LEND­ING A HELP­ING HAND

Shel­ley Craft is used to mak­ing her view­ers laugh and cry. Guy Davis got a lit­tle misty- eyed talk­ing to the Do­mes­tic Blitz host.

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Tele­vi­sion view­ers tend to ex­pe­ri­ence mixed emo­tions when­ever they catch a show pre­sented by Shel­ley Craft. “ We laughed on Satur­day night and then we cried and cried on Sun­day night”, is how Craft de­scribes the re­sponse she re­ceives from peo­ple who tune into the long-run­ning Aus­tralia’s Fun­ni­est Home Videos and Do­mes­tic Blitz.

The lat­ter pro­gram has re­cently re­turned to the Chan­nel Nine line-up for six spe­cial episodes that see Craft, handy­man Scott Cam and the rest of the Blitz team ren­o­vat­ing the homes and gar­dens of a hand­ful of Aussie fam­i­lies do­ing it hard for a num­ber of rea­sons.

And ac­cord­ing to the eff erves­cent and en­thu­si­as­tic Craft, who also presents the new Nine pro­gram Money for Jam, it’s the au­di­ence’s sense of good­will to­wards their friends and neigh­bours that makes Do­mes­tic Blitz so pop­u­lar with its view­ers.

“ So many Aus­tralian fam­i­lies are fac­ing tough times, whether it’s a fi nan­cial cri­sis or an emo­tional one, whether it’s a med­i­cal sit­u­a­tion or the pass­ing of a fam­ily mem­ber,” she said.

“ So I think the real ap­peal of the show lies in every­one be­ing able to re­late to it.

“ We gen­er­ally hear from fans of the show that they’re in tears dur­ing an episode, and we hope that they are tears of em­pa­thy, of sur­prise and ex­cite­ment, and of joy by the end.

“ But I think the best and most beau­ti­ful feed­back comes from fam­i­lies fea­tured on Do­mes­tic Blitz in the past – we’ve had peo­ple who were on the show a year or two years ago send­ing us emails say­ing that they watched the show on Sun­day night and thought the fam­ily we helped was so de­serv­ing and were re­minded how lucky they were that we came to visit them. That’s a lovely thing to be part of.”

The mak­ing of th­ese six Blitz episodes was an un­der-the-radar op­er­a­tion com­pared to the usual shoot­ing of the show, with the mak­ers of the pro­gram search­ing through many nom­i­na­tions to fi nd both fam­i­lies who could re­ally use a help­ing hand and sto­ries that would make com­pelling view­ing for the Do­mes­tic Blitz au­di­ence.

“ We were a bit stealthy with th­ese episodes. We started shoot­ing them be­fore any of them went to air, so once we were back on air the nom­i­na­tions came fl ood­ing in.”

And many times Craft has found that the peo­ple who nom­i­nate fam­i­lies to be as­sisted by the show won’t even know how hard the go­ing can be for those fam­i­lies.

“ A lot of the time they’ll be suff er­ing in si­lence – they’ll be nom­i­nated by friends or fam­ily and even they won’t know how tough th­ese peo­ple are do­ing it un­til the episode goes to air,” she said. “ We’ve re­ceived so much feed­back that goes ‘ I nom­i­nated them be­cause I thought they were great peo­ple. I didn’t re­alise how hard things were for them’.”

At your ser­vice: Richard Reid, Shel­ley Craft and Scott Cam lead the Do­mes­tic Blitz crew; Craft’s lat­est help mis­sion in­volves dol­ing out fi nan­cial ad­vice on Money for Jam, along­side ( inset) Paul Clitheroe, Effi e Za­hos and Shane Craw­ford.

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