|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||30–60 min. each|
|Picture format||Originally PAL
Later 576i (1998–2008 anamorphic 16:9, pre–1998 4:3)
Since 2008 1080i HD
Gardeners' World is a long-running BBC Television programme about gardening, first broadcast in 1968 and still running as of 2013. Its first episode was presented by Ken Burras and came from Oxford Botanical Gardens. 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.
The show was presented until 2003 from the lead presenter's own garden.
- First was Percy Thrower's The Magnolias in Shrewsbury
- Then Arthur Billitt's Clack's Farm at Ombersley in Worcestershire
- Followed by two gardens, both called Barnsdale, owned by Geoff Hamilton in Rutland
- Next was Alan Titchmarsh's garden at Woodroyd in Alton, Hampshire, renamed Barleywood for the programme
- Next was a rented garden, called Burmans Farm at Shottery ( ) in Stratford-upon-Avon which was called Berryfields for the purposes of the programme although it was often described as a 'top secret location near Birmingham'
- Partly as a result of changes in the presenters, for the 2009 series the garden was relocated to Edgbaston in Birmingham. A playing-field was redeveloped and this garden was given the name Greenacre.
- In 2011, with the return of Monty Don, the base relocated to Don's own garden Long Meadow in Herefordshire.
As the primary gardening programme on BBC Television, the programme attracts vocal opinion on the merits of the presenters and the content of each episode. 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. 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.
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 axed. The show concentrated more on gardening content, re-introducing 'Jobs for the weekend' and focusing on plant species.
In March 2011, Monty Don returned as the main presenter of the programme.
Lead presenters have included:
- Ken Burras (1968 – 1969)
- Percy Thrower (1969 – 1976)
- Arthur Billitt (1976 – 1979)
- Geoff Hamilton (1979 – 1996)
- Alan Titchmarsh (1996 – 2002)
- Monty Don (2003 – 2008)
- Toby Buckland (2008 – 2010)
- Monty Don (2011 –)
The presenter's assistants 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, Carol Klein, Bob Flowerdew, and John Kelly.
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.
Links and spin offs
A book based on the history of the series entitled Gardeners' World Through The Years was released in 2003 by Gay Search.
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, co-located with the BBC Summer Good Food Show.