Neale Whittaker quits The Block

"It’s been such a privilege to be part of Australia’s most iconic TV show for an unbelievable 13 years," says Block judge.

Earlier this week, long-standing Block judge Neale Whitaker (pictured left) announced he was departing after 13 years.

“It’s no secret that The Block is currently filming on Victoria’s Phillip Island and lots of people have been asking me if I’m back on the show this year. I thought now was a good time to answer those questions,” he posted online.

“In 2023 – as many of you will know – I took a break from The Block to spend more time with my partner David who was dealing with some serious health issues. We all hoped that by this year I would be able to return full-time to the show, but life doesn’t always run to schedule. David gets stronger with each passing month, but my decision remains to be at home as much as possible.

“So while you’ll see me on Phillip Island from time to time, I’ve handed my judging sheet permanently to Marty Fox (who stepped in so brilliantly last season) and I know he will have a blast with Shaynna and Darren as I did for 17 seasons.

“It’s been such a privilege to be part of Australia’s most iconic TV show for an unbelievable 13 years – unbelievable to me, anyway. My thanks to The Block creators Julian Cress and David Barbour for having faith in me all those years ago, to my fellow judges who have become good friends, to the amazing production team and crew (so many of whom have been with the show as long as me) and – of course – the dozens of contestants that kept us judges on our toes week after week, season after season. Who will ever forget Matt and Kim’s ‘crime scene’ room … sorry, Jackson Pollock homage?

“And thank you to Nine for having me on its flagship show for so long. Congratulations and good luck to this year’s Blockheads for their Phillip Island journey.”

Whitaker also shared details of his relationship with David Novak Piper several years ago for The Wedding Series.

“We met in Sydney at a charity cabaret for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. David was backstage doing hair and I was performing. I’m no Michael Buble but I can hold a tune! I was singing ‘Stop In the Name of Love’ with two industry colleagues, Brooke Tabberer and Susan Skelly. David asked if he could give me big hair (the theme was ‘70s Soul Train’) – I think it was a bad attempt at flirting. Anyway, it worked.”

Whitaker’s departure comes after just last weekend it was revealed Keith Schleiger, aka Foreman Keith, would only feature as a guest this season.

2 Responses

  1. I was so sad to read this on Neale’s insta earlier this week.
    I really enjoyed his judging on the block, and Marty Fox is not a favourite for me.

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