Radio 4 show Gardeners’ Question Time has a seasonal treat in store for its green-fingered listeners – a special Christmas Day edition recorded from 10 Downing Street.
The special festive edition of the show will be recorded in The State Dining Room of the Prime Minister’s home and promises a revealing interview with head gardener Paul Schooling, who has worked at Number 10 for the last 27 years.
In his pre-recorded interview, Schooling will reveal his brushes with past PMs while tending the garden, including the time he disappointed Margaret Thatcher over his husbandry of the garden roses.
“When Margaret Thatcher lived at Number 10, a rose from the garden was cut every day and put in her study,” says Schooling. “But when I arrived the roses needed changing. Then, John Major wanted a rose arch so we put that in and put in some new roses, which are still there now. When Margaret Thatcher came back for a reception, she noticed what we’d done and I got a bit of a ticking off for it. She said: ‘Why have the roses been changed? There was nothing wrong with them.’ But you couldn’t argue – you just had to take it.”
The special show will be chaired by Gardeners’ Question Time stalwart Eric Robson who said: “As Gardeners’ Question Time enters its 70th anniversary year, it’s a delight to be taking our audience for a unique trip through that famous black door to explore the lesser-known garden beyond it.”
Taking questions from an audience of BBC Radio listeners inside Number 10 are regular panellists Christine Walkden, Matthew Wilson and Pippa Greenwood. The special show will air on Christmas Day at 2pm.