As the garden world gets ready for another Gardeners' World makeover, I'm wondering if it's really possible to replicate a cooking format on a gardening show?
The biggest problem I can see is that gardening cannot be rushed.....and telly audiences like a bit of action and excitement.
Yes, of course, one can do a garden makeover in a weekend and that makes for interesting telly. It's thrilling to see how a landscape can be so dramatically changed in such a short space of time. But watching grass grow can be a slow and tedious pastime.
One just can't imagine Carol Klein, shouting 'ready, steady, pot! and then Monty Don going on to lament how plant roots haven't quite developed in the thirty minute time slot they've had in the propagator.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see gardening become appealing to a wider audience - although I do think this is happening slowly anyway - but I'm not sure it's going to happen using Gardeners' World as the vehicle.
BBC producers should concede that the current Gardeners' World format is highly successful. It's not dissimilar to the old Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson, James May & Richard Hammond. The BBC was forced to change Top Gear but look at the mess and carnage caused when new presenters were brought in.
I still have nightmares when I think back to the time the BBC brought in a new producer who then copied the Top Gear format. Gardeners' World viewers were furious. Needless to say, the format failed. And it failed because the programme was being forced to be something it wasn't capable of being.
Having said that, I don't know how long Gardeners World can go on using the current presenters. Ten, fifteen years, maybe? There will be, eventually, a need to change.
In my view, what's needed is a garden construction format. Give budding gardeners and landscapers a small plot, a weekend, and then let them build a garden (or part of) from scratch. It would then be up to garden and landscape professionals to critique the results. Why has the cement mortar crumbled? What is making a paving slab rock?
The Great Interior Design Challenge is a much more appealing format and would replicate well as a landscape/gardening show.
A series of elimination will see the top gardener/landscaper crowned king or queen of the garden.