TV producer takes top role for garden shows coverage

Paolo Proto has emerged as the television producer presenters and exhibitors want to know ahead of 2016's flower show season.

He has moved from being series producer of The Great British Bake Off to executive producer of Gardeners' World and The RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton Flower shows, bringing together the BBC gardening brands under one voice.

Previously, Proto worked on DIY SOS and The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, suggesting he might bring more of a competition element into the coverage of the RHS shows and perhaps Gardeners' World, where the presenting team will remain unchanged - Monty Don with Joe Swift, Rachel de Thame and Carol Klein.

Simon Shaw previously had the production role on the RHS shows TV coverage. He has returned to Antiques Roadshow. A BBC representative said: "Paolo started in January as executive producer of Chelsea and Gardeners' World, taking over from Simon Shaw, who was executive producer for the last two series. Liz Rumbold was series editor before at Gardeners' World."

Meanwhile, former BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow has left the corporation after 30 years. She was controller of special projects and seasons since 2014 and is not being replaced.

Harry and David Rich and Charlie Dimmock start filming their as-yet untitled makeover show near Bristol this week, set to be broadcast from June/July on BBC1. Contractors are being finalised to work on the 20 episodes of mini or small garden makeovers. Spun Gold is producer.

The shows are for "real people who want to improve their gardens, but don't know what to do or how to do it. They will combine their talents to transform garden dreams into garden realities across the country" to "help frustrated homeowners, with money set aside for their gardens, to realise their ambitions.

"They are spending their own money, so it shows viewers what you can do for varying budgets. The Rich brothers and Charlie each do a design for the homeowner and then the homeowner decides which design they want and they all muck in and build the garden."

Meanwhile, BBC2 has recommissioned The Instant Gardener presented by Helen Skelton. For Channel 4, production company Betty is making a series on amazing gardens around the world and Redhouse is producing a Grand Designs-style property doing-up programme featuring gardens.

Monty Don's Big Dreams Small Spaces returned to BBC2 this week, with Gardener's World back on BBC2 on 4 March. The first episode (BBC2, Friday 4 March, 8.30pm) will feature Monty Don setting out his plans for the year at Longmeadow and reviewing the effects the winter weather has had on his garden as well as Carol Klein visiting a Welsh hillside garden to look into the botany of bulbs and spring plants and Joe Swift offering a guide to choosing the best trees for gardens.

ITV's Love Your Garden returns in the summer. Presenter Alan Titchmarsh has also turned his hand to antiques with a new series called Masterpiece on ITV Daytime. Six gardening series launched in the first week of January last year, but TV producers have returned to broadcasting in the gardening season for 2016.

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