It’s really Miley Cyrus – dimpled daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus – who plays pop star Hannah in the Disney Channel show.
Only Miley’s not Miley Cyrus in the TV series but Miley Stewart, even though Billy Ray still plays her father. No one realises Miley has a secret life either, despite the fact her entire disguise consists of a platinum blonde wig.
The upshot is Disney has squeezed twice as much Miley-age out of its 16-year-old cash-cow, having her record albums as Hannah and Miley and play both in 2007’s Best Of Both Worlds concert tour. The Clark Kent-style charade continues in Hannah Montana: The Movie.
You wonder if this could be Disney’s gentle way of weaning its young consumers off the Hannah archetype, thus enabling Cyrus to start the next stage of her career. It’s something that adds a touch of tension to what is otherwise a perfectly harmless slice of anodyne children’s fare, which sees bigheaded Miley whisked away from Los Angeles for an overdue reality check in Crowley Corners, her Tennessee home town.
There she learns how to reconnect with the inner Miley – the one who liked riding horses and having hoedowns with her redneck relatives. There’s trouble in paradise, though, with Miley chased by a tabloid hack while a nasty property developer plans to bulldoze Main Street.
Rest assured this fish-out-of-water yarn is resolved with a pop concert – what else? – that lets Cyrus strut her not inconsiderable stuff in both of her guises. Which is good, as that’s all her fans really want from her.