Is Toby Buckland a good choice for Gardeners' World?

We polled industry views on the presenter who will take the lead role on the show following Monty Don's departure.

GCA chief executive Gillie Westwood - photo: HW
GCA chief executive Gillie Westwood - photo: HW

YES - Gill Tacchi, director, Robin Tacchi Plants

"It's good to have a change because it gives you a slightly different balance of viewpoints. And though I don't know much about the new presenter, it suggests perhaps they've gone for someone with less celebrity fanfare and more grass-roots knowledge, hands-on experience and practical gardening talent.

"I think gender is irrelevant, but the main presenter needs a combination of skills: practical experience in the industry; a wide view of the sector; a strong knowledge base; a sense of humour; and charisma - nobody wants to watch somebody without charisma."

MAYBE - Ken Evans, national sales director, Westland

"He must make gardening as exciting as it was five years ago.

"Right now the grow-your-own revolution is taking off and perhaps we are forgetting ornamental gardening. It's really important for the presenter to know about garden centres - lack of communication in the past led presenters to talk about products that no retailers stocked. He needs to know what people want from their garden - not always the organic 'pc' stuff, but quick, practical, affordable solutions.

"And he must be credible: we're bored being told to create unachievable gardens."

YES - John Clowes, representative, Scotts MiracleGro

"It is definitely positive to have someone in the Gardeners' World chair who is younger and has got some dynamic ideas for design and garden care.

"I don't think that having a woman in charge was part of the BBC criteria.

"It doesn't matter who does the job - man or woman - it's about who can do the job best.

"It must have been very difficult for the BBC to choose - there are so many good people out there."

MAYBE - Gillie Westwood, chief executive, GCA

"I don't know anything about Toby Buckland. I'm surprised by the BBC's choice. I thought Carol Klein or Joe Swift would have got the job. Both have been co-hosting well.

"I don't see why (the BBC did not choose) a woman. Traditionally, it has been pipe-smoking men. Carol Klein is so enthusiastic - I hope Toby Buckland is, too."


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