Alan Titchmarsh is putting on a brave face after being replaced as the face of the BBC’s Chelsea Flower Show coverage.
The presenter, who has been working in TV for more than 35 years, was replaced by green-fingered rival Monty Don for this year’s floral festival after Don was chosen as main anchor role and Titchmarsh rejected the offer of a lesser role in a team of 11 presenters.
However Titchmarsh tells this week’s Radio Times that while the disappointment has “hurt” him he is adamant that he will not get bitter.
“Yes, I suppose I was hurt, because I know people enjoy you doing it as much as I loved doing it,” he admits.
“But they probably felt it was time for a change and may well be right. Was I dumped for Monty Don? You might say that. I couldn’t possibly comment. I don’t feel dumped. They made me an offer I had to refuse. It’s up to them. I’m not bitter. I was disappointed but I’m not a grudge-bearer. You have to move on. Nobody owes you a living. I’m still gainfully employed. My days aren’t empty.”
Asked whether Don’s comparative lack of horticultural training annoys him, Titchmarsh says: “Presenting is a skill in itself. I’ve presented programmes on classical music, nature and the royal family, all lifelong interests. I don’t hold Monty Don’s lack of training against him. He’s passionate and he gets through to a lot of people. We have different audiences. Good luck to him. I’m not going to slag him off.”
Titchmarsh caused a stir 11 months ago with comments about “whingeing” older female TV presenters.
He said at the time: “Men in television tend to last a bit longer at the end of their careers, but it is women who make hay at the beginning.”
“They don’t complain in their early days when they are disporting themselves on sports cars. I’d like to see a mix of all ages on TV and wish there could be less whingeing about it.”
And it appears that he remains unrepentant despite the fuss these comments caused, telling Radio Times: “If you’re going to make noises about not being employed, you have to be absolutely sure it is down to ageism rather than the fact that you’re not very good. I don’t think I’d be confident enough to say, ‘They’ve stopped me doing this because I’m too old,’ because my inner voice would be saying, ‘No, they’ve stopped you doing it, love, because you’re not terribly good any more.’ ”
Read the full interview with Alan Titchmarsh in the new issue of Radio Times, on sale Tuesday
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.