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