Contestants on The Block have been hit with their second family tragedy within days, with another contestant’s grandparent dying during filming.
Tuesday’s episode of the hit reno show opened with the sad news that NSW teacher Sarah’s much-loved grandmother had passed away. Both she and her electrician husband George are devastated, and in the opening scenes of the episode, Sarah refuses to leave her room and face the cameras as she grieves privately.
The sad news came just days after South Australian farmer couple Daniel and Jade had to briefly leave the show when Daniel’s grandfather died.
As they did with Daniel and Jade, The Block’s production team swoop in to make sure Sarah and George know family comes first.
“I’ve heard, and I’m very, very, very sorry,” host Scott Cam tells the couple. “You’re away from home, and it’s a stressful time already for you … this is very sad.”
“We’ll do whatever we can to make it a little bit better. I’ll get (foremen) Keith and Dan on the case. ‘This’ is not important – you just let us know when you need to go. We’ll fly you anywhere, fly you home, stay overnight, be with the family. Do not worry about this,” he tells them.
The kind gesture brings the couple to tears.
“The Block is not easy, and then to have stuff like that going on … it’s hard,” George says.
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These family losses for two of this season’s interstate couples will surely weigh heavy on their minds in coming weeks, when The Block episodes catch up with the coronavirus lockdown.
In brief scenes from later in the series teased in this season’s first episode, we see the chaos as the lockdown hits and contestants scramble to figure out what to do.
As borders close, contestants from interstate have to decide a course of action.
“What are you going to do with your kids?” one couple is asked. “I’ll walk home if I have to,” another interstate contestant declares.
On day 35 of filming, it becomes clear production can no longer continue. “I’m sorry it’s come to this – I’m shutting it down now,” Scott Cam announces, as contestants are shown weeping.
One big change still to come this season, as The Block fights to stay running during a pandemic: Open house inspections ahead of the auctions will be a no-go this year – a first for the show.
“Usually we get around 20,000 there, open for inspections are completely gone, individual inspections at the moment there’s nothing happening because of lockdown. We’re not sure what’s going to happen at auction,” Scott Cam revealed last month.
The Block continues 7.30pm Wednesday on Nine