SCOTT Cam lets out a demonic laugh as he talks about the latest contestants on The Block.
The eight couples selected for Channel 9’s home renovation series face a torturous set of challenges.
First is the Big Red Elimination House in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Elwood.
Each couple is given just 24 hours to fully renovate, decorate and furnish one room.
Four couples are eliminated. I reckon they are the lucky ones.
The remaining couples face a 10-week contest to renovate four rundown terrace houses in inner-city South Melbourne.
The terraces will be three storeys high — with at least three bedrooms, 21/ bathrooms, plus study areas and two outdoor areas. There is no running water. It is cruel, and Cam knows it. ‘‘ This series is at least 30 per cent harder than the last one,’’ Cam chuckles.
‘‘ The bones of the terraces are great but there is so much extra work going up two more floors.
‘‘ All of these contestants had watched previous series of The Block and thought they were prepared.
‘‘ What they face is daunting. It has knocked them for six. Turns out they weren’t prepared at all — which we love.’’
This year’s contestants include mother and son team, Brett and Rhana; brothers Andrew and Mike; newlyweds Dale and Sophie; father and daughter Larry and Jessie; and the show’s youngest couple Brendan and Michelle, both 22. Shelley Craft is the show’s ‘‘ challenge queen’’. The rooms will be judged by Neale Whitaker, John Mcgrath and new recruit Shaynna Blaze.
When I arrive at the terraces it is apparent that the contestants have bitten off far more than they can chew.
It is just over a week into the competition and the area looks like a bomb site. The floor is dirt and the backs of the homes demolished.
The contestants are dazed from lack of sleep. They are living like squatters. This year, The Block will be in direct competition with Ten’s high rating Masterchef Australia in the 7pm time slot.
Cam is confident The Block will win that stoush.
‘‘ The Block is easy family viewing,’’ Cam says. ‘‘ Mum, dad and the kids can sit down and invest themselves in the contestants. They pick their favourites and follow them.’’ The Block, Channel 9, Monday, 7pm Scant sympathy: Host of