Alan Titchmarsh revels in TV return

Gardening programme rivalry dismissed as new viewers are greeted as great news by the trade.

ITV's Love Your Garden is aimed at people who are 'intimidated' by gardening says Alan Titchmarsh - image: HW
ITV's Love Your Garden is aimed at people who are 'intimidated' by gardening says Alan Titchmarsh - image: HW

Celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh has said he is pleased with the performance of his ITV show and the reaction from the trade.

Titchmarsh spoke at the opening of the WWF's 50th anniversary garden at the Hampton Court show, which highlights the charity's water conservation work.

He said the initial reaction from the trade to Love Your Garden was that they were very pleased. "Together with Gardeners' World the programmes are getting over five million viewers, which is great news for the trade. It's great to see more gardening back," he said.

Love Your Garden has achieved an average of 3.5m viewers, peaking at 4.8m. On 17 June it went head-to-head with BBC2's Gardeners' World, which reached 2.2m, making the combined number of viewers for gardening shows 5.6m.

"I am very pleased and relieved that it has done so well," said Titchmarsh. "It has really out-performed that slot. Bill Bailey's World of Baboons got 2.9m viewers, so 3.5m isn't too bad. I sincerely hope that there will be a second series, and ITV is very keen on it."

He played down the rivalry between Love Your Garden and Gardeners' World, saying that they are aimed at different audiences. "I think that they complement each other. Mine is very much aimed at people who are a bit scared of gardening. If we only make programmes for keen gardeners, we miss out on a whole raft of people who are a bit intimidated by it. It's not a question of dumbing-down, it's about making things more accessible."

Titchmarsh also opened the Plant Heritage Marquee at the flower show. The feature includes items from 29 of the 650 National Plant Collections across the UK.

"There are always new varieties at garden shows and so often they disappear," Titchmarsh said. "Preserving varieties is not some esoteric project, but something that is important for all sorts of gardeners."

KEYSTAT

3.02m - Viewing figures for Love Your Garden on 24 June


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