BBC Scotland Beechgrove Potting Shed to be axed

Long-running BBC Scotland radio show Beechgrove Potting Shed is to be axed as part of BBC Radio Scotland's plan to cut £16.1m from its £102m annual budget by 2016/17 because of a freeze in the licence fee.

Jim McColl: contributor to Beechgrove Potting Shed
Jim McColl: contributor to Beechgrove Potting Shed

Horticultural Trades Association president Stan Green, who runs Fife-based Growforth, has written to BBC Scotland controller Ken MacQuarrie to call for the BBC to save the show, which is presented by Theresa Talbot and features contributors Jim McColl, Lesley Baxter, Lesley Watson and Carolyn Spray.

Green said: "I am extremely concerned to read the recent announcement that BBC Scotland is to axe the radio programme Beechgrove Potting Shed.

"This surely leaves a large hole in radio output by not catering for the nation’s favourite pastime.

"Gardening is hugely significant to all ages. In tough times for many people, gardening is an island of escape and delight. The HTA represents this very significant industry, which serves an audience of some 1.8m keen gardeners in Scotland, significantly more than the 1.3m Scots who watched football matches on TV last year.

"I am surprised and disappointed that BBC Scotland has chosen now to axe the programme rather than invest and move forward."  

BBC Scotland representative Jim Gough said: "Radio Scotland has to have some programmes decommissioned in December and Beechgrove Potting Shed will be one of those as part of the savings we have to make. We’re adopting a different approach to our horticultural output instead."

He added that radio presenter Fred MacAulay’s weekday morning show MacAulay and Co would include food and gardening year-round on a weekly basis for an unspecified number of minutes.

A new summer weekly series Kitchen Garden Weekly show from BBC Scotland in Inverness will begin in 2013 featuring the presenters and contributors to Beechgrove Potting Shed.

Beechgrove Potting Shed is a spin-off from the Beechgrove Garden TV show, which began in 1978.T

he latest RAJAR figures for BBC Radio Scotland show a weekly reach of 959,000 (21.8 per cent per cent and a share of 8.3 per cent.

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