Ursula Buchan

Garden shorts | 4 October 2008

Ursula Buchan on the new chief presenter of BBC 2’s Gardeners' World

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Ursula Buchan on the new chief presenter of BBC 2’s Gardeners' World

Where do you stand on the most important issue of the day, namely, whether the BBC should have passed over Carol Klein, to be chief presenter of BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World after the retirement of Monty Don, in favour of Toby Buckland?

The news that Carol, a longstanding co-presenter, was not invited to apply has irritated not just feminists but the rest of us who think she is sparky, original, knowledgeable and with a very good eye. When pressed hard, she rather wittily referred to a ‘grass ceiling’ and you can see her point.

Toby Buckland began his tenure on 12th September, and it was obvious pretty soon that he was personable and friendly, if entirely lacking Carol’s charisma.

Certainly, he seemed assured and competent in practical matters, which is important in an age when no one any longer learns their gardening from their Granddad on the allotment. Such competence has sometimes been lacking since the departure of Alan Titchmarsh; indeed, gardening tasks have, at times,been so slapdashly demonstrated that I have found myself viewing the television from between my fingers. But then, Carol Klein, a longtime nurserywoman, is also technically competent. So what was the BBC thinking of?