This show has been on air since 1968 and is a BBC classic full of tips and tricks for keeping your flowerbeds full of colour, and how to get the best harvest out of your veg patch.
Monty Don is currently at the helm, with his Yorkshire terrier Patti and golden retriever Nellie in tow and the setting is his own gorgeous garden Longmeadow in Herefordshire. Other presenters take us round some of Britain’s loveliest gardens, ranging from acres of greenery to city allotments, teaching us how to make the most of our green spaces. Since first airing the format has hardly changed, giving it a classic feel that is utterly charming and calming.
Obviously, nobody admits to watching this show, apart from your Aunty Mabel, but clearly younger types are tuning in, as it’s one of the BBC’s most popular factual programmes. It even airs at prime time on Friday night where even Must is out carousing, away from the telly. So clearly, there’s a market for it, and we’ve got a theory: it’s the perfect hangover telly for those whose new Friday is actually Thursday – the gentle birdsong and pottering through gardens, with the cosy narration of their dulcet toned presenters means we don’t even need to be hungover to watch it – a long day at work involving a difficult customer who insists she see the manager is more than enough stress to warrant a calming wander through a telly garden. It’s like the cultural palate cleanser, having the same effect as an after-dinner mint, clearing the way for the high-octane shows of the evening.
It might not be as riveting as our other shows, and you won’t be tuning in each week to see whether that character got caught in the affair, or if they finally locked up that crim. In fact, it really doesn’t matter if you watch one episode then don’t tune in again for several weeks. Or years. And what a glorious thing that is – non-committal telly is, in our eyes, essential, and Gardener’s World is an uplifting offering which we can all dig into.
Even the Americans, it seems. In a recent article in The Washington Post, Adrian Higgins called Gardener’s World “the pandemic escape we didn’t know we needed,” offering “succor to its stuck-at-home viewers over the past year.”
First shown January 1968.