BBC Gardeners' World goes back to basics with reduced 30-minute slot

BBC Gardeners' World executive producer Gill Tierney says the flagship gardening programme will go back to basics this year -- and it will revert to 30 minutes rather than the 60-minute shows it ran in 2009.

Tierney say the BBC will "refocus" the format so shows go back to 30 minutes from one hour and much-criticised segments such as "What's hot and what's not". Producer Rosemary Edwards removed many of the new ideas when she made an unannounced return to the show as producer in June 2009, replacing Andy Vernon, following a stint producing the BBC Chelsea coverage. Former presenters Stefan Buczacki and Gay Search both slammed the changes to the show. Edwards will not return to Gardeners' World in 2009 and the BBC could not say who the 2010 series producer will be.

Tierney told Radio Times: "We have listened to the audience and have taken the criticism on the chin, which is why we are making the changes we are making. We are simply going to refocus to satisfy the needs of our core audience.

"Change is always difficult and sometimes you don't get it completely right."

Gardeners' World will run from March to October — it started later than usual in 2009 and was interrupted several times by sports programmes. Presenters Toby Buckland, Carol Klein, Joe Swift and Alys Fowler will remain in place.

Tierney added: "It will be a much simpler offering, there'll be nothing fancy going on. We just want to make sure that we are completely relevant and topical — we want to make sure we don't miss any vital parts of the gardening year."

BBC representative Dan Phelan said making 30-minute programmes was "very different" from 60-minute programmes but could not reveal any other plans or who would produce the programme. He said: "Rosemary Edwards is not producing the programme because she is moving to do Chelsea coverage."

Edwards moved from Gardeners' World to produce Chelsea coverage in 2009, then came back in June 2009 to produce Gardeners' World. Phelan added: "We haven't got a new series producer yet — it will be a different producer." He could not confirm or deny if that would be the 2009 series' initial producer Andy Vernon.


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