Posted: 27/06/2012 at 01:18
So often this country is referred to as 'a nation of gardeners' and there's many an article alluding to the massive growth of the 'gardening industry' in the UK over the past 15 years or so. One of the reasons I single out Gardener's World as more traditional to watch and enjoy is that the presenters aren't trying to introduce you to or entice you to buy a £3,000 arty twisted metal bench, or a £10,000 sperical sculpture or something. All these things have their place of course and I'm sure if I had a large garden and loads of money to spare for pleasure, then I'd likely be interested in some of these things. But Gardener's World sticks to gardening, is completely relaxing to watch and doesn't appear to be commercially/sponsor driven. I don't know if this is anything to do with the fact it's the Beeb, but I wonder if the production budgets and time-allocation suffers because of no obvious sponsor funding. Maybe it is sponsored - I don't know anything about who funds the programme. Very little survives these days without heavy corporate or commercial input but I'd bet that if some huge corporation felt they would gain from exposure via the programme, then you'd get an hour once a week with little problem. Does the Beeb remain advertising/sponsor free still?
If there was a trough of financial investment from some credible horticulture source, (or some funding source) a much expanded Gardener's World programme would be ideally placed to be both unique and massively popular. Monty Don's gardens around the world programmes, the programme of a year at Carol Klein's Cottage - were excellently produced programmes with huge appeal. Gardener's World has quality in it's current presenters and the Beeb ought to be - (hate this phrase but I'm going to use it) - gagging for a longer programme. Maybe the presenters have filled diaries of other personal and commercial commitments of course. BUT - if they increased the programme to one hour, tweeked the content a little to really show off the talents and knowledge of the presenters who really are second to none when seen on their individual projects - it ought to be one of the number 1 rated programmes for popularity.
But - there's something missing that we're not quite grasping in this. There has to be a reason why it's kept to 30 minutes and why it is so easily cast aside when more audience preferred (apparently) type programmes are shown. Whilst we think gardening is on the up and up - maybe viewing figures reflect the opposite? What's the story BBC? I wonder if it's the kind of programme the cable channels are interested in.
Beats me. There's a black hole in the understanding of only 30 minutes for a niche programme which ought to be an absolute winner for an hour's programming at least a week. Two programmes a week even better - and even if it were in the Winter months when surely it could have a good regular cheer everybody up spot when there is so much dark nights depressing Americana and drivel on tv.