Gardeners' World - Let's Have a Heated Debate!

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!


  1. Yes .. ArtistsGarden as well!

  2. Is a lead presenter really needed? I wonder why it can't be shared by all of them. The present format seems to liked with Carol in her garden and helping a young couple get started, Joe on his allotment, Alys at Berryfields and 'whoever' also at Berryfields and out and about.
    As I said in my comment on your earlier entry Monty never dominated the programme as lead presenter.
    With the programme now being an hour long they each get plenty of on air time, but it has to be the gardening that's important not the presenters.
    I'm sure that the debate will indeed be heated!
    Happy gardening xx
    By the way have you seen this

  3. Yep, you really kicked things off!

    I think you'd be good at it, but I think the Estherian-Martian Balaclava would really add to the whole image thing.

    I have a totally unrelated question - I've been getting prepared to celebrate Bloom day PROPERLY this month, and I wondered how you do those wonderful collages of flower pix that you have in the top right hand corner of your page? Would you be willing to share this secret just with a chosen few? Or is it a trade tip for insiders only?

  4. Hmm. I haven't read anything about this anywhere else so apologies if I am not up to date. Personally I find an hour too long - or maybe it is not the hour but the ludicrous attempts to build suspense through it: come back in 2.5 minutes to see if Joe manages to get his beans in in time! I think Alys should get a hefty promotion to lead presenter: she's sweet and nice and has been overshadowed while doing loads of the work ;) Carol is *o. k.* but no better - she is too fond of the sound of her own voice and loves to talk but cannot listen, imo. Sarah Raven woul dbe my top favourite: where do I go to vote?

  5. I really have nothing much to say but that doesn't usually stop me.

    As a newbie gardener, I'm new to GW too and I love the hour long format. I did wonder why the lead presenter couldn't be a woman. CK's ok but I think I must be the only person in the country who finds AF just a tad annoying (can't put my finger on why).

    I love the bits about the allotment and CK making a new garden for the family in Devon but last week's show where she rattled on about meadows bored me silly. I mean, how realistic is that? Who's got room for one of those?

    Well, look at that. I seemed to have quite a lot to say after all.
    Off to find your previous post about it now.

  6. I think it's interesting that so many of you are so concerned about the format of this show. I wish we had something like this in the US. I used to watch some Home and Garden Television, but now they have so many shows about "flipping houses" and decorating to sell your house. I think they show gardening shows in the middle of the night, if at all.

  7. AG - hurrah and thank you!

    Flighty - that's a very good point, but I think you'd still need someone to introduce each bit of the programme though. And yes I saw that piece the day previously to this one. I've had a post on what's happening at my local garden centre for a while now, so thanks to you and Pam for reminding me :)xx

    Emmat - hope you got the answer you needed from me elsewhere? And many thanks for linking to me from swiftforsure - geooooorgeous!

    Lisa - I loved your comments over at Emma's site. I find Sarah Raven a bit too head girlish though

    Mrs Be - I'm so glad you commented and you've added loads to the debate :)

    Rose - we get loads of those shows too :( I think that might help to explain why we're passionate about our 1 'how to' gardening show


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