The Block on Channel 9 – Tonight, the combination of fatigue, stress and mud come to an almighty head.
Someone hide the pitchforks because landscaping week is about to get dirty!
There’s a lot to be done but some of our Blockheads have their minds deep into next week already. That’s because there’s a Mustang up for grabs and Ash, for one, would really like to win it.
In fact, he’s already calling it “my” Mustang Mach-E and we have a feeling Brett would have something to say about that.
It’s Leah, however, who has her eyes on the prize – and on her neighbour’s yard. She’s become increasingly displeased with what she can see as she peers over the fence and has turned into a mathematician.
Leah’s determined the full value of what Kyle and Leslie are doing and it exceeds the budget she assumes they have.
She is officially outraged.
Leah and Ash have already openly declared House 1 are “playing it dirty” (direct quote) and that they’re “the biggest players in the game” (also direct quote). And now, they’re doubling down on these claims.
“I just don’t think Leslie’s understanding the process,” Leah rants, as she and Ash agree things aren’t fair. They speculate that the incredible backyard that House 1 are creating will also mean they will sell their home for more money when it comes time for the final auction.
“But how do you explain this to people who don’t understand?!” Leah explodes. “They’ve played the game since day one,” she adds.
“Leslie’s not silly,” agrees Ash.
When Leah bumps into Leslie at McCafe, she is surprised to find Leslie isn’t her usual warm and bubbly self… and we cannot possibly imagine why that is.
“I sort of felt like Leslie was already annoyed at me for bringing [up the cost of her landscaping],” Leah muses.
“What are your thoughts on this whole Troy situation?” Leah asks Leslie, who was until now not aware there was a “Troy situation” at all.
Kyle and Leslie set a fixed quote budget earlier with their landscaper Troy and everyone involved knows what that is.
But Leah would also like to be involved.
Leslie is completely done with discussing Leah’s concerns. “Nobody actually knows what money I’ve got or have put aside,” she confirms coolly.
She returns home to recount the interaction with Kyle. He firmly says Leah simply needs to worry about what’s happening in her own backyard (literally) and stop worrying about everyone else’s.
One couple who is squarely focused on their yard is House 5. They simply have no other option if they want to finish their space. Liberty and Eliza have a tiny team consisting of a young landscaper and his apprentice and so they’re chipping in as much as possible.
Eliza literally helps pour concrete, which is taking up a large portion of their space. The pair have a lot of painting to do, which is proving to be a major irritation to them both.
Irritation is proving to be extremely contagious, because down the road in House 3, Kristy has caught a dose of it too. She has realised that House 2 are using her backyard as an access point. That’s about to be put to a stop.
“I thought, ‘Hey, [you at House 2] are in the business of screwing everyone over, so I’m going to close my fence,'” Kristy recounts.
Kristy kindly lets everyone know that the access point is about to cease.
Everyone that is, but House 2.
Leah is shaken but not surprised when she discovers the gap is now officially closed. On the fence… and their friendship, it seems.
She pivots and instead gets access through Steph and Gian’s yard. “Kristy’s plan was to rattle us and it didn’t,” Leah confirms merrily.
“Well played,” Kristy smirks.
The tone is set for a lovely, collaborative meeting of everyone – aka The Great Block Bucks Swap.
Block Bucks are essentially vouchers provided by sponsors, which allow contestants the chance to decorate and design without dipping into their bank accounts. Everyone has a few left over and by now, they all have favourite stores and an idea of what they want to swap for.
And so begins a rapid fire round of swapsies…
“We were able to help each other out … to hopefully score some things we needed,” Liberty explained.
The Block on Channel 9
Leah, who has been extremely open about her love for one store in particular, only had eyes for vouchers with Camerich written on them. She has a huge and expensive wish list for the shop and is desperate to deck out her backyard with the coveted items.
Recently, she tried to convince Steph to gift her a huge amount of credit, which didn’t go down well…
There is a time limit of just three minutes for the entire swap session and Leah is prepared to maximise every second.
We have no idea what anyone specifically gets, because Leah uses the session to make sure she locks down the Camerich credit she has been desperate for. She trades Freedom vouchers for Camerich credit from Leslie, before throwing just about all she has left at Steph for as much Camerich as she’s willing to part with.
As the timer beeps, signalling the end of the swap, Leah has managed to claw together over $17,000 worth of credit… and secured her entire wish list.
She wastes no time in placing her order, a huge grin on her face.
But her frenemies next door are not smiling whatsoever. Kristy and Brett got off to a rocky start with their landscaping team and things are not getting any better.
Brett is rattled by what the landscaper is proposing. It’s not high quality enough for their luxurious home and Brett questions his landscaper’s abilities.
“He’s promised the world and… I can feel it crumbling,” he says.
He asks the landscaper is he feels he’s capable of pulling off their plans and asks his builder to help execute the job. Brett’s builder is just as concerned as he is with the chaotic approach, but the pair privately agree to give the landscaper another day to see how things go.
Steph and Gian are also feeling overwhelmed, but for a different reason. The pair have both just experienced the unfathomable loss of both of their grandfathers, and it’s all taking a huge emotional toll.
“I can tell [Gian’s] on the edge and it’s really hard to see,” Steph says, her voice choked with tears. “He’s not OK.”
They make the incredibly sensible decision to head offsite for a break together. “To just recharge the batteries,” Gian explains.
As they prepare to leave for a while, Gian is stopped by his renderer. “Sorry for your loss,” the renderer says meaningfully. “Don’t worry. We’re here for you. No problem. We’re here.”
It’s a beautiful and supportive moment and it’s clear Gian is struggling to contain himself.
“I’m not OK,” he admits.
Gian explains he typically switches off and feels numb, rather than letting himself sink into big emotions. “This whole experience has really pushed me to grow as a person,” he shares. “And I thought I would not be doing myself justice as a person if I did not go through the emotional rollercoaster that comes with death and grief.”
Steph shares that her role is to help her husband get through the tough time and the two check in gently with one another as they quietly drive around Melbourne, away from the frantic site and alone with just each other.
It’s an absolutely superb decision from Steph and Gian and we have a feeling we’re not the only ones wiping the mist from our eyes and sucking back the big breaths right now.
But the chaos of Block life continues… and so does the whirlwind of Leah and Ash’s minds when it comes to House 1’s landscaping.
Finished with her analysis of House 1’s budget, Leah has just done the calculations on her own landscaping thus far and it’s a lot. So instead of focusing on that, she decides now is the ideal time to confront Kyle and Leslie.
She decides a new way to approach this is to ask House 1 for some budgeting “tips”.
She and Ash approach Leslie and immediately state they don’t believe Troy, their landscaper, has given them a reasonable quote.
To say Leslie is unimpressed would be a whopping understatement. She throws Kyle a look of absolute desperation, and he immediately comes to her side for what turns out to be a huge confrontation.
Leah asks Leslie if she really believes that what their paying is legitimate and Ash adds his labour bill alone is $30,00 so he’s struggling to understand how Troy is working to a fixed budget of $40,000.
“Everyone’s gotta get paid though, that’s the thing,” Ash says.
Kyle calmly explains that everyone is getting paid and Leslie adds that they don’t need to provide the inner logistics of their plan to anyone.
Including Leah and Ash.
“So… do you reckon [Troy] is paying people fairly?” Leah insists. Ash pipes up and asks them to consider how they’d feel if things were reversed.
Leslie immediately confirms she would not care a jot what they do in their own yard.
In fact, she continues, yesterday things were reversed and House 2 had a tonne of workers while she had a mere four. “I never once questioned anything,” she says.
Leah and Ash proceed to tell Kyle and Leslie exactly how much they believe House 1’s labour and materials will cost. Leah even adds Troy would probably have a good idea how much he had spent thus far.
Kyle and Leslie’s faces indicate they do not find this uninitiated lesson in budgeting or paying people helpful whatsoever.
Leah asks if she could simply find out how much Troy has spent to date and Kyle’s heard enough. He tells Leah that there is no rationale for Troy giving her that detail.
It’s at this exact moment that Troy turns up and Ash immediately asks him, “Short question. I’m a client and I want that exact backyard. How much?”
Ash has a smile on his face, but Troy is speechless.
Leah takes this to mean that he doesn’t know how to answer the question. So she immediately starts drilling him about what he got through sponsors and what he paid for.
Troy is taken aback and fires back that he’s allowed to get percent off. “I’ve got the invoice. You want to see the invoice?” he asks.
Well yes, they would. But Leslie has heard more than enough.
“You don’t have to show contestants invoices,” she says in a very calm voice.
Leah and Ash continue lecturing Troy about what he can and can’t discount, as an infuriated Leslie places her chin on her palm and looks on in utter disbelief.
When Leah demands to know exactly what he is paying who, Troy is flummoxed. “I don’t need to justify myself to you,” he retorts.
It’s not what House 2 want to hear.
“There’s rules!” Ash snipes.
But Kyle, Leslie and Troy are adamant that they’re playing by those rules. “Stay in your lane,” they say of House 2. “Or just stay on your side of the fence.”
Tensions are at an all time high but Leah’s about to fire her final shot.
“Do you mind if I go and ask for an audit on your backyard?” she queries.
Leslie drily says that if an audit is being called, it’s being done for the entire competition. Leah readily agrees.
Leah scoffs when Troy explains he has used apprentices to save on labour costs and embraced sponsor materials. “I can tell you right now landscape apprentices are not doing backyards like that,” she says, incredulous.
Ash chips in that there seem to be grey areas around who is paying what, but Leslie is not volunteering to do any colouring in.
Troy is equally over the bold demands. “To be honest,” he says. “I don’t really care what you do. I’m worried about what I’ve gotta do.”
“Feels like you don’t know what you’re paying, or what you’re getting charged for, or who’s paying what,” Ash finishes as Leah confirms again that she’s calling an audit.
They’re stunned when Leslie simply walks away.
What they don’t realise is that she’s furious. To the cameras, Leslie says she’s aware that for an audit to take place, a Body Corporate needs to be held. “And if people vote to have an audit, there’s probably going to be a lot of people I’m not talking to.”
She cannot believe Leah has accused her, on national television, of dodgy behaviour. She also can’t believe Leah’s accosted her on the street and pulled her away from her landscaping to do so.
So she gets revenge in a way that she knows will hit hard.
She cancels the Camerich voucher swap.
Only, she doesn’t tell Leah herself. Instead, she cancels the swap directly, leaving Leah to discover the ramifications of the showdown at a later date.
The deal is dead… and so, apparently, are any friendly neighbourhood relations between Houses 1 and 2.
This recap has been used with permission from Channel 9
Special thanks to Lulu Wilkinson at Nine.
Link to 9Now HERE
Link to Lulu’s full recap including with extra video content and info HERE
The Block on Channel 9
About The Block
Get ready, Australia. The Block, the number one renovation reality program, returns for an incredible 19th season on Sunday, August 6, at 7.00pm on Channel 9 and 9Now.
Set in the family-friendly Melbourne suburb of Hampton East, the new series features five houses designed and built in the 1950s and located on the aptly named Charming Street. These grand old dames are now aged in their 70s and way overdue for a contemporary update.
For the first time in Block history, host Scott Cam will be providing contestants with the full renovation schedule ahead of time this season. So get your cameras out, Blockheads, it’s photo time.
Adding to the year of Block firsts and amping up the stakes at play during the 48-hour House Decider Challenge, contestants will be seeing all finished designs of the houses on Day 1. Who will prevail and get the house of their choice?
Not only will they get the schedule and designs up front, but in another first, they’ll receive their entire budgets as well.
However, the Blockheads will soon find out that it’s not all smooth sailing when renovating an original 1950s home – structural issues, extreme weather events, and a mountain of demolition will test our five keen couples every step of the way.
Plus, The Block’s state-versus-state rivalry will be amplified by the sheer closeness of the houses this year. Who knew being able to peak into your neighbours builds would cause such tension?
The couples in contention are: sisters Eliza and Liberty Paschke (personal assistant, 37, and integration producer, 34, VIC); parents Kyle and Leslie Cottone (firefighter, 36, and teaching aide, 34, WA); parents Leah and Ash Milton (first aid officer, 31, and builder, 36, QLD); married couple Kristy and Brett Beames (project manager, 34, and safety officer, 34, SA); and newlyweds Steph and Gian Ottavio (architect, 27, and start up worker, 27, NSW).
Real estate expert Marty Fox isn’t the only new addition to the lineup this season. The formidable foremen Keith Schleiger and Dan Reilly will be joined on site with the fan favourite from last year, Tom Calleja.
The nation fell in love with Tom and his wife Sarah-Jane because of their work ethic and relatable marital bickering, and he jumped at the chance to work with Scotty and come back as this year’s official Block plumber.
The designs of the amazing homes in this series again come from The Block’s resident architect, Julian Brenchley.
At stake is $100,000 for the overall winner of The Block, on top of any profit the five couples can all make on the critical auction day. Plus bragging rights for the winners’ state.
Since premiering on Channel 9 in 2003, Australia’s richest reality program has awarded a total of $32,592,807.65 in prizemoney.
The Block – on Channel 9 and 9Now
Media Release – Nine
TV Central Nine content HERE