New Gardeners' World format gets mixed reactions

Hour-long BBC2 Gardeners' World TV shows, designed to appeal to a broader audience, have come under the eye of the critics.

In July, Horticulture Week revealed former Bake Off producer Paolo Proto was to revamp the show, including extending the format and making an effort to appeal to the 15m Bake Off audience.

This includes new presenters and formats ahead of possible production company, with Bake Off producer Love Productions a possibility to take over the BBC-produced show, and lead presenter changes, with Adam Frost touted to take over from Monty Don, in the coming years. The BBC has since barred Proto talking to most of the press.

Proto also plans a 50th anniversary GW garden to be built at a public garden in 2017.

Proto held auditions for new, younger presenters earlier this year and Flo Headlam, Jane Moore, Alan Power, Zephania Lindo, Nick Macer, Adam Frost, Frances Tophill and Nick Bailey being among those who got the jobs.

Guardian TV critic Sam Wollaston said the show was little changed apart from in length, other Flo Headlam, presenting in Toxteth, Liverpool, planting containers "and I think it might have some old-school die-hard GWers muttering in their potting sheds. There’s even a makeover element to the programme. That’s about it for controversy."

Macer looked at tropical plants Frost planned his new garden in Lincolnshire and Carol Klein looked at plant families.

In the Daily Telegraph, Alice Vincent, who said she had never watched the programme, added that it was "stil boring and irrelevant": "The newly extended Gardeners' World is a solid 45 minutes of gardens that have taken two decades to develop and old, rambling homes. Five minutes are dedicated to Monty Don’s golden retrievers (all excellent) and 10 more are limply tacked on from Toxteth, the location of this week’s token urban garden."

TV chef Nigel Slater tweeted: "Twice as long. Three times as good." 

Gardener Andrew O'Brien said: "New Gardeners Wold rather good I thought. Maybe more explanation on floral anatomy needed before Carol's splendid ranunc bit."

Gardener Sue Beesley said: "It's missing the creative, grow-anything-in-anything, urban chic feel that Alys Fowler once gave it."

Garden designer Paul Hervey Brookes wanted to know if the show provided "what actual as opposed to perceived gardening folk want", adding: "I liked Toby Buckland as a presenter on Gardeners World and I enjoy his style on the BBC shows coverage too."


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