Industry gives thumbs up to Titchmarsh's ITV deal

The garden industry has welcomed Alan Titchmarsh's return to gardening television broadcasting, as revealed in HW (28 January).

Titchmarsh is set to present a prime-time ITV garden and home show this spring, with the programme possibly going head-to head with Monty Don's BBC Gardeners' World on Friday nights.

But industry figures speaking at Garden Press Day were less flattering about the comeback of Don, who returned to Gardeners' World in early January despite having said that he has not been to a garden centre for a decade.

HTA director-general David Gwyther said: "This is great news for the industry and I welcome it. Alan Titchmarsh is the man who the gardening public have faith in and it will boost the garden industry. His ITV deal will inject some long-overdue competition into the world of gardening TV."

Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association director Neil Gow said: "A little competition for Gardeners' World gets gardening on the agenda in prime-time TV and has got to be good. ITV doesn't particularly do gardening so this is an opportunity to open up for journalistic content linked to advertising."

Garden writer Peter Seabrook said: "Alan's return is brilliant news - we need competition between the channels and the effect should be an improvement of the approach for the ordinary gardener."

Squire's Garden Centres marketing director Sarah Squire said: "It is very exciting. It's been a long time since there's been a new gardening programme. Any promotion is going to be good for the industry as a whole and for the public."

Mr Fothergill's Seeds marketing manager Ian Cross said: "Monty Don is in a world of his own. For someone in gardening to declare he hasn't stepped into a garden centre for a decade doesn't enamour you to them. We always get a reply from Alan, even if it's 'no'."

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