This week saw another change in the line up of the BBC's flagship garden programme, Gardeners' World.
The new series will begin on BBC2 in the Spring. Back come the king of corduroy, Monty Don and ex-ballerina Rachel De Thame and out go current host Toby Buckland and his flame-haired side kick Alys Fowler.
On 7th December the BBC's press office released the following from Alison Kirkham, Commissioning Editor, Factual Features and Formats: "I'm delighted to welcome Monty back and I really look forward to seeing him sharing his expertise in his own environment. I'm thrilled viewers will learn the secrets of the garden he's spent the last two decades creating from scratch." No mention of the leaving presenters.
Toby Buckland showing characteristic magnanimity and made the following statement on his own website: "I have put years into learning the craft of gardening and it has been an absolute honour to use my skills presenting Gardeners' World for the last three series. Having had the wonderful opportunity to meet so many of the nation's gardeners has only confirmed my belief that gardening is a broad church, something that is for everybody, regardless of how much land you have or how much money you earn. When all is said and done, I stand up for the ordinary gardener and I want to say thanks to so many of you for standing up for me."
As a simple blogger and gardener I believe that Gardeners' World presenters need time to 'bed in' (if you'll pardon the gardening analogy) and always struggle against 'the greats' (Thrower, Hamilton and Titchmarsh); it is no coincidence that the longest serving manager in football's Premier League is also the most successful.
I would have liked to seen Toby stay on for at least another couple of series, giving him a chance to win over the die hard fans, some of whom have been watching for 42 years! Alys Fowler is also an exciting talent and I am sure that she will continue to attract younger gardeners to whichever other gardening series she is given in the future.
One thing is for sure, whether you are a fan of Monty and Rachel or of Toby and Alys (or you don't care either way) Gardeners' World will surely not succeed without BBC commitment to their presenters. So please stop the merry-go-round - I want to get off!
You can visit Toby's website here: www.tobybuckland.com
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