Television

Mat Yoyo: Not quite child’s play

Mat Yoyo’s Joakim Gomez, Joanne-Marie Sim and their furry friends . Photo: okto
The new hosts of the third season of Mat Yoyo – Joakim Gomez, Joanne-Marie Sim, Yoyo and Yaya. Photo: okto
The show’s two English-language hosts tell us how they deal with cat dander
Published: 4:06 AM, February 27, 2014
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SINGAPORE — The fact that the children’s pre-school TV series Mat Yoyo — The New Generation will be back for a third season means two things. One, your children will be entertained by 20 new episodes — complete with new faces and content. And two, the show’s ridiculously catchy theme song will probably be stuck in your heads for a while.

“It’s so amazing that a song can just be one note throughout the whole chorus,” laughed Joanne-Marie Sim, the new female host on the English-language version of the show. Sim replaces Kim Wakerman, who hosted the first two seasons. Her co-host, 987FM deejay Joakim Gomez, returns from the second season, but their two cat-friends Yoyo and Yaya are played by two new child actors.

“They are so fun to be around, they make you feel young again,” said Gomez of Yoyo and Yaya. “It makes me miss being a kid.”

Mat Yoyo first aired in Malay from 1982 to 1994, and was hosted by veteran actor-comedian Mat Sentul and the male cat character Yoyo. It was revived in 2012 as Mat Yoyo — The New Generation, running in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, and telecast across four of MediaCorp’s TV channels: okto (English), Suria (Malay), Channel 8 (Mandarin) and Vasantham (Tamil). Season 3 of the Malay version started last month, with the English version premiering on March 3. The Tamil version begins on April 4, while the Mandarin version will start on April 13.

Catherine Yap, Senior Programming Director, Channel Management/Programming Strategy & Planning, TV, okto, said the fact that the series has consistently performed above the time-belt average on all four channels is a testament to the show’s long-lasting popularity.

What’s the secret of its popularity? As Gomez and Sim said, the children really just want to see the cats.

Q: Be honest, now: What is the worst thing about working with kids?

Gomez: For me, it’s going close to their cat costumes, because it’s full of fur. When I breathe in, I start to sneeze!

Sim: Actually the poor boy (who plays) Yoyo was allergic to his own fur. He was sneezing, but he just went on with the show and didn’t complain.

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