Stirring the pot, Mitch replied: “Oh my God, that must be the St Moritz he copied his apartment from!”
Mark kept tight-lipped as his partner fumed about the alleged copying incident, then said: “Controversial!”
Blockheads listening in were stunned – but the only couple not tuning into the scandalous interview were Jesse and Mel themselves.
Mitch and Mark say the accusation was no more than a ‘playful jab’ – but later doubled down on the copying claim.
“[It was] a bit of a playful jab. You know how Jesse loves to poke the bear, he likes to have a bit of fun, it was the same thing – a little bit of playful banter,” Mark says. “It’s an observation … the truth is, it’s a direct copy. At some point, too, you kind of think, if you were the designer Tim Gurner and you saw your design that you’re selling in a multi-million-dollar off-the-plan thing copied on a national show, you probably wouldn’t be happy.”
Mitch adds: “I’m not 100 per cent original, I get inspiration. I do mid-century modern, which is a period in time, but I’m not just getting a colour-by-numbers grid put onto something.”
Mitch explains he saw a St Moritz apartment, took photos and showed Mark, who genuinely thought they were pictures of Jesse and Mel’s space.
“Mitch showed me the photos. I just thought, ‘Oh well that’s Jesse and Mel’s formal living, why are you showing me that?’ So it’s distinctive things that you look at and go, ‘Well, that’s a copy,’” Mark recalls.
The whole incident upset accused ‘copiers’ Jesse and Mel – even ruining a special bond between Mitch and real estate agent Mel.
“I took a special interest in Mel because she had trust issues and I thought she was a great girl and had a lot of potential, and I wanted to foster that potential.
“Mel said she was hurt by what I’d done to them,” Mitch adds. “When I had time to reflect I did think, wow, look what you’ve done here, you’ve actually made me the evil one and you’ve got it beautifully orchestrated on film, which was very hurtful, and it hurts even talking about it.”
The next episode previewed Jesse and Mel’s turn in the interview seat as Jess Eva cut right to the point, saying: “Mitch and Mark pretty much accused you of cheating.”
What will the couple say about that? Viewers will need to tune in to find out. But Mitch and Mark were quick to say it wasn’t a matter of cheating.
“I can be totally honest, they weren’t cheating … they copied. And that wouldn’t sit comfortably with me. I would not do that,” Mitch says.
Mark adds: “[They] always say, ‘own it’. You know? Just own it. If you just owned it, it would all go away.”
For more, see this week's New Idea - out now!