Channel 7 has announced it will air a one-off TV special to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary.Hey Hey We’re 50 will premiere later this year. It will be hosted by Daryl Somers and will feature some of the favourite characters from Hey Hey.“I was absolutely delighted when Seven suggested a 50th anniversary Hey Hey special,” Somers said in a statement. “Trawling back through the vast archive has been almost as much fun as doing the show in the first place, so I hope we can offer a few laughs, not only to the diehard Hey Hey fans but to all Australians, as we desperately need a touch of levity at this time.”Seven Network Director of Programming, Angus Ross, added: “There are very few Australian TV shows as loved as Hey Hey and we are really pleased to be able to work with Daryl and his team on this fantastic special event.”He continued: “For three decades, Hey Hey was one of the funniest, most entertaining and most unpredictable shows on TV. We’re honoured to be part of what promises to be a wonderful celebration.”Hey HeyChannel 7’s decision to bring back Hey Hey comes just a few months after the show faced accusations of racism.The controversy began in March when Somers told the Herald Sun: “You probably could not get away with half the stuff you could on Hey Hey now because of the political correctness and the cancel culture. It is a shame because showbiz does not get much of a chance.”In response to his comments, a Twitter user made a compilation video showing all the times Malaysian-born singer Kamahl was subjected to racist jokes and stereotyping on Hey Hey.After the clip went viral, Kamahl was interviewed on ABC’s 7.30 and said about his Hey Hey appearances: “Hey Hey was a landmine and I knew that I would get blown up here and there, but there were some instances that were harder to stomach than others.”He continued: “It’s like losing your underpants. It’s stripping you of everything. It’s like being naked. It’s a terrible feeling.”Kamahl told the ABC that despite being the butt of distasteful jokes, he continued to appear on the program to maintain his public profile.“I volunteered, but knowing full well that there will be a downside, but never realising how offensive the downside would be,” he told 7.30.RELATED: John Blackman dismisses Kamahl’s commentsSomers later apologised to Kamahl in a public statement, saying: “I want to make it very clear that I and all members of the Hey Hey team do not condone racism in any form. I have always considered Kamahl a friend and supporter of the show, so I deeply regret any hurt felt by him as a result of anything that took place on the program in the past.”Somers continued: “Hey Hey It’s Saturday never set out to offend anybody but always strived to provide family entertainment.”Hey Hey has made headlines for other racially insensitive segments in the past.In 2009 US singer Harry Connick Jr was visibly upset when some men appeared in blackface during a Red Faces segment.Somers apologised to Connick Jr at the end of the show, to which the singer replied: “I know it was done humorously, but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that we take it really to heart.“I feel like I am at home here and if I knew that was going to be part of the show, I probably, I definitely, wouldn’t have done it,” he said.
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