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The Block Redemption stars reveal sneaky secrets from site

The host and judges share some sneaky secrets from the building site.

An all-star season of our favourite home-reno show, The Block NZ: Redemption sees past competitors come back for a second chance of real-estate glory, but they're not the only familiar faces returning to the reality show.
Former cricketer and The AM Show presenter Mark Richardson, 51, continues his streak with a 10th series as host, while magazine editor-turned-interior designer Shelley Ferguson, 42, moves from co-host back to judge for her eighth season of the show.
Joining her on the panel is award-winning interior designer Jason Bonham, 44, who was a judge on seasons four, six, seven and eight, and famously helped design the California estate where Kim Kardashian married Kris Humphries in 2011.
Here, the experts give us some insight into what to expect from The Block NZ: Redemption
The contestants have a few tricks in the toolbox!
How is Redemption different to a normal season of The Block NZ?
Mark: The return of previous contestants adds a totally other dimension that we've never had before. The backstories that viewers will get familiar with really make the stakes a lot higher!
Shelley: The teams come in with a huge advantage as they know all the challenges they'll face, like timeframes, lack of sleep and what it's like to be filmed constantly. They've learned what didn't work for them in the past and have addressed those weaknesses to come out all guns firing!
Which team is most hell-bent on redemption?
Mark: Redemption means many things to all of them separately, but Stacy and Adam [Middleton] are a very competitive team – they did a fantastic job in the Firehouse season and when they came away with nothing, it really affected them.
Jason: Stacy and Adam seem to be the most determined, to put it lightly!
Shelley: I'd also say Adam and Stacy. They did so well with their design in Firehouse, so they know they have the talent. They're out to prove they can take home a good profit.
The judges agree that the Purple team is the hungriest for a win.
What's been your highlight of this season so far?
Mark: Well, I can't let too much out of the bag, but viewers won't be disappointed with the twists and turns – and seeing the contestants again after so long has been really great.
Shelley: Yeah, it's been so nice to see them again as we have that history and they're all lovely people. I'm also really enjoying working with Jason – we have a lot of fun and we challenge each other. We're also addicted to the on-site snack shed, where we can often be found scoffing Tiny Teddies and mini Crunchie bars!
Jason: For me, it was bathroom week. All the teams finish to a very high standard, which surprised me. It's usually the week that's the biggest nightmare as the teams are working in small spaces with lots of tradies. But I even score one bathroom a 10 – the first of the season!
What's been the biggest challenge?
Mark: Keeping the contestants focused on the job in front of them. Because they've been here before, they're aware of how social media can impact their mentalities, so the hardest part is getting them not to worry about what people think.
Jason: I look for innovation and functionality beyond what you'd see in a catalogue, so I get frustrated seeing formulaic design being repeated.
Shelley: Filming on the weekends! I love working on The Block, but I miss my boys' soccer games, so they always bribe me to make it up to them in the form of treats.
Had any embarrassing moments behind the scenes?
Jason: We just had kitchen week and unfortunately one team has designed the worst kitchen I've ever seen in my entire career. It's so bad, Shelley gets her dress caught in the oven door.
Shelley: It's a hilarious moment. I won't give away what happens, but Jason has to rescue me and I end up having to remove a key piece of my clothing!
Are your families Block-aholics?
Mark: Yeah, my wife Mary watches avidly and the feedback is positive, but I find it hard to watch as I'm very critical of myself and don't like to hear my own voice.
Jason: Honestly? They haven't commented. But they know I do it because I enjoy it and I love being able to have fun with the crew.
Shelley: I come from a family of builders and DIY enthusiasts, so they're always quizzing me on what's going on behind the scenes, what each room reveal is like and what the teams are really like. But while my gorgeous nieces love the fact their auntie is on telly, my own boys are far less interested. And my husband Steve thinks it's great… until I come home with even more DIY ideas that I need help executing!
The Block NZ: Redemption premieres 7.30pm Monday 18 July on Three.

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