Se­cret ro­mance

Even Richie Stra­han’s mum doesn’t know who he’s fallen for on The Bach­e­lor

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - By TIF­FANY DUNK

NEW ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Hi­lary Innes felt an enor­mous re­spon­si­bil­ity on her first day on the up­com­ing se­ries of The Bach­e­lor.

Hav­ing been a self-pro­fessed Richie Stra­han fan be­fore land­ing the plum gig – “I wanted him to win

The Bach­e­lorette,” she says – the pres­sure was on to make sure they found him an amaz­ing batch of women to choose from when he took over hand­ing out the roses.

“Meet­ing him and see­ing he was as gen­uine and lovely as he ap­peared on the show, I though, ‘Oh man, we need to find girls who are real con­tenders’,” Innes says.

“That re­spon­si­bil­ity and bur­den was fore­most in my mind from the first time I met him.”

Luck­ily for Innes it ap­pears she’s done her work well. While Stra­han is keep­ing mum on which girl he will choose from the 22 con­tenders we’ll meet this week, he con­firmed to TV

Guide he found love on the show. “I’m ab­so­lutely re­ally happy … she’s an in­cred­i­ble woman,” he says.

But be­fore we get to that part, we have an epic – to use a Bach­e­lor cliche – jour­ney to go through first.

And Stra­han prom­ises it will keep view­ers en­ter­tained from night one’s ar­rivals – which, ac­cord­ing to the pro­duc­ers, will bring all the usual mad­cap an­tics we ex­pect from the TV dat­ing fran­chise.

“That first night was sim­ply just bril­liant,” Stra­han says of his de­but as The Bach­e­lor. “I could put my­self in the girls’ shoes be­cause I’ve been there. So I’m try­ing to make the girls re­lax, but at the same time I’m like, ‘What is hap­pen­ing!’

“[That night was] some­thing I’ll hold close for a long time.”

Osher Guns­berg has hosted the show since it de­buted in 2013. And he says the re­ac­tion Stra­han was met with from the in­com­ing Bach­e­lorettes was over­whelm­ing.

“The amount of limos that pulled up where the ladies were like, ‘Oh, my god, I’m so stoked it’s him’, or, ‘I was hop­ing it was him’, was in­cred­i­ble,” Guns­berg says.

Mak­ing a good im­pres­sion was just as im­por­tant to Stra­han.

In fact, Guns­berg says, the pres­sure Stra­han put on him­self to put each girl at ease ac­tu­ally had an au­di­ble re­ac­tion when it came time for each rose cer­e­mony.

“I wait just out­side the room and I’ve got an ear piece so I can hear what’s go­ing on in there,” he says.

“I could lit­er­ally hear his heart beat­ing … that mi­cro­phone picked up every sound of his heart­beat. And that’s sig­nif­i­cant.”

Stra­han in­sists that while he felt nerves, he has no doubt he made the right de­ci­sion about who stayed and went each week.

And now he’s just ea­gerly count­ing down the days un­til he and the woman who re­ceives that last rose can take their love public.

Not even hav­ing told his mother of the out­come, Stra­han jokes he has hired the SAS to hide the win­ning woman un­til the fi­nale airs.

“We’ve got a full tac­ti­cal re­sponse, black-hawk chop­pers, camo gear, it’s quite amaz­ing,” he says.

“No, we’ve got a plan. And there’s a lot of trust there.”

THE BACH­E­LOR AUS­TRALIA

WEDNES­DAY AND THURS­DAY, 7.30PM, WIN

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