started to believe TV had lost some of the magic of the good old days because of the proliferation of reality shows that now dominate the small screen.
He still considers Graham Kennedy one of his greatest inspirations because of his ability to create memorable TV moments by handling anything that was thrown at him live on air.
Some could argue Somers did the same himself marshalling the motley crew on Hey Hey for almost 30 years.
“I have always preferred the spontaneity of live TV and that sense of ‘anything can happen’,” he says.
“That’s why I’ve preferred to work on stage in more recent years. I love that feeling you get from performing for a live audience. There hasn’t been anything like that on TV for me until this show.”
YOU’RE BACK IN THE ROOM
NINE, SUNDAY, 7PM