The Bachelor Australia: Navigating love during COVID-19

• EP Hilary Innes on what happened after everyone was sent home

Network 10 won’t be letting the rose petals rest for long after Bachelor in Paradise winds up, replacing it in the schedule with the 2020 season of The Bachelor Australia this week.

Bachelor Locky Gilbert will trade the tribal councils of Australian Survivor for rose ceremonies as he embarks on a world first as he tries to find love in the time of Covid.  Mediaweek spoke to The Bachelor Australia’s executive producer Hilary Innes about filming around peak Covid and the new Bachelorettes.

Hilary Innes

A Covid Love Story

After seven episodes were completed The Bachelor team came to the conclusion that due to lockdown restrictions they would need to send the crew, production staff, and the 10 final contestants’ home. While host Osher Günsberg stayed in The Bachelor mansion and Gilbert stayed in The Bachelor pad.

Innes said that two episodes were produced with the contestants living back home but they continued to have Zoom dates, cocktail parties and rose ceremonies in lockdown.

“Instead of stopping filming we continued to record what happened when everyone was sent home, which made for very fascinating viewing.

“There was obviously chemistry happening between some people and Locky and we needed to keep everyone engaged with the process and each other.”

While filming an intimate show such as The Bachelor sounds challenging during a time of social distancing, Innes said that it was a blessing in disguise as it broke the show away from the art department backdrop of The Bachelor, taking fans to areas that they have never seen before.

“Suddenly you break out of The Bachelor world and go into people’s lives and seeing how they do things like making breakfast in their trackie dacks. And it is a really interesting place to go and explore The Bachelor world from for a change. Everyone will relate to it because they are all going through it.

Selecting The Bachelor

Innes described Gilbert as an alpha male who is willing to go down on bended knee for the right girl.

“There is no rhyme or reason to selecting The Bachelor. We went with Tim Robards and Sam Wood who were tall dark and handsome alpha males who knew what they wanted. Matt Agnew was more the cerebral handsome which we had never had before which was very interesting. The Honey Badger Nick Cummins was more quirky and funny with a big profile. Locky was a little bit in between.”

The show offers a diverse range of contestants including origins such as Pakistani, Indigenous, Malaysian, Lebanese, Tongan, Greek, and Croatian who will be entering the high pace world of adventure guide Gilbert. With each season of the show tailored to the interests and lifestyles of The Bachelor and contestants, Innes said that this season will be action packed despite the impact of Covid.

“Lots of companies started to close down for a bit, so it started to be a bit restrictive and we had to be creative, but there will be a lot of adventure activities with Locky.”

Locky falls for more than one girl

Laura, Nicole and Areeba

Innes explained that this year we will see another first for the Australian format of the show.

“Locky by his own admission falls in love with more than one girl, where before we haven’t found love and famously the Honey Badger (Nick Cummins) couldn’t choose someone, we have a Bachelor who has fallen in love with more than one girl which is a first for us in Australia.”

The Bachelorette: Double Trouble

Elly and Becky Miles

10 revealed in July that in another first The Bachelorette Australia will feature sisters Elly and Becky Miles as dual Bachelorette’s for the 2020 season. 

Innes said the reason for the choice was to be authentic and to react to the mood in the community – with fan favourite Elly Miles the jigsaw pieces came together.

“We stay in touch with these people and see how they are going and what they are up to, and she talked to us about her sister and the more we talked the more it felt really wonderful.

“They are not too far away in age and are very good friends, it is a very relatable idea with the siblings with the support you could offer each other, and interesting how they would react to finding love together on The Bachelorette.

“Having two of them makes it interesting in shooting it because a lot of things double up. You will probably see them chatting more about what is happening during the show, and the fact they are sisters and will want to debrief will be a nice new element people will want to enjoy.”

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