Gardeners’ World host Monty Don has stated that he’d like to continue his tenure on the programme until at least 2016, despite his current agreement coming to an end this year.
Don, who returned to the long-running BBC2 show in March 2011, said: “The work we did last year will take at least three years to come to fruition. It would be a terrible waste if that didn’t happen. I’d like it to be a five-year arrangement and beyond that, who knows?”
Gardeners’ World began a new run last Friday and attracted an overnight audience of 2.04 million. In an interview with the Aberdeen Press and Journal, the 56-year-old commented that the success has resulted in some viewers turning up unannounced at his spot in the Herefordshire marches from where the series is currently broadcast:
“On one hand you want more people to see it, on the other you only want to have invited people. But there are certain boundaries which are not crossed.
“For example, we never have visitors from the public to Longmeadow, although we often get letters from people asking to come and see it. You always have to say no because you know it’s the thin end of the wedge.”
It is something of a tradition for the show to be broadcast from the lead presenter’s own garden: Alan Titchmarsh would use his land in Alton, Hampshire, which was given the name of Barleywood, while Percy Thrower presented from the Magnolias in Shrewsbury.
However, in 2003, the BBC decided to use a rented garden in Stratford-upon-Avon (Berryfields), which was then followed by the use of Greenacre in Birmingham during Toby Buckland’s two-year stewardship.
When Don took up his trowel once again in 2011 after his recovery from a minor stroke, the decision was made to return to the more personal angle of a host working on his own patch – hence the shift from Edgbaston to Don’s own Longmeadow in Herefordshire. It’s a move that has given Gardeners’ World a more relaxed, intimate feel – the downside for Don, though, is that the BBC insists on his having two full-time gardeners to assist:
“[It] means I do less gardening because there’s less to do. It’s a bit like having a chef in the kitchen asking if I’d like a poached egg, when I could quite easily poach one myself.”
He went on to add: “Nobody tells me what to do in my own garden. People are genuinely helping me rather than doing it themselves and then telling me about it.”