Gardeners' World

Gardeners' World is a long-running BBC Television programme about gardening, first broadcast on 5 January 1968 and still running as of 2019. Its first episode was presented by Ken Burras and came from Oxford Botanical Gardens.[1] The magazine BBC Gardeners' World is a tie-in to the programme. Most of its episodes have been 30 minutes in length, although there are many specials that last longer. The 2008 and 2009 series used a 60-minute format as did the 2016 series from episode 23, for eight episodes in total.

Gardeners' World
2008 programme title
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Running time30–60 min. each
Production company(s)BBC Birmingham (1998–2016)
BBC Studios (2016–present)
Original networkBBC Two
Picture formatOriginally PAL
Later 576i (1998–2008 anamorphic 16:9, pre–1998 4:3)
Since 2008 1080i HD
Audio formatMono (1967–1991)
Stereo (1992–present)
Original release5 January 1968 (1968-01-05) 
External links


The show was presented until 2003 from the lead presenter's own garden.

Critical response

As the primary gardening programme on BBC Television, the programme has attracted vocal opinion on the merits both of its presenters and its content. The 2009 season introduced several new features, many of which were not well received. Criticism was especially harsh regarding the high cost of certain features such as the hard landscaping and raised-beds and what was widely regarded as the dumbed-down and derivative content.[4] The 'Cool Wall' which mimicked Top Gear, a competition for training places which aped The Apprentice, children from CBeebies and content such as a feature on garden gnomes annoyed many viewers. Much of the widespread criticism was also directed at the fact that the show no longer came from a real garden.[5] But 'Greenacre' was a field, part of Winterbourne Botanic Garden in Birmingham.[6]

The 2010 show saw public approval change, after alterations to the show's production. The show's length was returned to the original 30 minutes and several features of the 2009 series, such as the '30 second fix', were dropped. The show concentrated more on gardening content,[7] reintroducing 'Jobs for the weekend' and focusing on plant species.

In March 2011 Monty Don returned as the main presenter of the programme.[8][9]

In 2016 new executive producer Paolo Proto (previously producer of The Great British Bake Off) extended the programme from 30 minutes to one hour in September and October, also introducing new presenters Adam Frost, Frances Tophill, Nick Bailey, Nick Macer, Florence Headlam[10] and Arit Anderson.[11] Mark Lane is the UK’s first garden designer who uses a wheelchair, as well as the first BBC gardening presenter who uses a wheelchair.[12]



Lead presenters have included:


Co-presenters have included: Alys Fowler, Chris Baines, Chris Beardshaw, Mary Spiller, Liz Rigby, Diarmuid Gavin, Clay Jones, Stefan Buczacki, Christine Walkden, Sarah Raven, Gay Search, Anne Swithinbank, Nigel Colborn, Geoffrey Smith, Roy Lancaster, Peter Seabrook, Joe Swift, Ali Ward, Pippa Greenwood, Rachel De Thame, Frances Tophill, Carol Klein, Bob Flowerdew, Mark Lane, Adam Frost, Arit Anderson, John Kelly, and Nick Bailey.

Theme tunes

The very first theme tune to the series in 1968 was a piece composed by Peter Craddy and played by Michael Saxton on clarinet. A year later this was replaced by the long-running Green Fingers composed by John Clarke and Reg Reid, played by Harold Rich & His Players, a version of which, with sweeping strings, was soon used. The most famous theme, which had the longest run from the late 1980s through the 1990s and is still heard in a slightly classical vein today, is a guitar piece that was composed by Nick Webb and Greg Carmichael. It had two titles, one for commercial release and one for library, Morning Light and Natural Elements. Natural Elements was the title track of a commercial album released in 1988 on MCA Records under the composers' band name of Acoustic Alchemy.[14] The current theme tune, introduced in 2014, is an arrangement of "Morning Light" by Will Gregory.[15]

The former lead presenter, Alan Titchmarsh, teamed up with Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh to make the series Ground Force. This was about rapid garden makeovers.

A book based on the history of the series entitled Gardeners' World Through The Years was released in 2003 by Gay Search.[16]

BBC Gardeners' World Live

The BBC Gardeners' World Live Show is an extension of the television programme and magazine. Running annually in June, it is hosted at the Birmingham NEC,[17] co-located with the BBC Summer Good Food Show.

The show includes live appearances from the presenters giving topical advice and tips including many of the presenters. Most recently the show had a line up including Alan Titchmarsh, Monty Don, Carol Klein and Joe Swift. In previous years the line up has also included Toby Buckland, Alys Fowler, Chris Baines, Diarmuid Gavin, Anne Swithinbank, Pippa Greenwood, Rachel de Thame, Bob Flowerdew and Mark Lane.

The presenters film at BBC Gardeners' World Live, with the content aired within the programme on the Friday night of the live show.

A number of new rose varieties have been launched at the show including

  • 2016: Roses UK presented the new 'Eve Rose' to Simon Lycett on behalf of the Eve Foundation
  • 2008: Rachel de Thame presented the new rose 'Prince Caspian' to actor Ben Barnes
  • 2005: The show presented the new 'Duchess of Cornwall' rose to the Duchess of Cornwall

See also


  1. Modern themes – Gardeners' World, BBC – Gardening
  2. Leapman, Michael (30 September 2018). "Gardeners' World's Percy Thrower was the godfather of gardening shows and brought passion to the potting shed". Retrieved 30 September 2018 via
  3. Toby Buckland, Off to pastures new, BBC – Gardeners' World Blog
  4. Gardening on TV and Radio BBC Message boards
  5. Sturgeon, Andy (3 April 2009). "Byebye Berryfields, hello Greenacre". Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  6. "Gardeners' World Greenacre location revealed". Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  7. Probert, Sarah (12 October 2010). "Gardeners' World to go back to basics after revamp lost viewers". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  8. Keen, Mary (21 April 2011). "A blue sky moment with Monty Don". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  9. Leapman, Michael (8 December 2010). "BBC turns to Monty Don, the hardy perennial". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  10. Sweney, Mark (31 August 2016). "BBC brings in new Gardeners' World presenters as Bake Off boss takes charge". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  11. "BBC extends RHS Chelsea Flower Show contract". 15 May 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  12. "Mark Lane". Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  13. "Gardeners' World: Series Info". Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  14. "Gardeners' World Titles - Acoustic Alchemy -Natural Elements -1996". 5 January 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  15. BBC "new arrangement of Morning Light by composer Will Gregory and recorded by BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Charles Hazlewood"
  16. Search, Gay (1 March 2006). "Gardeners' World: Through the Years". Carlton Books, Limited. Retrieved 6 January 2018 via Google Books.
  17. "Welcome to the NEC Group". Retrieved 6 January 2018.
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