RULES

House Rules, writes HOLLY BYRNES

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TV GUIDE -

BY her own ad­mis­sion, Joh Griggs is “ab­so­lutely bug­gered and men­tally fa­tigued” after spend­ing al­most a year on the road, film­ing three lifestyle shows for Chan­nel Seven.

But the host of this sea­son’s all-new re­vamped

and Seven’s other lust­watch se­ries

still can’t con­tain her en­thu­si­asm for life, both on-screen and off it.

De­spite her hec­tic TV sched­ule, Griggs has just recharged the bat­ter­ies on a camp­ing trip in which she clocked up 5000km over the Easter long week­end on a driv­ing hol­i­day along­side her hus­band Todd Hug­gins, as well as in­dus­try mates Jim Wil­son and Chris Bath, and the cou­ples’ “bird nerd” sons.

It says ev­ery­thing about Griggs’ bound­less en­ergy that she says: “We did not want to come back, all of us just wanted to keep driv­ing … it was awe­some.” Her en­thu­si­asm is in­fec­tious but not en­tirely based on her hol­i­day high, with changes to

re-en­er­gis­ing the cast and re-in­vig­o­rat­ing the re­al­ity TV brand.

Griggs cred­its the show’s new lead­er­ship team of Evan Wilkes and Amanda Reynierse for free­ing up the for­mat: amp­ing up the fun and adding more per­son­al­ity to the judg­ing panel.

Bring­ing his sig­na­ture sass and vast ex­pe­ri­ence in the re­al­ity ren­o­va­tion genre, for­mer pre­sen­ter Lau­rence Llewe­lynBowen will un­ques­tion­ably be this sea­son’s break­out star, with Griggs his No.1 fan.

“I love him so much,” she says. “We’ve got two new judges and Drew [Heath] is quite bril­liant, but it’s Lau­rence who re­ally ar­rives … he hams it up, he’s so much fun.”

The UK in­te­rior and de­sign ex­pert made head­lines when in­tro­duc­ing him­self to Aus­tralian view­ers, telling peo­ple they should love their homes so much they should want to “lick their walls”.

Griggs says his ec­cen­tric fash­ions and sharp wit made for a laugh a minute.

“Oc­ca­sion­ally, he’ll push the bound­aries and I’ll have to say, ‘Lau­rence, we have a cer­tain time slot here in Aus­tralia’, and then he re­phrases it with some­thing equally bril­liant. I mean, he’s ab­so­lutely bonkers, but he’s so good,” she says.

While pre­vi­ous sea­sons have kept con­tes­tants and judges apart, this time they’ve been en­cour­aged to in­ter­act – and the re­sults are both hi­lar­i­ous and in­for­ma­tive, Griggs says. “The teams have al­ways had ques­tions and now they’re be­ing en­cour­aged to ask those ques­tions. And oc­ca­sion­ally they’re very silly and chal­lenge the judges on the things they’ve said. With Lau­rence, it’s like a cat play­ing with a toy … he has enough fun, then he just swats the toy.”

After one judg­ment day, Griggs was floored when an ar­gu­ment over a kitchen turned into a mas­ter class smack­down. “One of the team mem­bers was like, ‘Well, what would you do?’, and Wendy [Moore, judge] just looked at him and said, ‘Re­ally? Well, here are my top five ideas’, and Drew had another two so­lu­tions, and then Lau­rence had two on top of that,” Griggs says. “In my head I was think­ing, ‘We just got the most ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of knowl­edge out of these bril­liant peo­ple with these bril­liant minds, who came up with nine dif­fer­ent ways to ap­proach what they’ve done’.

“I went home with the big­gest smile on my face and said to Todd, ‘Oh my God, it’s a whole dif­fer­ent ball game this year – and it is so bril­liant’.”

HOUSE RULES

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