Britain’s TV Channel 5 is running a series (8pm on Thursdays) hosted by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and called ‘I own Britain’s Best Garden’. It is a welcome contribution to debate about garden design but the point it dramatizes is the pathetic standard of TV discussion of the subject. Alan Titchmarch blazes the trail each year at Chelsea with remarks like ‘Wow – not bad is it’ and ‘This’ll set your knees wobbling – it certainly does mine’.
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is more sophisticated but the impression, perhaps correctly for its audience, is that the presenter, the critics and the designers lack substance in their chosen field. I know that many of the participants earn their living from garden design but this does not make them expert designers or expert design critics.
C’mon producers: you can do better – much, much better. Garden TV has been a massive growth area over the past 20 years. The time is right for a push into quality. Kevin McLeod conducts a more sophisticated discussion about architecture, as does Jeremy Clarkson about cars and Jamie Oliver about food.
Useful note to TV executives: Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear sells round and round the world.