VP - The Next Monty Don?

Media speculation over who will replace Monty Don as the head presenter of Gardeners' World has been pretty rife recently. However, I'm surprised to find I'm included in it this morning. In the interests of balance, the Joe Swift campaign is running a poll to see if theirs is the one true candidate. I'm included (yes, I'm amazed too but I'm quite chuffed actually), though it's also suggested I'll need to wear a balaclava. I believe that's to preserve my anonymity, not ugliness. I think the proposed headgear might present some problems with diction, so I've suggested a knight's helmet might be more appropriate - with the mouthpiece part of the visor up of course.

The problem is, GW has been much better of late - partly due to the extension to an hour's programme I know, but will the BBC actually want to fiddle with a format that's beginning to work? If they do, then I'm sure someone a little better known will be chosen as the figurehead and there's plenty to choose from in the poll. However, the thought of the 3 nominated candidates needing to wear balaclavas fronting the programme, does have rather a lot of appeal to my internal imp!

What do you think - carry on with the current programme format; reincarnate Geoff Hamilton; or something else?


  1. As someone without a television, I've been astonished by how many bloggers are mentioning this.

    Not only that but, at times, I've been shocked by the manner in which interest is expressed.

    I realise there are jokes I'm bound to be missing because I simply don't know any of the people involved.

    None the less, I'm left with the feeling that some of it is downright unpleasant.

    I'm saying it here, VP, because although you are clearly interested in who will be the next person to host this programme, I don't think you have been engaging in any kind of scorn or invective - so it's a sort of neutral place to mention it.

    As a non-television person, understanding why all this matters so deeply (except for anyone who wants the job for him-or-herself) is perfectly incomprehensible.

    I want to shout 'This is GARDENING' - not politics'. But, broadly speaking, I would expect politicians to be polite about each other, even when their differences are profound - and what THEY say or do MATTERS.

    But it isn't POLITICS, it isn't even GARDENING - it's entertainment.

    I hope you aren't offended by me saying this here, VP.

    And I realise people may simply think I'm some kind of soft idiot for minding.

    May be.

    But I have been wanting to say it for a while - and I've been trying to say it in other comment boxes - but have rubbed it out before pressing the button.

    But - here goes - I'm going to press the button this time!


  2. As I said over at Emma's and also on Garden Rant and Green Monkey earlier in the week, I really do hope they consider Carol Klein, providing she is interested. She is a really interesting presenter, I love the childlike enthusasim that she displays on occassion, her earthiness, and her knowledge of both horticulture AND design, appeals to me too. She knows all about gardening from so very many aspects, real life raising a family as a Mum, as a business women running a successful nursery, and at shows too, having exhibited in the past successfully for many years.

    I would also like to see a women up front for a change, and if not Carol, I think perhaps Alys who obviously knows her stuff and presents well too. Definitely NOT any of the other ladies.

    Whilst I agree Matthew Wilson is equally well qualified (and totally delicious), he is too much of a distraction and competes visually with the plants for my attention! On that basis alone, my vote would go to someone else.

  3. I agree with zoe, actually, despite my comedy Joe Swift page. Maybe I should have made a "women gardeners for women gardeners" page, actually - it is really a tiny bit shocking that there hasn't been a female lead presenter.

    I think Alys says "sort of" too much.

    I also think, re what esther is saying, that it's really important who presents Gardeners World. It's really important to have a critical debate about it, because unlike politics, it does actually affect us week by week. (:-)) I think it says where we are "at" horticulturally, and it also makes a statement about how important we think it is, for example, to garden sustainably etc. The person who heads up Gardeners World could make a huge impact on issues about nature and conservation and green living - so it is really important who is chosen.

    Anyway I'll shut up now. Zoe will be pleased to see I agree with her on the distraction thing...

  4. Wow, VP, you have stirred up quite a controversy here! I wasn't even going to comment on this post, because I don't get the BBC and have never seen this show. But it sounds like a wonderful program and one that many people do watch.
    Out of curiosity, I checked this out and learned several new things today: the "Heathcliff of Hedgerows" title would have me interested in watching Wilson even if I wasn't a gardener. And I now know what a balaclava is :)

    I love coming here, because I always learn something new! And by the way, I really like the obelisks you made--this looks like an interesting project.
    Have a good weekend!

  5. I'm with Zoe and would like to see Carol fronting the programme. I think GW has been excellent in the last few weeks. With the increase in women gardening, particularly taking on allotments I do think a female lead would be good.

  6. I don't think that Monty Don ever dominated the show.
    I would like to see Matthew Hall join the programme, or perhaps Chris Beardsure.
    As you say now that it's an hour long I'm sure that they want the current format to continue as is. xx

  7. The more the merrier - keep it an hour long and have loads of presenters rather than sticking with one.

  8. There will only ever be one Geoff Hamilton (I don't think his twin brother is a gardener)!

    I'm not sure who I'd go for, I don't get BBC here although might soon, but none of the other presenters last year would get my vote.

    When they do choose, I hope they choose a gardener first and presenter second though.

  9. Gosh VP, I dropped by to say in a rather tongue in check way to say would you like me to vote for you in the poll you mention and find quite a debate going on here!
    In Wales;- (BBC WALES) Gardeners World is a movable feast on the TV and quite often I miss it, as I can never work out when it is on.
    I would like a woman to host the show because it would make a change. I adore Carol Kleins enthusiasm.
    I do think that Emmat's point is valid - GW is a statement about where we are at horticulturally.
    I just wish the show did not take 2nd place to Rugby here in Wales, then I wouldnt miss it.

  10. Emma and Karen - here's something else that puzzles me - you are talking about where 'we' are at.

    But, what if another 'we' 'gets control' of this programme?

    I like bias if the bias is to my taste. If it isn't, I go off it.

    And, if you are talking about things like the use of peat or water or home-grown veg instead of imported food - that is politics! So, ok, yes it's important.

    And discussing whether it would be good (and relevent) for a woman to take a prominant role - important.

    Whether people are physically attractive; what kind of jackets they wear; - great fun for Forks and Monkeys - but not in real life.

    (Hi VP! Hope this is ok.!)


  11. Not being in the UK I've missed all this, and of course only get to see the programme a couple of times a year. However, I've just been over and voted for you, hope you get the job and, for me you can leave off the balaclava. Maybe a nice wide-brimmed gardening sun hat ???

    Actually, before I knew you were in the running Alan Titchmarsh would have got my vote ... or maybe not. Perhaps the Swifts should stick together ...

  12. What a debate! I have no opinion, not watching the programme-although I think you would be great, with or without a balaclava! You may lack a little "tv experience", though.

    As it is, I'm enjoying this boxing match.

  13. Sorry, I tried, but ultimately couldn't resist getting involved with this one! I like the current 'temporary' format, with Carol Klein and Joe Swift doing their own things. I've thought for a while it's time they rethought the whole GW format anyway, because the old idea of having one man and his enormous garden, I think, has become increasingly atypical of people's experience today. And the Berryfields solution, which was to create shoebox-sized gardens with different themes, seemed idiotic. (They seem to have moved away from that a bit now, thank goodness.) Why not keep things flexible: magazine format one week, an hour devoted to something topical, or seasonal (such as veg, or bulbs) the next. If I had to choose a presenter, I think I'd go for Carol Klein. Seeing her beaming at me enthusiastically makes me think that perhaps I do have the energy to get up the next morning and do some gardening after all. I'll shut up now.

  14. VP - I'm good at knitting.

    Would you like me to knit you a green balaclava?

    It could have VP (worked in a different colour) on the forehead.

    Or GP, if you'd like (for Gardening Presenter).

    Or GW?

    Let me know.

    I have other commitments. None the less, it could be ready in a week.




  15. Hi everyone - I'm rather surprised at all this response :) This was a quick tongue in cheek dig at myself to raise a smile,probably only a couple of comments. How wrong I was!

    I'll write a separate post in response as I've too much to say right here OK?

  16. Oh and Esther, judging by the way the poll is going, you might have to knit 3 balaclavas - 1 each for me, Arabella Sock and the Garden Monkey.

  17. VP - I'm happy to knit balaclavas for you and for The Garden Monkey - but I'm not completely convinced that Arabella needs one.


  18. I love that there is so much debate about it. And I love that people are really discussing the idea of Carol Klein - I think it's shocking really that she gets so sidelined, I'm sure it's because she's a woman and people think that women are less popular as anchor people.

    One thing I really liked was Victoria's point about whether someone actually has that quality of making you get out there and DO it. Carol Klein does have that quality, I think, and actually I have great faith in her level of experience because she's been a serious nurserywoman for such a long time.

    But that quality of getting you off your arse is elusive and amazing and powerful. It's so easy isn't it (the same as with cookery writing) to love reading about / watching tv about a subject, but not actually get round to doing it.

  19. I think GW is the best it has ever been. I am very sad to see Monty Don having to throw in the trowel! I really like his gardening style. To be quite honest I would choose Carol Klein, although at times slightly over enthusiastic to say the least, she does know her plants. But could she take on the role and spend less time in her beloved Glebe Cottage? I do like Joe Swift, but I think he should stick to the garden design. Have you noticed they have had Toby Buckland on a couple of times now, I wonder if he may be a new under gardener on the programme? Just one more thing, I do wish Alys would ditch those specs! x

  20. TIMP - I've always liked Toby Buckland's articles in Garden Answers et al. AND he's a real allotmenteer and uses the same fruit tree supplier as me. Good point Louise! xx

  21. Ooh and everyone else not mentioned here - consider yourself replied to in my subsequent post on the subject! Thanks for commenting :)


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