Last Saturday when I sat down to write a quick extra post for the day poking a little fun at myself, little did I realise what a response I was going to get, even from across the pond (thanks Rose)! A big thank you to everyone who's joined in - I don't think I've ever written anything that's had people writing whole essays in response :)
So I don't think a couple of lines from me in my Comments box quite does it justice does it? In retrospect I was naive in thinking what I'd said wouldn't matter that much. After all, Gardeners' World is a national institution as far as most gardeners are concerned. We've grown up with it, probably tried at least one piece of advice seen on the programme and maybe even made some of Geoff Hamilton's projects, all with varying degrees of success. The continued popularity of Barnsdale isn't solely down to the hard work by Nick and Sue Hamilton - people still want to see what they regard as their second garden.
From what's been said, a number of you like Helen would like to see a female lead presenter for once. Zoe and a few others (though Emma's poll shows differently), cite Carol Klein as a strong front runner for the post and I agree. It's clear that many of you such as dnd and Flighty want a real gardener to front the programme (though neither plumped for CK) and her CV is impressive. She's down to earth, passionate about the subject and really knows her stuff. She's also tried and tested as a presenter, so would probably also be very acceptable from the BBC's point of view. Unlike most of you, I do like the idea of someone yummy on the programme though and Matthew Wilson's CV's also impressive (and I thoroughly enjoyed his book too)!
Another clear message from Frankie and many of you is you like the hour long format just as I do. I believe it gives the BBC a lot more flexibility with the programme. Half an hour tended to be a bit of a breathless, 'here's all the jobs for this week plus here's our latest project' and that was that. An hour has room for that but would also enable current issues and trends to be explored at a greater depth, just as Emma suggests. It would also enable more experts to be wheeled in to contribute to a particular debate or to give us the benefit of their knowledge. For example, having someone like Ken Thompson on the programme from time to time would be great.
It seems everyone here feels passionately about their programme, so I think there needs to be more audience participation, maybe something similar to the question session that was tried on the Chelsea coverage recently, or perhaps there could be a viewer's garden slot - that would go some way to answering Victoria's comment re Berryfields (and previous gardens) being out of touch with reality now. Dare I say it, perhaps the BBC also needs to look at our gardening blogs and fora to get some fresh ideas for the programme and see just what the hot topics are as far as we're concerned? In the meantime, it looks like the BBC will be keeping to the current format and presenting team for the rest of the series, so perhaps that'll give them plenty of time to really think about the format of the show for when it returns to our screens in the new year. And just think, if Alys Fowler remains on the team, her 'job interview' will be about as long as the winner of The Apprentice's!
On a more personal note, I've had two further surprises over the past few days. Firstly, NAH was quite taken with the idea when I told him. 'I think you'd be really good' was his response, not only that he's told all our friends (and a complete stranger up the allotment - I'd managed to persuade NAH to do a little light rotavating for me at the time) about it. My blog usually doesn't figure in his life, so he must be pretty impressed, bless him. Secondly several of you have actually voted for me! I'm thrilled to say the least, so many thanks to whoever you are, especially Sue Swift (perhaps Artistsgarden as well?) who I do know voted and didn't flock together with her namesake. BTW I can't vote - it seems to be the case for me whenever there's a Blogger poll. Esther is kindly poised with her knitting needles to provide me with a natty balaclava for the show, should the outcome necessitate it. However, Threadspider has questioned my experience for the job. My response was 'What, don't you think being filmed throwing custard pies, appearing on a quiz programme and eating a curry on Points West is sufficient then?' Hmmm on second thoughts, perhaps not.
So there you have it - a round up of what's been said so far, plus my thoughts on the subject. Please feel free to add to the debate and remember, you have just one more day to vote! Esther, I hope that this and the Comments left by the many contributors to my previous post have answered your questions on why this is so important. If not, do feel free to add your thoughts here.
Update: Arabella Sock has outclassed all my puny thoughts on the programme's replacement - I expect the show to start any day now. Also Emma's impishly extended her poll's closing date - more time for you to get voting!