Production of The Bachelor Australia’s eighth season is facing scrutiny amid fears the dating show’s famous mansion setting could be an ideal breeding ground for the coronavirus.
Filming for the Channel 10 series is currently underway in Oxford Falls, Sydney, with ex-Survivor contestant Locklan ‘Locky’ Gilbert as the eponymous suitor and Osher Günsberg reprising his role as host.
But the production could run into trouble if anyone from the cast or crew develops symptoms of COVID-19, because the cramped conditions on set mean the deadly virus could spread like wildfire.
The Bachelor Australia is rocked by coronavirus fears: Popular dating show could be a breeding ground for deadly COVID-19 due to the cramped conditions – as an ex-contestant warns of a potential outbreak. Pictured: 2020 Bachelor Australia Locklan ‘Locky’ Gilbert
PICTURED: The Bachelor Australia mansion in Oxford Falls, Sydney
The U.S. season of The Bachelorette starring Clare Crawley has already been postponed because of the ‘rapidly changing events’ related to COVID-19, Warner Bros. announced on Friday.
‘There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on any of our productions, but the health and safety of our employees, casts and crews remains our top priority,’ the spokesperson added.
Nikki Ferris, who appeared on Matt Agnew’s season of The Bachelor Australia last year, told Daily Mail Australia there’s a possible risk when two dozen women fly in from every corner of Australia and then live together in close quarters for weeks.
‘You sleep in bunk beds and live in each other’s pockets’: Nikki Ferris, who appeared on Matt Agnew’s season of The Bachelor Australia last year, told Daily Mail Australia the female contestants have very little personal space in the mansion and the sleeping arrangements are similar to a hostel or dormitary
Is there a risk? Two dozen women fly in from every corner of Australia and then live together in close quarters for weeks on the dating series. Pictured: 2020 stars of the new season
She claimed the female contestants have very little personal space in the mansion and the sleeping arrangements are similar to a hostel or dormitary.
‘You sleep in bunk beds and live in each other’s pockets,’ Nikki said. ‘As you can imagine, 28 women [at the start of the season] sharing four bedrooms and four bathrooms is just asking for a s**t storm.’
‘It’s like a hostel. If there was a group date, one person would be on the toilet, another in the shower and another doing makeup all in the same bathroom. We had a cleaner come just once a week,’ she added.
While the overcrowding becomes less of an issue later in the season – as many of the women are eliminated by this point – the last few weeks of filming present their own problems.
Rose ceremonies: Nikki has warned this year’s contestants to ‘wash their hands after they’ve been handed a rose’ to avoid any potential contamination. Pictured: Chelsie McLeod and Abbie Chatfield on 2019 season
Will an overseas finale be scrapped? If there is an overseas finale, which has been the case for most Bachelor seasons, the risk is increased significantly. Pictured: 2019 Bachelor Matt Agnew kissing ‘winner’ Chelsie McLeod in South Africa on safari
The final four will be flown around the country for hometown dates, putting them at risk of exposure. If there is an overseas finale, which has been the case for most Bachelor seasons, the risk is increased significantly.
Of course, there is an argument that the isolation of the Bachelor mansion – the women cannot leave the set without special permission – will protect the cast from COVID-19.
But this theory is flawed, because they are still in close contact with crew members who are coming and going, which means there’s a risk someone could potentially bring in coronavirus from outside.
Ultimately, the best way for Locky’s girls to protect themselves is through good hygiene – and Nikki has warned this year’s contestants to ‘wash their hands after they’ve been handed a rose’.
She added: ‘Love isn’t the only sickness that will go around this season with coronavirus about.’
‘We only had one washing machine between 20-odd women. It’s a lot of laundry’: 2015 Bachelor Australia star Nina Rolleston claimed the stars often struggled to find clean clothes to wear and had to share bathrooms
Another ex-contestant, Nina Rolleston, claimed last year that conditions weren’t ideal when her season was being filmed in Hunters Hill in 2015.
She said that the lack of laundry services put a strain on the women, who were often struggling to find clean clothes to wear.
‘We had to do our own laundry and stuff like that. We only had one washing machine between 20-odd women. It’s a lot of laundry,’ she said on the Confessions of a Twentysomething Trainwreck podcast.
Nina alleged that the living conditions in the mansion were like ‘school camp crossed with a psychiatric asylum’, adding: ‘We had three bedrooms between 25 women. In my room, we had five girls: two bunk beds and a single bed.’
Another bedroom housed ’10 people’, she claimed.
Nina also said the facilities weren’t adequate, with just ‘four bathrooms between 25 girls’ at the start of the season.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel 10 for comment.
Will it be axed? Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel 10 for comment