Posted: 12/03/2014 at 07:49
Alan Titchmarsh is highly quaified as a horticulturalist and gardener, is a skilled and experienced TV presenter and interviewer, is vice president of the RHS and has won gold at Chelsea. He has also just been appointed as the first ever ambassador of the RHS precisely because he has communication skills and makes gardening fun and is willing to meet and greet and promote gardening for everyone at every level.
The Chelsea Flower Show is, on a superficial level, about gardening bling but for those who look deeper it heralds trends in design and use of materials and showcases new plants and gives a platform for nurserymen and women to show new introductions from plant hunting and breeding as well as revive the popularity of older plants. The TV coverage has to cater for keen gardeners with all levels of expertise as well as celebrate British excellence and, with luck, inspire others to have a go, rather like after Wimbeldon there is an increase in tennis playing.
The RHS is more than just the big flower shows and needs this window of publicity to promote all the work it does and encourage more people to join up and contribute to our horticultral experience, heritage and future through its work in schools, in communities and in research and teaching.
Monty has no qualifications and, whilst he is a good amateur gardener and writes very well about it, his personal style is less warm and enthusing than AT's. He has also said and done things in his articles and on GW which inspire everything from wrath to dismay to disdain in professional horticultural circles.
Sophie Raworth is a professional, intelligent news reporter used to researching her topic and who has shown herself capable of presenting other formats and will, I'm sure, prove to be a vast improvement on Nikki C.
If this combo doesn't work and viewing figures go the way of GW's have I can see the RHS offering the TV coverage contract to other channels in future which would be a great pity.