THE latest 'bad boy with a heart of gold' to roll off the Home and Away
assembly line is former Muswellbrook lad Cameron Welsh.
He splashed down in Summer Bay late last week playing mysterious Mitch
McColl, a 16-year-old drifter who immediately ticked off grouchy shopkeeper Alf
and took an instant shine to angelic Hayley (much to the hormonal horror of her
steady squeeze, Sam).
Welsh, 22, describes Mitch as 'your basic bad boy with a heart of gold'.
'He's quite emotionally scarred and guarded,' Welsh said. 'But he's also
romantic. It doesn't take him long. I think he was in town for all of five
seconds before he caught a glimpse of Hayley. You can expect a few more sparks
there. There's a bit of chemistry.'
While Mitch has his troubles, he's not quite as screwed up as the teen killer
Welsh played last month in the hard-hitting ABC crime drama Wildside.
Psychotic Josh Addison (State Coroner's Bob Baines played his dad) confessed
to the savage slaying of a homeless Vietnam vet in what TV Herald acclaimed as
'one of the most unnerving suspect interviews' seen on the show - and for
Wildside, that's saying something!
Now that he's locked into the soap machine for three years, Welsh admits he's
unlikely to employ Wildside's 'practical aesthetics' acting technique.
'On Wildside instead of worrying about getting into character, you place
yourself into the scene and it keeps you truthful,' he explained.
'Here, of course, it's a bit different. It all needs to be a bit bigger, more
heightened and animated. For something like Wildside you can play it down but
here I'm finding it a real challenge so far to get the kind of energy that
matches with everybody else.
'When you're working with people like Lynne McGranger and Ray Meagher, as
Eileen and Alf, who are really larger-than-life characters, if you're playing it
subtly and naturally it just falls apart.
'Now I'm learning that other side of acting, which is still maintaining the
truth but hamming it up a bit.'
Born and raised in Muswellbrook, Welsh was a keen drama and music student at
school, wrote plays and even had his own band.
He was 17 when he left town to pursue an acting career in Sydney but wound up
doing an apprenticeship as a chef - like his older brother, now based in
Welsh's mother and father, who work in the mining industry, still live in
He reckons he caught the acting bug from an uncle.
He auditioned for Home and Away thinking it would be a guest role.
'I did the test, it went well and my agent said the producers liked it. He
said they were going to make me an offer but that he'd meant to tell me it was
actually for three years.
'At that stage I was thinking three months would be sweet, so three years was
like "Phew!" That would have been my reaction to the thought of doing anything
for three years. I mean, I was a cook before I did this and I'd never held a job
for much more than six months or a year.
'Three years of anything sounded like a prison sentence. But then I thought
about it and realised that three years of solid work would give me solid
training in all the technical aspects of TV.
'We're working multi-camera in a small studio. We're putting out 2 hours of
drama a week, which is quite fast.'
Welsh said the character of Mitch had arrived in Summer Bay with enough
emotional baggage to keep the acting job stimulating.
'Mitch is mysterious and I guess that's the other good thing about having a
three-year contract,' he said. 'At the moment, I'm starting him off without
trying to give too much away and then see what develops in the writing and with
the other actors on the show.'
Home and Away, 7pm weekdays, Prime