• Sunday, June 28th, 2009

If you have been watching the Gardener’s World BBC TV programme for a few years like myself then you cannot fail to have noticed that it has changed greatly this year. Not only did a new presenter come on board along with a few other familiar gardening presenters but also the content and therefore the audience being targeted seems to be different.

As with all changes it was bound to displease some and delight others. In line with the Dig-In campaign supported by the BBC I feel that the programme tried to address the needs of gardening beginners to make it more accessible to everybody.

Work In Progress

Work In Progress

A worthy endeavour indeed but it probably means that some long-time viewers started to feel a bit alienated by the new stances and style of the programme.

In particular I noticed a lot of anger voiced not only in forums such as the BBC gardening forum but also reported in articles such as on the Times Online, in gardening magazines, or popular blogs

Having never seen such anger in the peaceful world of gardening I did wonder if the economic doom & gloom combined with the recent MPs’ scandal story had exacerbated gardeners’ recent outbursts of anger.

Personally I have always felt that I needed to see more episodes of the programme to make up my mind, just like a new garden needs time to mature and reveal its full potential.

However, it seems that two main bones of contention remain. Firstly there is still talk about whether the main presenter should be changed. Personally I think that the quartet of gardeners made up of Carol, Jo, Alyss and Toby more than compensate for the lack of single charismatic leader in the programme.

Secondly, a new feature in the programme called What’s hot & what’s not which was based on the Top Gear Cool Wall, with the team discussing the latest gardening trends. This was a flop from the start, and even the presenters enthusiasm for it was obviously lacking. The good news is that it seems that this has disappeared from the programme. Could it be that the BBC have taken on board all the comments that they received through the blogs, forums, and news media?

A recent survey organized by the Gardeners’ World magazine and published in the July edition reveals that the favourite Gardeners’ World gardens were in order: Barleywood (with Alan Titchmarsh), Barnsdale (Geoff Hamilton), and Berryfields (Monty Don).

I was wondering if they may consider replacing that What’s Hot slot by snapshots of the best episodes from Barnsdale, the Magnolias (Percy Throwers garden) or even the more recent Barleywood and Berryfields?

This idea is currently working on the Saturday kitchen TV programme where we go back in time to watch Floyd cooking in Italy or the 2 Fat ladies cooking a banquet for the army for example. I enjoy these flashbacks in time (and yes, I am in the pre-40’s age category!) and I think that it could work with Gardeners’ World too.

Do you think that the BBC is likely to pick up on this idea?

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4 Responses

  1. 1
    Ken Smart 

    My real purpose in responding to you, is to let you know that I like your website very much indeed. It must have taken a good deal of your time to set up, and I think you can be rightly pleased with yourself.

    As far as GW is concerned, I regret that after watching it faithfully for decades, I no longer bother to switch on – and remarkably, I don’t seem to be missing it at all (at least, not at present). I have a stack of DVD’s from yesteryear to fall back on (and more books than we could shake a stick at), and this is more than enough to keep me going. However, I really do think that it’s hellish that I can’t get a sensible gardening programme for adults to watch in 2009. It would seem that everything has to be dragged down to the lowest common denominator nowadays, and I simply found it unwatchable (though I note from the messageboard that it seems to be making a few adjustments to itself). Nevertheless, while it continues with the same production team, I would imagine the ‘dumbing’ will continue.

    Anyway, my best wishes to you, and keep up the good work.

  2. I am really enjoying Gardners World. Its different from Monty (I was not a big fan of his, I think just his style…), where as Alan, was a GOD! I think Toby is more from the Alan school of presenting – laid back, but quite informative, and I like there being 4 presenters – they look like they enjoy themselves too! Times change, theres a whole new world of gardeners out there – lets introduce them to gardening and be pleased that people are embracing the gardening way of life, rather than a few fuddies kicking up a stink that Montys gone and things have “changed”!!!. Cat @ Manor Stables.

  3. 3
    The Gardener 

    Thank you very much for your positive feedback on this website, it is truly appreciated. The reason I suggested incorporating flashbacks in time, with the good old favourite gardens from the programme was precisely to try and keep some of the long-time viewers like you engaged in the programme despite the changes.
    It works for the Saturday kitchen programme so why not with Gardeners’s world? Geoff Hamilton’s organic gardening tips are still current, interesting and useful to all.
    It seems that a lot of people like yourself have lost interest in the new programme and I think that it’s a shame for it to go that way. I have watched different gardening programme in other European countries like France and they weren’t as good as the good old BBC Gardeners’World programme.
    In fact the UK for me still leads the way when it comes to interest in gardening and horticultural advancement and it would be great if we could keep it that way.

    Thanks again and please let me know if there is anything that you would like to see more of in this website.

  4. 4
    The Gardener 

    Hello Cat, Thank you for your comment. I liked both Monty and Alan so that’s why I would be quite happy to see some old episodes from their respective gardens. And I think that it may help keep on board some of the people who have watched the programme for a long time and would be happy to see again some of the tips that helped them improve their knowledge and skills; and it’s useful for newbies too.
    Obviously you cannot please everybody but feedback is important and it can help improve things. Thanks again and enjoy the heatwave in the garden!

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