Chris Brown’s surprise weakness
With his chiselled good looks, rippling muscles, down-to-earth humour, big heart, not to mention his numerous talents from hosting TV shows, photography and surfing to his vet practice, it appears Dr Chris Brown has it all. On the surface, it certainly seems he's fabulous at everything he puts his hands to.
However, he assures Hibernation there are plenty of things in the catalogue that he can't do and viewers will be treated to that all unfolding in the new look The Living Room.
"Yeah, no - (usually) I only show you the things I can do," Brown laughed.
And, despite working on Ten's popular lifestyle show and regularly rubbing shoulders with builder extraordinaire Barry Du Bois, home DIY is not actually in the 41-year-old's toolbox.
"The downside of working on a lifestyle show is you feel it somehow qualifies you to dive in to the world of DIY, I mean surely you're capable," Brown shared.
The three projects he undertook in lockdown times showed he, in fact, was not.
While his newly created vegie garden is miraculously alive, the fish pond required five trips to Bunnings and is still not fixed.
The piece de resistance was when Brown attempted a tidy up of his backyard, attacking a bush which squirted sap in his eye. Turns out the sap was highly toxic and was eating away at his eyeball. Fortunately, it's all sorted after a night in emergency.
There was also the time Brown attempted to patch a hole in his wall. Confused as to why the plaster wouldn't stick to the patch, he sent an SOS to Du Bois. The problem - he hadn't even opened the packaging to use the actual product inside.
"This is probably a measure of the fact that I should probably stay in my lane … which is animals," Brown said.
He will be challenged to diverge out of that lane as The Living Room returns with a fresh new look and a brand-new home tonight. The awesome foursome has stepped out of the studio and upgraded their space.
Each episode will feature everyday Australians who could benefit from a little TLC. That's where the fab four step in.
Brown along with Du Bois, Amanda Keller and Miguel Maestre will enlighten these hardworking Aussies on food, renovation, lifestyle and everything in between.
They'll also be pushed well past their own skillset and challenged to take on new tasks outside of their comfort zone.
Is Du Bois equipped to knock up a cheeky paella? Can we trust Maestre to take an iguana's temperature while Chris attempts to build a bookshelf?
Not sure how the bookshelf will fare, as Brown confesses he and Maestre were not really up to scratch as Du Bois' assistants.
"We basically ripped out a few walls and renovated a kitchen, all under the supervision of our foreman Barry Du Bois - he's a hard taskmaster," Brown said.
"Miguel and I nearly took strike action and walked off the job. We just wanted to be treated with respect. It's going to take a lot of iced coffee, sausage rolls and vanilla slice to get us back on the job."
While Keller jokes that she doesn't have a useful single skill set - "Maybe I could do radio time call for them, and I'm handy with a pun but that's about it," - she confesses she's called on all three of her Living Room mates' expertise.
"I just texted Miguel yesterday - I was making a bread and butter pudding and I didn't have cream, so I asked if I could substitute custard," she said.
"I use him as my cooking sounding board.
"I'm currently sitting in my kitchen that Baz designed. And Chris is a hugely generous person with his time. My dog was horrendously ill so I texted him saying 'she's not herself' and he said 'I'll come straight over' I've used all of their skills."
The Living Room really is the little show that could. Its success, in no small part, is largely linked to the chemistry of the fantastic four on the couch. And that chemistry obviously extends off the couch.
Although that chemistry was possibly a little tested when Maestre took part in I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here earlier this year, eventually crowned King of the Jungle after 31 days of torturous tasks and eating not much more than rice and beans.
Some of those torturous tasks devised by none other than his best friend, or Gringo, as he affectionately dubs Brown. Has all been forgiven?
"Look he brings up the fact that he was King of The Jungle on the hour every hour," Brown laughed.
"We're at the point where we have to hide his crown. We deliberately warn people we're about to meet 'don't even show any tropical foliage in your backyard because Miguel will see it as a way that he can bring up he's the reigning King of the Jungle'. I'm actually pushing Channel 10 to have another series before the end of the year just so we can end his reign.
"But, look, I merely facilitated what was ultimately a really important period in his life - he should be thanking me for depriving him of his basic human rights for all that time."
The effects of coronavirus have been obviously been felt, from production delays to social distancing measures.
"We were so used to being so close with each other in an emotional and literal sense we've had to watch that," Brown said, adding with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
"Barry's a toucher. He's a hugger and he's always looking to give you a hug or put his arm around you. We've had to - like a lot of women in the '80s - say 'no Barry, you can't do that'.
"I guess I've been fortunate in a way. Most of my stories involve being out and about. There is a bit more space. And social distancing doesn't apply to animals.
"Miguel and I've been on a trip together - so enforcing that 1.5m was a massive blessing in fact I've insisted that it remains from here on in."
So while COVID-19's meant some modifications, it hasn't impacted on the huge dose of heart that's become The Living Room's signature
"We've given ourselves a coat of paint quite figuratively and literally," Keller explained. "People will enjoy the show. It will have a lot of heart. I think there'll be equal measure of tugging at heartstrings and laughter.
"I've never laughed or cried so much in a television show. I think we've got eight shows completed so far and in every single show there is a moment where you go 'isn't that lovely?' and there's something equally stupid."
The Living Room, Fridays, 7.30pm, Channel 10
Originally published as Chris Brown's surprise weakness