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.
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.