The Victorian Kitchen Garden

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Coordinates: 51°25′45.38″N 1°31′26.96″W / 51.4292722°N 1.5241556°W / 51.4292722; -1.5241556

The Victorian Kitchen Garden
Genre Gardening
Directed by Keith Sheather
Composer(s) Paul Reade
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 13
Producer(s) Keith Sheather
Location(s) Chilton Foliat, England
Production company(s) BBC
Original channel BBC2
Original airing 1987
Followed by The Victorian Flower Garden, The Victoria Kitchen, Harry's Big Adventure, The Wartime & Kitchen Garden
Harry Dodson at the northern wall of The Victorian Kitchen Garden in 1989

The Victorian Kitchen Garden is a 13-part British television series produced in 1987 by Keith Sheather for BBC2; based on an idea by Jennifer Davies who later became Associate Producer. It recreated a kitchen garden of the Victorian era at Chilton Foliat. The presenter was the horticultural lecturer, Peter Thoday, the master gardener was Harry Dodson and the director was Keith Sheather.[1]

The theme music and soundtrack was composed by Paul Reade and performed principally by Emma Johnson playing the clarinet. It won the 1991 Ivor Novello award for best TV theme music.


The series began in the largely derelict walled garden at Chilton on a freezing January morning and followed Harry and his assistant Alison as they recreated the working kitchen garden.

The work involved many repairs from replanting the Box (Buxus) edging and replacing the gravel walks to reglazing the cold frames and repairing the magnificent Victorian wood-framed, brick-based glass-houses. The team were determined to use plants that the Victorian head gardener would have had available, so there were many hours of scouring old and modern catalogues and many disappointments. However, the required plants were found eventually. The programme displayed the various tools and techniques of Victorian gardening, and this was where Harry came into his own. He had used many of both and therefore could produce many of the tools from various cobwebbed corners of the service buildings and demonstrate how they were used.

The south wall. According to Google Earth measurements, the ground where the walled garden sits, has a 6 metre inclination to the south.

Sequels and later availability[edit]

The series was successful and spawned three sequels:[2]

  • The Victorian Kitchen, 1989
  • The Victorian Flower Garden, 1991
  • The Wartime Kitchen and Garden, 1993

Each of the series (except for The Wartime Kitchen and Garden) is commercially available on DVD, distributed by Acorn Media UK. Accompanying books of all four series were written by the associate producer, Jennifer Davies, and published by BBC Books.


Writing for The Guardian in 2009 during a repeat of the series, Lucy Mangan found that it was the "details that make the programme sing" and concluded by saying: "May it flourish somewhere in the schedules for ever."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leapman, Michael (9 August 2005). "Harry Dodson". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 14 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "Harry Dodson". The Independent (Independent News & Media). 20 September 2005. Retrieved 14 June 2008. 
  3. ^ Mangan, Lucy (10 November 2009). "Cable Girl: The Victorian Kitchen Garden". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 

External links[edit]