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The BBC is to screen a new historical gardening series fronted by Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don.


‘The Secret History of the British Garden’ will examine how traditional British gardening has changed over time with influencing factors including politics, war, religion, archaeology, medicine and Britain’s evolving tastes in food, design, sculpture and fashion.

The four part series made by Lion TV, begins with Don exploring the sole surviving garden of the 1600s, the world-famous Levens Hall in the Lake District.

The series has four hour-long episodes covering the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It was commissioned by the BBC’s Mark Bell, and has been executive produced by Greg Sanderson for the BBC and Alexandra Henderson for Lion TV.

The BBC does not yet have a transmission date for the programme.


I'll watch it if I find out when it's on


Sounds very interesting. It's years since I went to Levens Hall, but I loved the way it was a family home, with all the family photos in the rooms.



I watch anything presented by our Monty! 

Oh, for heaven's sake, do the BBC have some sort of one-arm-bandit-based title-generator with dicky wheels that stick on "secrets", (also "wonders").

viz a viz

Secrets of the Universe .Secrets of the Sexes .Secrets of Quantum Physics,The Secret History of Our Streets, Archaeology: A Secret History, Secrets of the Superbrands, Secrets of the Arabian Nights ..

There are many other titles of a similar ilk across television and wireless stations None really introduced anything that wasn't widely known to those with an interest in the topic presented. The science-literate  expect no such dishonest claims in the titles of the physical sciences programmes.

From the OED

"Not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others::Something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others. Something that is not properly understood; a mystery:

These programmes do not present anything that meets any definition of secret. 

There are numerous published works on sociological histories of gardens and gardening. The knowledge is already there for the finding.

Is someone in BBC Factual who is paranoid / delusional with an obsession about secrets making up these programme titles? If not, do they have the impression that inserting the word "Secret" (or a derivative) will make the programme more appealing? It does the opposite for many of those who would otherwise watch or listen.

Stick to the facts, BBC, in the programme titles as well as the content. You are very probably not presenting any novel insights nor any secrets. Furthermore as there are numerous opinions and interpretations in the fields of professional history and professional sociology based on the same pool of evidence or lack of,  it would be "A" Secret History of not  the arrogant "The"  History of.

I'm unlikely to watch this. 

"A History of the British Garden" or "A History of  British Gardens" would be more intellectually honest title, and one which I believe would be more appealing title for viewers with an interest in factual television.



Each to his own of course.  Programme makers are damned if they do and damned if they don't  and are often showered with complaints if they don't come up with a 'new angle' on something.

At the moment I'm not at the stage where I think I know everything, so I shall watch before condemning


As my dear late mother would have said " If you've nothing nice to say: say nothing."

My lips are sealed.


Get out on the wrong side of the bed, FD? Or maybe should have gone to bed earlier!


There is also going to be another series of the show he did where he advised people on their garden transformations, but I can't remember what it was called. No date known yet.


I doesnt matter how much you think you know there's always room in the brain for

more info. You all learn something new every day. Even teachers. I will watch it when it comes on as it is of gardening knowledge. 


Unless it's me. I have very little room in my brain. In order to learn something new I have to forget something. 

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