Young Talent Time - Where Are They Now?

The new Young Talent Time debuts tonight with a recap of the past. Young Talent Time (YTT) aired on our screens from 1971 to 1988 and is now back. YTT launched the careers of singers Jane Scali, Tina Arena and Dannii Minogue. Nicole Kidman even guest starred in 1983 and Kylie famously sang “Sisters are donig it for Themselves” with Dannii. Here’s a look at where are they now?

Cast is in alphabetical order.

Beven Addinsall 1983 – 1988
Beven saw an ad in the newspaper about YTT searching for a new team member and ended up becoming one of it’s stars. After YTT, Beven starred in a stage production of “Seven Little Australians” and then went on to become a golf pro.
He has since returned to entertaining, as a corporate performer. Triple J also released “Beven The Musical”, a comical song about Beven’s life by ex_Rove’s Peter Hellier.

Tina Arena 1974 – 1983
Tina began at age 7 on YTT and went on to having a successful pop career with hits like “I Need Your Body” and “Chains”. Arena appeared in London’s stage versions of Notre Dame de Paris as Esmerelda, Sally Bowles in Cabaret and Roxie Hart in Chicago. On July 24, 2011, Arena sang the Australian National Anthem on the podium of the Tour de France after the victory of Aussie Cadel Evans. Tina lives in France with her partner and son. She is returning to the new YTT as a mentor and judge.

Rikki Arnot 1987 -1988
Rikki Arnot was introduced into the Young Talent Team during one of the final shows of 1987. Arnot became the last girl ever recruited into the Young Talent Team! After YTT Rikki continued to study dance. Rikki is now lives in Melbourne after returning from London where she was working in advertising. She has a son, Lloyd with former YTT cast member Jamie Churchill.

John Bowles 1977 – 1981
John started on YTT as a contestant. When he left YTT he went on to work backstage at the show. He then went on to star in Cats, Hello Dolly and Phantom and is still performing around the country.

Sally Boyden 1973 – 1976
Sally Boyden was the youngest YTT member to ever be recruited. In fact, so young that she had to lie about her age, because at 7 it was illegal for her to be working such hours. While most left YTT at age 16, Boyden left earlier at age 10 due to an apparent cast feud, after she appeared on rival Channel 9′s The Don Lane Show. Boyden went to America and appeared in Lassie: A New Beginning (1978). She had a rumoured battle with the disease anorexia nervosa and an apparent addiction to heroin. Sally is now living in London and performs as a backing singer for Duran Duran.

Vikki Broughton 1971 – 1973
When Vikki left YTT she went onto tour with ABBA in Europe. Vikki is no longer a part of the entertainment business and is living happily in Melbourne with her husband is no longer a part of the entertainment business and is living happily in Melbourne with her husband and children.

Debra Byrne 1971 – 1975
Debra Byrne was one of the original six cast members on YTT. Byrne’s career stalled between 1980 and 1985 due to a heroin addiction. Byrne made a successful and highly-publicised career comeback in 1985 with the starring role in the movie Rebel, opposite Matt Dillon. She then starred in many productions including the roles of Grizabella in Cats, Fantine in Les Misérables and Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard opposite Hugh Jackman. In 2006, her autobiography Not Quite Ripe was published. Byrne is currently playing the Bird Woman in the stage musical, Mary Poppins. Is now about to star in Nine’s Tricky Business.

Jamie Churchill 1988 – 1989
When Jamie left YTT, he went on to star in Neighbours and made several TV commercials.Jamie relocated back to Tasmania after a battle with drugs and completed The Bridge Program, which is a program run by the Salvation Army to help people with addiction. Jamie credits the Salvation Army, saying he wouldn’t be where he is today if not for them.Churchill had a son with former cast mate Rikki Arnot and still does occasiional performances.

Juanita Coco 1987 – 1988
Juanita was a popular member of the YTT team who was tragically killed at the age of 17, when a car she was travelling in ran a red light and was hit. The driver was under the influence of alcohol and charges of manslaughter were dropped. Juanita’s mother Jenny and her husband Patrick formed “The Friends of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria” following Juanita’s donation of heart valves and corneas

Nicole Cooper 1976 – 1981
When Nicole left YTT she worked at Channel 10 as a director’s assistant and later worked in advertising and then as a private secretary.
 
Michael Campbell 1981 – 1983
Nothing is really known about where he went, but his profession is listed as singer/performer.

Courtney Compagnino 1986 – 1988
Courtney joined the team after being spotted at the Johnny Young Talent School. Courtney went on to appear in Neighbours and continues to sing while working as a personal trainer.

Vince Deltito 1983 – 1988
Vince was also spotted at the talent school and became a fan favourite. He now has his own recording studio and is in entertainment management.

Joey Dee 1987 – 1988
After YTT ended, Joey toured with Juanita Coco and kept busy with school work. He is an aspiring singer/songwriter now.

Bobby Driessen 1979 – 1983
After YTT, he went on to co-host a Saturday morning kids’ program with fellow YTT member Karen Dunkerton and presented a Fact Cat album. Very little else is known about Bobby’s whereabouts after YTT, although he currently resides in Sydney and is a performer.

Karen Dunkerton 1981 – 1985
When Karen left YTT, she went on to do modelling for a couple of years and worked at Channel 9, co-hosting a morning show with Bobby Driessen. Karen is married to jockey Darren Gauci and is a full-time Mum to their four children – Jade, Breanna, Sean and Brooke.

Philip Gould 1971 – 1974
After finishing his stint on Young Talent Time, Philip returned to the stage, appearing in More Canterbury Tales and scoring the lead role of Tony in West Side Story. Since 1984 Philip has lived and worked in England and since then has played the lead role of in 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Street Scene both in Glasgow and at the London Coliseum, the role of Frank in Showboat at the London Palladium, Curly in Oklahoma and Ritchie Valens in Buddy.

Debbie Hancock 1976 -1979
After leaving YTT, Debbie worked in a modelling agency and did television commercials. She met her husband, Michael Neat, on Blind Date and they have one son. She lives close by Nicole Cooper who she remained close friends with over the years.

Trevor Hindmarch 1972 – 1977
When Trevor left he formed his own band he played the circuit around Sydney. He later moved back to Melbourne and got involved in horse racing, and became the company director of Hindmarch Racing Pty. Ltd. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and 5 children.

Rod Kirkham 1971 – 1973
After leaving YTT, Rod hosted his own TV show, “Rod’s Fun Palace”. Following this, Rod disappeared from our screens and now resides in Queensland, where he writes self-help books.
  
Karen Knowles 1975 – 1980
After leaving YTT, Knowles had a top ten single and three album releases. After 4 years in the UK she returned to Australia and appeared in the musical ‘Big River’ with Perfect Match star Cameron Daddo. Most recently she appeared on the now defunct Channel 7 singing show It Takes Two and continues to sing at occasional events.

Jodie Loebert 1980 – 1983
Jodie joined YTT in 1980 as a replacement for Karen Knowles. She was a popular team member, but she disappeared from the team prior to her 16th birthday, amid much rumour. She splits her time between being a full time mum and folk singing.

Mark McCormack 1982 – 1983
 After YTT and completing his schooling, Mark played football for the Sydney Swans under 17′s and did voice overs and TV commercials. He is now the lead singer of the band “Tribe” and has performed at the Crown Casino’s Mercury Lounge, Wild Bill’s South Land and the Baby Grand Hotel.

Robert McCullough 1976 – 1979
After leaving YTT Robert moved to Queensland and runs a talent agency apparently.

Natalie Miller 1985 – 1988
Miller was originally a contestant on the show and becamethe first Sydney-sider recruited to YTT. Natalie became a backing singer, performing with artists such as Deep Purple, Barbra Streisand and Kylie Minogue. Natalie wed former Masterchef contestant Aaron Harvie and continues to sing.

Greg Mills 1971 – 1975
Greg was a contestant on the second show after he had failed his audition. The performance was so good that they asked him to join. It was Greg, after he had left the show, along with Johnny Young, who auditioned Dannii Minogue for a spot in the team. Greg is still involved in the music business and now has his own production company – Greg Mills Productions. He was the Musical Director for the official opening ceremony of Sydney’s Olympic Stadium.

Dannii Minogue 1981 – 1988
Superstar Dannii Minogue went on to appear in the feature film ‘Secrets’ and star in Home and Away. Dannii then had a popular singing career with hits such as “This is it” and “Baby Love” and appeared in Playboy after her divorce from Nip and Tuck star Julian McMahon. Dannii has had huge success in the UK and is now the judge of Australia’s Got Talent on Channel 7. She has launched her own fashion line Project D and is currently the partner of 7pm project regular Kris Smith and they have a baby boy, Ethan.

Tim Nelson 1984 – 1987
When he left the show, towards the end of 1987, he worked at TV House for three years and worked with the Sydney Olympic production organisation, filming the features and highlights of Australia for the Olympics. He is currently working as a director and producer and remains good friends with Vince.

Lorena Novoa 1984 – 1987
Novoa is now a constable in Victoria and is lead singer of a police group called Code One that use music to raise awareness of issues and strengthen community bonds. She has also recorded many familiar jingles for TV and radio.

Johnny Nuich 1988 – 1988
Only being on the show in the final months, when YTT finished he started an apprenticeship in hairdressing and is now working in the family construction company back in Perth

Joey Perrone 1980 – 1984
Joe Perrone joined the Johnny Young Talent School in 1978 and started with the team in 1980. Joey had his face on many a young girl’s wall in the early 80′s but now seems he has disappeared. Some sites have working in Munich while others as a personal trainer in Melbourne.

Greg Poynton 1984 – 1988
He studied at Monash University and now has a Bachelor of Commerce (Management) degree. He then started his own business, Australian Corporate Technology, which is now one of the largest Hewlett-Packard dealerships. He is the brother in law of AFL Aussie rules player James Hird, his sister Tania is wife of James Hird. He also owns a organic pizza place in East Melbourne.

Derek Redfern 1973 – 1976
The brother of Jamie Redfern, Derek continued to perform after leaving YTT, sometimes as a solo act, sometimes as a duo with his brother Jamie Redfern. However, Derek did not continue his career in show business. He is currently working as a handyman for a council.

Jamie Redfern 1971 – 1972
British born Redfern was an original member of the YTT crew. Famed singer Liberace presented Jamie with a King Of Pop Award and seeing his talent, took him to the USA. After a dispute over a recording contract, his career ground to a halt. Jamie and his wife currently run a dancing and acting academy for children in Melbourne.

Julie Ryles 1971 – 1976
A couple of years after Julie finished YTT, she starred in the Melbourne season of “A Chorus Line”, but was forced out due to a knee injury. Julie lived in Melbourne where she was a company director and mother to her daughter, Samantha. She suffered from the rare condition known as progressive subcortical gliosis and passed away on January 27th 2011.

Jane Scali 1971 – 1976
Jane, who now resides in Sydney with her husband, is still heavily involved in the showbusiness world. She has starred in many musicals including the role of Sandy in “Grease” with Dannii Minogue and alongside Phillip Gould in “Annie”. She is the winner of seven Mo Awards and an Ace Award for Best Female Vocal Performer of the Year.

Mark Stevens 1985 – 1988
Mark went on to appear in Neighbours and later joined the Hillsong Church as a worship leader. Stevens is now involved in the Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England, where he teaches the Bible and is a singer.

Katie Van Ree 1981 – 1986
When she left YTT at age 16, Katie was quite content to blend back into the real world. She appeared in an episode of the Henderson Kids 2 and then completed school and started a career in advertising.

Vanessa Windsor 1983 – 1987
Vanessa got her part after being a contestant on the show at 12. She went on to acting and appeared in an episode of GP. Vanessa is now married and a full time mum with 3 boys and is living in Brisbane.

Johnny Young 1971 – 1988
The patriarch of the show is apparently going to be behind the scenes on the rumoured remake of the show. Young has three children, Craig, Anna and Fleur; seven grand children, 2 boys and 5 girls; and one great grand daughter.

Steven Zammit 1975 – 1980
He was noticed by producers when he was a contestant on the show (he made it through to the grand final). He is currently a singer but little else is known.

Did I forget anyone? Corrections or more information would be gladly appreciated. Contact us at andrewb@throng.com.au

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  • Tanya

    Yes Tina Arena was 9 when she was a team member not 7

  • meena

    Fantastic thank you so much. Meena

  • King Roman

    I took contestants to YTT two times in 1984 from Darwin. It was very interesting to read about them above.

  • Gerko

    Tina Arena appeared using her real name Pina Arena as a contestant but the producers got her to change it when she joined the cast thinking Pina was a little too ethnic. Don’t think they’d get away with that these days.