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Spreading the Cheer at Carols in the Domain

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Spreading the Cheer at Carols in the Domain


Carols in the Domain


Saturday at 8.40pm

Tim Campbell, who has played Dan Baker on Seven's Home and Away since 2004, describes himself with a laugh as "one of those actors who can't say no to anything". Don't take that to mean, however, that his arm had to be twisted when it came to taking part in Seven's annual Christmas celebration, Carols in the Domain.

In fact, this year marks Campbell's third appearance at the event. He jokes that he made his first appearance a matter of months after joining Home and Away, figuring that he'd spent enough time as a Seven employee to earn his place on the stage.

"My first year, I was standing next to these pop singers and opera singers and I remember thinking 'Who the hell do I think I am?'" he said.

"And I must have swapped microphone hands about five times because I was sweating so much. But it's such a great event and I hope to do it for many years because it's such a buzz. When you're onstage, having thousands of people holding up their candles at once just looks really amazing."

For Campbell, it's also a nice way to wrap up the year at work, given that he finishes his scenes on Home and Away on Friday, then does Carols in the Domain the following night.

His talent for singing was discovered somewhat unexpectedly, with Campbell revealing that he either lucked out or bluffed his way into the gigs that required him to belt out a number or two.

"I never thought about performing as a career until I was about 21 or so," he said. "I started with acting, did a couple of jobs here and there and then I went for this job singing at a theme park in Sydney. I'd never sung or danced before, so I don't know why the hell I went for it!"

As well as his theme park job, Campbell also moonlighted as the lead singer for a cover band called The Squid Munchies.

"I had some friends who were singers, and it always looked like fun when I went to their gigs," he said. "So when I heard about this band that was auditioning for a lead singer, I thought I'd give it a go and ended up working with them for about a year, playing pubs and clubs in Sydney." The Munchies' playlist was a mish-mash of '70s and '80s covers – "a bit of Footloose and Funky Town, maybe an ABBA medley," laughed Campbell. "So that was my attempt at being Robbie Williams. As far as singing goes, though, I've just kind of learned on the job."

Even though he's performed pop and rock, Campbell claims that his inherent dagginess has stopped him from getting the rock sound just right. "I'm not cool enough to pull it off, even if my voice suits the song," he laughed. "I like a bit of swing as well, so if I was doing my own stuff it'd be a bit of a pop-swing crossover. I used to play the trombone in jazz bands as well, so I'd maybe get some big band in there as well."

Campbell is modest about his prowess as a singer, but it has proven to be a lucrative side-gig to accompany his acting work. "I was always paranoid about my singing ability, but I also thought it would keep me active between acting jobs," he said. "And then I found for three or four years that I was actually singing more than I was acting."

He has regularly picked up work at theatre restaurants in Sydney and, interestingly, end-of-year pantomimes in far-flung locations like Singapore and Dubai. "They were great gigs, going over to play the prince or whatever," he said. "If I had the chance to get some time off work, I'd go do it this year because it's so much fun. You do a couple of shows a day but it basically feels like an endof- year holiday."

In addition to playing Dan on Home and Away, Campbell has spent the last couple of years developing his singing voice, "trying to take it a bit more seriously". "And I've had a bit of exposure thanks to Home and Away, so whenever telethons or events like Carols in the Domain come up, I whack my hand up and say 'Yeah, I'll give that a go'."

For this year's Carols in the Domain, Campbell's doing doubleduty. "I'm singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town this year, and I'm also getting together with two other dags to do We Three Kings, which'll be an interesting spectacle," he said.

"The line-up keeps changing but I think it's going to be David Hobson and Simon Reeve, so Simon and I will be bunging on our opera voices for that one."

Source: Rural Press Network

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