With just hours to go there is still no confirmation from the Somers Carroll production team whether Jacki MacDonald will appear in tonight’s second and final Hey Hey it’s Saturday reunion.
And that’s just the way to play it.
Viewers will have to tune in to find out for sure if she’s back -helping to ensure another big audience. If she doesn’t show, well it was never really any guarantee was it? If she does, it will be the live television surprise of the night (good luck trying to keep it under wraps, guys!).
The show does have Ossie Ostrich, with 80yo Ernie Carroll returning, plus Denise Drysdale, JoBeth Taylor, Penne Denison, Trevor Marmalade and Harry Connick Jr.
In recent years MacDonald has been a busy mum, and as John Blackman recently told TV Tonight, heavily involved in horse and gymkhana activities.
But in August she did front up for QTQ’s 50 Years of Television special in which she spoke about some of her past glories.
MacDonald’s first foray onto TV was in being plucked from a TV studio audience, live on air. As a teenager she was far more boisterous than the respectable ladies being interviewed.
“They were mostly Miss Betties, beautifully groomed, with little linen dresses, single strand of pearls, French rolls and high heels, you know they were very gorgeous. And I was sitting in the audience wearing red and blue Mickey and Minnie mouse type shoes with red corduroy jeans and some sort of enormously bright red t-shirt, I can’t remember now, and long plaits like Pocahontas. And of course we were all giggling because they’d say now what are your hobbies and these ladies would say ‘Oh well we really like overseas travel and we particularly like crocheting and stamp collecting’
“So I hopped in the chair and they said, ‘Now what are your hobbies?’ and I said ‘Well, drinking, smoking and going out with wild blokes’ and you heard everyone go’ ‘Ah ha!’ The director and everyone laughed.”
It was enough to land her a job in television.
“I was about seventeen or eighteen or something. I’d just left boarding school. I was straight out of boarding school and I had no idea. Really I wanted to go to London and be an actress or something, but it totally changed the direction of my life. I didn’t go anywhere, I was here then forever.”
Developing her own zany style MacDonald came up with some outlandish, memorable pranks, including one with a budgie.
“I said I’m going to teach the budgie how to talk, it’s a really simple thing, you pop him in the kettle and so he can concentrate. Put the lid on so it’s nice and dark and then you put your mouth on the spout, and say ‘Hello hello’ down the spout so it echoes and he learns it really quickly.
“And then I said if that doesn’t work, you turn on the kettle and then he learns to tap-dance. And we did get into trouble because little kids would think that was a reasonable thing to do you know. We didn’t want to have budgies on-fire all over the city”
MacDonald even filmed her Funniest Home Videos at QTQ Brisbane.
“Yep I did the Funniest Home Videos here too and it was a great show, I used to love doing that. I used to laugh and laugh. I still laugh, I still do watch that, and I still laugh when you get the four fat old ladies like me and my friends sitting on the chair, one gets up and they all fall down, straight away I go ‘Ha, ha, ha!’
“I suppose I have one of those childish senses of humour,” she said.