Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Dallas Factor on the 'new' BBC Gardeners' World

Have we just discovered Monty Don in Pam's shower, with the miraculously revived, Bobby Ewing? Did watching last night's, so called revised version, of Gardeners' World, not feel as if Toby Buckland never happened? The 'all new' Gardeners World, is just as it was the last time Monty presented, which makes one ponder as to why the BBC, thought it a good idea to change it in the first place. Granted, the location has changed, but that is pretty much all.

It was delightfully riveting to see Monty, and his team, gardening proper, discussing worthy issues and finally looking beyond the intricacies of planting carrots to a stopwatch countdown. It must be said that, I have absolutely no qualms with Toby Buckland. In fact, when he used to appear on Gardener's World as one of the learned team, I used to enjoy his participation. The question is, while he was the main presenter, was he just following the script or was he pulling the strings? Either way, his reign produced, an insultingly dumbed down and totally uninspiring version of the programme, that never seemed to venture beyond the petty. If the BBC production team was to blame, one hopes that they learned their lesson, and thereby let real gardeners decide the content of the programme.

According the various tweets on the return of Monty to Gardeners World, it seems that many follow the pro-Monty line of thinking. However, having read some of the comments to the Gardeners' World Blog announcement in December last year, it seems that it is not quite clear cut. Surprisingly, there are many viewers out there who are not keen on Monty, and would have preferred for Toby to continue growing carrots. If anything, the comments are good reading, but there does seem to be a pattern.  The general gist in the comments seems to indicate that the great Alan Titchmarsh is still on the minds of many, and that Toby Buckland was a closer replacement, than Monty. Worryingly, from last night's programme, there seems to be no place for decking in Monty's garden, so on that score alone,  Monty is doomed.

The return of Monty Don as presenter of Gardeners World, will never be as big a news story, as the return of the, starkers Bobby Ewing, in Dallas, but it has stirred debate amongst viewers as to what a good gardening programme makes. Not a bad thought, is the idea of having additional gardening programmes, to cater for the varying levels of gardening expertise, as opposed to fruitlessly, cramming it all into one. That could result in, more gardening programmes on television, which I for one, would welcome with open arms.

Oh, and Monty, welcome back. You have been sorely missed and we are delighted to see your return to good health.

8 comments:

  1. I recall the early reaction to Monty's return to GW and, as you say, it was mixed. Personally, I welcome it and I would argue that progress can be as much about recognising what worked well in the past rather than blindly continuing with change for the sake of it. My only quibble: is the Rachel and Joe section really necessary?

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  2. Interesting point! There seems to be much debate as to Monty's fellow team, particularly Joe and Rachel. Seems Rachel more so than Joe, as many are of the opinion that, Alys, would have been the better choice. In terms of the concept of co-presenters, I do think that having different views/opinions adds depth/interest to the programme. Although, it would be preferable for the co-presenters to have a targeted scope, or field. For example, Carol handling propagation, plant care, plant history etc. If the expertise is there, I wouldn't mind the GW team to include many more than just the four. Admittedly, the only time I enjoyed watching Joe, was his allotment project. Granted, it was at times somewhat irritating, but still it had long term appeal; watching the veg plot development, problems, positive and negative results, etc.., similar to reading our fellow blogger's content. It would be interesting to see them in action, and see what our fellow bloggers think of it.

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  3. Petra, I think your most perceptive comment is to point out that one gardening programme cannot reasonably expect to meet the needs / expectations of all types of gardeners. It's almost as if someone said that all books are the same, so we'll only publish one book, which is patently ridiculous. The fact is that there are plenty of new and inexperienced gardeners out there who enjoyed the simple stuff that Toby and Joe put across, whereas there are also a number of more ambitious gardeners (perhaps with more time, money, and space) who relish the type of content that Monty is good at covering. Each to his own!

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  4. Agreed! All the fun aside, it seems we need more gardening on telly, to indulge all our varied requirements. I am all for that, especially, if it means more informed gardening programming.

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  5. I understand you comment about depth and interest but I feel that that would only work as part of a longer programme. The problem, as I see it, is that in a half hour programme, the content becomes very fragmented and the presenter{s) are not really able to deal with their subject in any great detail. This is where it would be useful, as you suggest, to have a range of gardening programmes tailored to meet the needs of different audiences and, in so doing, provide the viewer with the necessary depth of coverage.

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  6. I may be losing my marbles here, but was it always just 30 minutes long? For some reason I thought it was an hour long programme, but remember being shocked to see this one finish so early. Agreed, in just 30 minutes viewing time, we are probably better off with fewer presenters, to focus the content. So to conclude, we need more programmes to suit the varying levels of gardening expertise, and longer programmes to ensure effective content distribution. That all sounds marvelous to me....!

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  7. I have to say I actually find the return to the 'old style' gardner's world a real turn off. For those people who are just getting in to gardening I thought the 'new' old format was interesting and helpful and did a good job of creating interest in gardening for those who otherwise wouldn't have considered it. I think the Monty Don style is great for very avid flower gardners who are interested in the incredible fine details, but for the 'man in the street' it just doesn't inspire. Sorry. Perhaps different programmes for different levels of gardner is the way to go.

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  8. Two different programmes might be the answer: (1) GW as is, with Monty Carol and Rachel (I don't need Joe ... I can get comedy elsewhere) with their adult presentation styles and ability to provide in-depth information; and (2) "Beginners Gardening", or similar title, especially for those new to the game. Joe might be a good presenter for such a programme.

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