Locals do their block over red
Not everyone is happy when reality TV moves next door, writes
SECRECY is high priority for any taped reality TV show but after a flood of complaints were lodged regarding a ‘‘big red house’’ in an affluent Melbourne suburb, The Block’s cover was blown.
Channel 9’s reality show had to comply with a council directive and allay the fears of locals that a house they had painted red in Melbourne bayside suburb of Elwood would be restored to its normal glory, says host Scott Cam.
The house, looking as if it would be at home on a Wiggles stage, is just the first of many changes viewers will notice on the fifth season of The Block.
Cam says tweaking the format slightly and changes, such as the initial elimination challenges in the ‘‘big red house’’, are all about refurbishing the series and keeping it visually interesting and entertaining.
‘‘The council had something like 150 complaints in the space of about two days about the house and in the end they gave us like 28 days to remove it after we finished shooting,’’ says Cam.
‘‘The locals were upset until they found out it was only temporary and we got it back to its original status in a month.
‘‘We have to build up The Block every year and make it bigger and better.
‘‘Our contestants think they know what they are in for and then we throw something like this (the house) at them.’’
Eight teams (of two) start week one in a sudden-death, 24-hour elimination battle, centred within the walls of the big red house.
The winning four teams then each receive $125,000 in cash and vouchers to renovate one of four dilapidated threestorey terrace houses, which do not have running water, sewerage or even a floor.
Cam does provide helpful hints along the way, but makes sure he is fair to all teams.
‘‘When we get into the main house I give them all a bit of a helping hand along the way but I don’t pick any tools up,’’ Cam says.
For those who like to cheer along state lines, you may be disappointed.
Of the eight couples contesting The Block, four teams are from Victoria, two from NSW, one from Western Australia and one from Queensland.
The contestants are brothers Andrew and Mike (NSW), couple Brad and Courtney (WA), mother and son Rana and Brett (Vic), newlyweds Brendan & Michelle (Vic), couple Dani & Dan (Vic), couple Brad and Lara (NSW), newlyweds Sophie and Dale (Vic) and father and daughter Larry and Jessie (Qld).
Monday to Friday, 7pm, Nine, NBN.
The cast of (back, left to right) Courtney, Andrew, Mike, Sophie, Dale, Rana, Brett; (middle) Brad H, Michelle, Dan, host Scott Cam, Larry, Brad C, Lara; (front) Brendan, Dani, Jess.