A Woman of Now: How 10 made the most inclusive version of The Bachelorette yet

The Bachelorette

“She’s 2021 in the sense that she’s bisexual, she doesn’t see gender, she sees love.”

The seventh season of The Bachelorette Australia will see proud Noongar-Yamatji woman Brooke Blurton, take control of her love story from Wednesday, 20 October at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 Play.

For the first time in The Bachelorette Australia, the net of love has been cast wider, and we will see both men and women vie for the Bachelorette’s heart.

Mediaweek caught up with the show’s executive producer at Network 10 Hilary Innes about what to expect from this world first.

“We didn’t change the way we approached it,” said Innes. “The format remains the same but to be true to her story we’ve stepped out of the world of heterosexuality into a more inclusive world. It’s about time and it’s a story for now.”

Hilary Innes

With Blurton being the first Bachelorette to represent both the indigenous and LGBTQI+ communities, when asked if this was planned or a product of casting, Innes said that it was a bit of both.

“It’s a very unique person who can take on the lead role in these shows, there needs to be a lot of boxes ticked. Brooke is someone we’ve worked with in the past and twice she’s been on variations of the franchise. She felt comfortable, confident, and supported enough that she felt her story would be told accurately. I think there is very much awareness at Network 10 in general about inclusivity and diversity. Everything kind of came together in a wonderful moment of great synchronicity.

“The fact is Brooke is a special young woman and she’s a very genuine, loving, strong, and brave young woman as well. There is a number of communities she’s representing and it’s so important to her that she does that well and she can carry herself through that with that integrity and she does. That’s the fundamental thing about her. Whatever community she comes from she’s got this integrity that you warm to and it attracts people to her.”

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When asked where Blurton sits in comparison to past Bachelorettes, Innes said that she is a woman of now.

She’s 2021 in the sense that she’s bisexual, she doesn’t see gender, she sees love. She sees people not defined by being male or female. But who they really are. There’s a lot of discussion about that on the series between the men and women and Brooke. That’s the most exciting part of it, is that we’ve got a very contemporary story.

“One of the keys to the show is that that lead character opens their hearts up completely. And it’s one of the most difficult things to do, it’s all very well to show your skill as a cook or as a home renovator or whatever it might be. But this isn’t about skills, this isn’t about one string to your bow, this is about you. It’s about who you are to the core, and opening your heart and being prepared to share that with everyone, which is a really difficult and brave thing to do.”

The Bachelorette

Love in the Mansion

With Blurton choosing between male and female contestants, the mixed genders in the mansion have led to questions about the men and women being attracted to each other. Innes said this isn’t a narrative the show tried to avoid.

We wanted to wait and see how it all unfolded entirely. Episode one is one of my favourite episode ones of all the seasons I’ve been involved in. It’s got a lot of depth to it and it’s very honest and real and from that moment on you get the feeling that we are just telling it as it’s unfolding.

“It’s really important to remember Brooke was announced before the cast was all signed off. Therefore, there were people, particularly amongst the women that applied that knew it was her and they wanted to be there. They already knew and had an attraction to her. Whilst the question was that they might fall in love with each other if that happened, it was wasn’t something we were worried about or frightened about.”

How filming was affected by Covid

This is the fourth production in the Australian Bachiverse that has been filmed during Covid-19. Innes said that the pandemic had been quite impactful on production this time around.

“Australia was in a great place, and it looked like we were on top of it, so we started shooting The Bachelorette. We were not even quite halfway through, and then the Delta variant hit and the lockdown happened. We have a lot of Covid protocols in place, as everyone does now, but when the Delta variant hit that was a whole new ballgame. It meant we had to be super careful and rigorous. But all our talent were already in the bubble anyway. How it really threw it around is just that you can’t do as much. You just can’t travel anywhere, even out of Sydney. A number of places or people weren’t able to come to Sydney for various reasons. But the team are really clever and creative, and they come up with things to replace dates and activities that we were going to have in the show.”

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