Lend a help­ing Cam

Mas­ter of ren­o­va­tion Scott Cam tells Colin Vick­ery that he has learnt to count his bless­ings

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide -

SCOTT Cam says work­ing on home­ren­o­va­tion show Do­mes­tic Blitz has driven home a sim­ple but pow­er­ful life les­son — don’t sweat the small stuff.

Cam and the Do­mes­tic Blitz team have done com­plete house and gar­den makeovers for fam­i­lies con­fronting mo­men­tous health is­sues.

The first episode fea­tured Natalie New­man, 29, a mother fight­ing ovar­ian can­cer. Other episodes have fea­tured Fi­nola, a young mother bat­tling ag­gres­sive can­cer caused by ex­po­sure to as­bestos, and Kel­lie Shaw, whose brother has cys­tic fi­bro­sis.

Work­ing closely with the fam­i­lies has been an emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for Cam, a fa­ther of three (he and wife Ann have son Char­lie, 10, and twins Sarah and Bill, 7). Cam’s fa­ther died from can­cer, his mother has had can­cer and one of his best mates is bat­tling can­cer.

‘‘When you have kids you think of mor­tal­ity and try­ing to be healthy and liv­ing as long as you can, and to see peo­ple with young fam­i­lies that are in strife is just tragic,’’ Cam says.

‘‘You see some­one in a tough po­si­tion and think, ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ and here we are just try­ing to help them out slightly. We’re not solv­ing their prob­lems, but we’re mak­ing their lives a dash eas­ier for a short amount of time and hope­fully things will be­come smoother for them.’’

The re­solve and hu­mil­ity of the fam­i­lies has also had a pro­found ef­fect on Cam.

‘‘Natalie and Rick on the first show were the most amaz­ing cou­ple. They didn’t want any­thing. They said, ‘We don’t de­serve this’. It’s amaz­ing that they think like that, whereas I think a lot of peo­ple would say, ‘Give me some­thing, I’m in trou­ble’.’’

Do­mes­tic Blitz marks a wel­come hit for Cam af­ter Back­yard Blitz was can­celled in 2006. The show has av­er­aged about 1.4 mil­lion view­ers in its first month on air, beat­ing Chan­nel 7’s Gla­di­a­tors and Chan­nel 10’s Big Brother.

It also puts to rest the failed Our Place, the 2005 stu­dio-based lifestyle pro­gram that Cam co-hosted with Cherie Hausler, which was can­celled af­ter five episodes.

Cam re­mained un­der con­tract to Nine af­ter Back­yard Blitz ended, but oc­ca­sional ap­pear­ances on To­day, A Cur­rent Af­fair and 20 To 1 were in­sub­stan­tial. He has spent the past year build­ing a new fam­ily home and run­ning his build­ing busi­ness, rather than wor­ry­ing about his television ca­reer.

Mean­while, Jamie Durie switched to Seven and launched him­self in the US mar­ket af­ter sign­ing a lu­cra­tive deal for a reg­u­lar spot on Oprah.

‘‘ Back­yard Blitz was a fan­tas­tic part of my life and it was very sad when it fin­ished,’’ Cam says. ‘‘We were to­gether for eight years and did about 160 back yards. We wanted to keep it go­ing, but ev­ery­body’s moved on and we’re all happy.’’

Cam says Do­mes­tic Blitz came along at ex­actly the right time. He needed a new chal­lenge and teaming with for­mer Great Out­doors pre­sen­ter Shelley Craft, who switched from Seven to Nine in Jan­uary and re­placed Toni Pearen on Aus­tralia’s Fun­ni­est Home Videos, has been sur­pris­ingly easy.

‘‘Shelley is so fan­tas­tic. It’s like we’ve worked to­gether for 20 years,’’ he says.

‘‘She’s easy­go­ing and I’m knock­about as well. There are no airs and graces.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously, she’s ex­tremely beau­ti­ful. I haven’t hit my thumb this many times since I was a first-year ap­pren­tice be­cause she keeps dis­tract­ing me.’’

Ca­sual work: (left) Scott Cam is keen to do more work with Shelley Craft.

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