Backyard biffo

“You don’t have to be sick to get a new garden on my show,” Jamie Durie said of The Outdoor Room.

It was a comment directed at Nine’s Domestic Blitz, which had a special on Lauren Huxley and her family, in the publicity lead up to his own launch. It was probably a throw away line, but it’s enough to have drawn a retort from Nine’s Scott Cam, who worked with Durie for years on Backyard Blitz.

Cam told 2UE’s Steve Price that Durie’s comments were “very misguided and frankly offensive. What I think he’s forgetting is Lauren Huxley wasn’t sick.

“She was a beautiful young girl, walking down the street and attacked by a monster and left to die.

“For him to say you don’t have to be sick to get on his show offended a lot of people. I certainly was disappointed in that situation.”

But hang on a minute….. aren’t both comments something of a moot point? Both shows thrive on the same premise: finding ‘worthy’ subjects upon which to bestow a makeover and depart as heroes?

Even if Domestic Blitz has had ‘ill’ subjects, The Outdoor Room is equally as ‘guilty’ of digging up warm-hearted candidates too. On Sunday it was an elderly couple approaching their 50th anniversary. Another episode has a young couple with twin babies. In all of these shows, it’s always virtuous subjects. When was the last time we saw anyone single, non-Anglo Saxon, or gay? What about a divorced father, a used car salesman, a parking inspector, or -heaven forbid- somebody who actually lives in rural Australia getting a guernsey on these shows? They’re like hen’s teeth….

I just don’t get how these blokes can be splitting straws over who is the more deserving to get a makeover.

And while we’re at it, it’s never clearly conveyed in the story telling of this genre how people are chosen in the first place. The Outdoor Room does have an application form on its website. Domestic Blitz doesn’t.

If you’ve ever put your hand up for one of these shows, TV Tonight would be very interested to know if you ever heard anything back.



  1. I have a friend who has had both her legs apputated below the Knees She is 33years of age and has a 7month old baby I would like to apply for her to have her yard made into a beautiful garden for her to enjoy how do I go about this

  2. I agree! No ethnic or minority groups in these shows. That’s discrimination. Give us an African-American or Asian family and give them a backyard makeover!! Lets put a stop to marginalisation!! We are a culturally diverse nation, lets reflect it in these factual series!!

  3. I Agreed with Mr Hammersmith

    Seelling houses is much better show

    It help me know what look for when i buy news property

    I make good ideas from show

  4. Re: people putting their hands up for these shows, I’m actually going to apply for whichever garden shows i can apply for on behalf of my mother to see what happens. She’s been quite sick for the last five years and she’s about to turn 50 so it’d be a nice little sob story for them, plus our garden is gross. I’ll def. keep you guys post if anyone ever gets back to me.

  5. Stanchez; that made me laugh :P:P

    i can’t stand these shows. It’s lovely that they’re doing nice things for people but come on; i agree david. Why not someone in rural australia? why not build something like a park or re-do a hospital wing, something that benefits a community. though the format would still be the same. I wish they’d just do these things and not make a show about it; that’s a much more selfless act to me. Though I doubt Durie, Cam & the “team” would be into that.

  6. Selling Houses Australia was a great show because it had a good mix of people and budgets (from million dollar beachside properties to dumps in the suburbs).

    I havent watched The Outdoor Room but I would think it would be simlar to all the others (except the “hey look at me I’m in wherever bit”).

    – Jamie goes to house
    – Soppy story: married 50 years, twins, sick (bonus points if you are a kid)
    – Backyard is a hole
    – Send owners on a holiday
    – Dig a bit, plant a bit, funny matesy moment, odd gardening tip
    – Panic as the owners are coming back. Will they finish on time? Why do we never see on these shows Jamie Durie going “Sorry but we could only finish half of the Japanesse pagoda and the water feature doesnt work”.
    – Neighours come round to see the big reveal, plan to steal half the stuff when owners go on holiday.
    – Tears
    – Repeat.

    And after all that there is never a clothes line!

  7. Mike Hammersmith

    Personally i much prefer Selling Houses Australia

    At least they keep it real! Real people real problems

    And the host keeps his shirt on!!

    Jamie -get over – your man power days are over!!

  8. Domestic Blitz does tend to have rather too many “heartfelt teary sympathy” moments, and shots of them having fun on their whirlwind holiday, and not enough showing the home makeover itself. I liked Backyard Blitz for its camaraderie between the hosts, and the backyard makeover tips. Both of those elements are lacking in these newer shows.

  9. Whats the old saying – look at the score board !!!! I like Jamie Durie but the fact is his shows have not been the massive hits on Seven as they were on Nine.

    Yes both shows do feature “worthy” people – thats the whole point of the shows – thats the emotional hook for the audience otherwise they would be watching something else.

    Good comment David about the lack of diversity of both shows, which can also be leveled against pretty much every commercial network show with the exception of a few, a very few.

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