Lo­cals do their block over red

Not ev­ery­one is happy when re­al­ity TV moves next door, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV -

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.

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