Monday, February 28, 2011

TV gardening presenter down in the dumps

THE television presenter Toby Buckland has told how he feels "let-down and humiliated" at being axed from Gardeners' World by the BBC.
After two years as the main presenter of the BBC Two show, Buckland is being replaced by Monty Don.
Don, 55, stepped down in 2008 after suffering a minor stroke but the show was accused of dumbing down with Buckland at the helm.
Buckland, 41, describes his time on the show as "the best and worst of times". He said: "Justifying the decisions of others is never easy and working all the hours God sends makes family time very hard to find."
In the latest edition of Amateur Gardening magazine, Buckland talks for the first time of his distress at BBC bosses deciding not to renew his contract. "There is still a raw wind blowing though me," he says.
But he also says that he has been "deeply humbled" by goodwill messages from viewers. "I will always have gardening and that's what will get me through feeling so let-down and humiliated," he adds.
His appointment in 2008 was controversial. He was chosen ahead of several more seasoned presenters.
The show's revamp angered some, who resented the "gardening made simple" approach. Ratings plunged from a high of five million to two million.
Early last year, the BBC admitted that the new format had failed and announced a return to "proper, grownup gardening".
The new series begins in the spring and Don will present the programme from his garden in Herefordshire.
Don said: "I've really missed the programme so I can't wait to get stuck in and get my hands dirty again."

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