Dave McCormack has built his career and legacy on his voice.
The Australian singer first found fame as the frontman for cult band Custard, a natural progression for an aspiring rock star with a signature sound.
But he didn’t necessarily expect to one day become a celebrity simply for speaking – yet that’s what the 53-year-old has done as the voice of Bandit, the cartoon father of Blue Heeler Bluey in the wildly popular kids’ show named after the puppy character.
The show’s creators are currently fine-tuning the programme’s third season as parents and children alike clamour for more seven-minute episodes. Bluey has been lauded for its emphasis on play in child development, its relatable family scenarios and its portrayal of modern parenthood, among other things.
Mr MCormack is a parent himself with parents who fit into the target audience of Bluey viewers when he first came on board with the show, which debuted in Australia before the BBC and Disney bought its international rights in 2019.
But his involvement with Bluey came about in a haphazard way, he told The Guardian in 2019 – through contracts made with his soundtrack company Sonar.
“I thought it was just going to be reading a couple of lines, but I ended up reading all of them for the pilot,” Mr McCormack said, adding: “They send me the script, they highlight my lines, and I just read my lines.
“I don’t have to act, I don’t have to change my voice or anything. I don’t hear anybody else talking; all I do is literally read what they tell me to and that’s it. And they do all the animation and all the other voices and the music.
“So I had no idea what it would look like. And then they sent me the pilot and it was like hey, this is pretty good!”
Parents the world over share that opinion; Bluey has shattered records and sparked fruitful conversations about everything from diversity, cultural awareness and childhood development to parenting styles.
But the voice of Bandit – held up as a “father idol” by endless frustrated paternal figures sitting in front of screens – says he still finds his role in the children’s show surprising.
“Who would have thought in 1992 that we’d be talking in 2019 about me being the voice of a parent dog?” he told The Guardian.
Bluey debuted in the US in 2019 on Disney Junior and its first two seasons can be viewed streaming on Disney+.