My name is Elizabeth and I am an anglophile. There. I own the entire DVD set of Upstairs Downstairs, not to mention the Irish RM and Mapp & Lucia. I have read all of Austen, Dickens and Trollope (most twice) and my Netflix queue includes every possible adaptation of these three that has ever been made.
That’s all well and good; these are the areas of my mania that are easy to indulge. But in at least one aspect of my obsession I am continually frustrated. Because English people clearly care more about gardening than we do and—equally indisputably—have been at it longer, they get to have much cooler gardening magazines and TV shows, most of which are unavailable to me. I couldn’t watch the recent Monty Don series on gardens around the world (though I’ve heard mixed reviews) and I doubt BBC America will ever carry the most popular of the British gardening shows, Gardener’s World—which, believe it or not, is shown on Friday nights over there. Imagine. And it’s been running for forty years. Can you envision the following sentence appearing in an American newspaper about a gardening show here?—Few roles on British television cultivate quite the same level of devotion as that of lead presenter on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World.
Don’t think so. Anyway, the latest news on Gardener’s World is that THIS guy (above) will probably be taking it over from Monty Don, who has suffered a minor stroke. “Heathcliffe of the potting shed,” they call him. There are other candidates, but Matthew Wilson, an RHS curator and wildlife book author, is considered the frontrunner. Would this even be considered news on this side of the Atlantic? I doubt it. Does Paul James (and there’s an obsession I really don’t understand, in spite of all the comments Susan gets on him) even come close? No. It is not fair.