BBC blasted for taking gardening off air during busiest week of industry's year

Garden industry experts lament show losing out to snooker during peak time of gardening year.

Monty Don. Image: HW
Monty Don. Image: HW

Snooker will replace gardening on BBC2 this Friday to the dismay of garden experts, who predict one of the biggest fortnights for Britons to get out in their gardens.

The World Snooker finals mean Gardener's World - the BBC's only topical gardening TV programme - will be dumped just when gardening reaches a peak.

A run of four bank holidays in 11 days between 22 April and 2 May are expected to send gardeners into their sheds to dust off spades and lawnmowers.

Garden parties and barbecues are expected in their hundreds of thousands to celebrate the Royal Wedding and gardeners will be tidying their plots ahead of the big day. Prime minister David Cameron is among those to call for Britons to unite and hold community parties.

Viewing figures for Gardeners' World reached at 2.2 million for 1, 8 and 15 April editions, up from an average of 1.8 million in 2010 when Toby Buckland presented the flagship show.

Garden Centre Association chief executive Gillie Westwood said: "It's a ridiculous thing to do. The BBC is not taking gardening as seriously as it did. Gardeners' World is just getting going under Monty Don. This seems anathema."

She added: "There will be more people in the garden this Easter than ever before because a lot aren't going away on holiday because of the economy."

Garden Industry Manufacturers Association chief executive Neil Gow said: "This confirms how out of touch the BBC is. It is one of the biggest weeks of the gardening year and with the way the weather is looking one of the biggest weeks in gardening calendar for many years. This shows how important gardening is to them."

Gow said Alan Titchmarsh's new ITV rival show, Love Your Garden starting 12 June will benefit from the BBC's apparent lack of commitment. "The programme will certainly get the viewers. There is a good chance that it will take over as the one that gardeners watch."

Gardeners' World returns to BBC2 on 6 May.


"It's unbelievable. It's the busiest gardening weekend ever experienced in April and the BBC takes off Gardeners' World. It was pretty obvious to those of us who know anything about gardening that the Easter bank holiday and the royal wedding and May bank holiday coming together would mean a busy gardening time. I throw my hands up in horror and say roll on Alan Titchmarsh on ITV" - Peter Seabrook, garden writer.

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