GREAT SCOTT

THE BLOCK HOST TAKES A HANDS-ON ROLE IN THE BIG­GEST RENO RES­CUE IN THE SHOW’S HIS­TORY

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SEANNA CRONIN

This year’s se­ries of The Block is as much a res­cue mis­sion as it is a ren­o­va­tion. The long-run­ning re­al­ity se­ries takes on its big­gest chal­lenge to date: re­lo­cat­ing five crum­bling her­itage homes from across Mel­bourne to new foun­da­tions in El­stern­wick, where they will be gut­ted and made over into mod­ern fam­ily homes.

The con­cept came about the day af­ter last year’s Block fi­nale, which saw Queens­land’s Will and Kar­lie crowned the win­ners.

“We were at the auc­tion of the Port Mel­bourne se­ries last year and one of the agents said to me, ‘Are you look­ing for new sites? I’ve got 3000sq m block of land in El­stern­wick’,” The Block’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Ju­lian Cress tells Play.

“The day af­ter the auc­tion I got in my car and drove over here. I walked around the site. I had the idea of putting old houses on it.”

That turned out to be eas­ier said than done.

“What sounded like a re­ally great idea in my head turned into some­thing that was far more chal­leng­ing than any­thing we’ve ever done be­fore,” he says.

“Usu­ally we buy a build­ing and ren­o­vate it but we started with noth­ing and then we had to go out and find the houses.

“We’re sav­ing these houses from de­mo­li­tion and giv­ing them a new lease on life, and by the time we fin­ish this project these houses are go­ing to stand here for an­other 100 years. I think the au­di­ence will re­ally em­brace that.”

Host Scott Cam per­son­ally trans­ported one half of one of the homes to the job site.

“I’ve done it twice ac­tu­ally, both times in the bush,” he says. “We brought the house in, put it to­gether and put it on stumps. It’s a ru­ral thing to do and that’s why this is so unique.

“We’re do­ing five of them in a row in the sub­urbs and cre­at­ing the set of The

Sul­li­vans, re­ally. “If some­one else bought this block of land they would have put 60 town­houses here. We’re putting five beau­ti­ful old homes that are go­ing to be ren­o­vated within an inch of their lives.”

To bring these old beau­ties into the 21st cen­tury, five new teams of am­a­teur ren­o­va­tors have their work cut out for them.

But don’t be sur­prised to see multi-mil­lion-dol­lar price tags come auc­tion day.

“This chal­lenge we’ve cre­ated here is cer­tainly big­ger than any­thing we’ve given any­one be­fore,” Ju­lian says.

“Not only do they have to com­pletely ren­o­vate a fourbed­room home, they also have to build two ex­ten­sions on that and they’ve got to do a front and back gar­den.

“It’s a ridicu­lous thing to ask any­one to do in three months ... If they can pull this off, then they can po­ten­tially do bet­ter than any­one’s ever done on The Block.” Sea­son 13 of The Block pre­mieres Sun­day at 7pm on Chan­nel 9

THESE HOUSES ARE GO­ING TO STAND HERE FOR AN­OTHER 100 YEARS

The Block host Scott Cam takes a hands-on role in the lat­est se­ries.

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