Why do I even care about this? I will probably never see this show—when I travel to England I don’t watch TV—yet I am interested to hear that Gardener’s World has hired a new presenter. Following in the footsteps of Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don is Toby Buckland, a professional nurseryman and landscaper who’s done some high profile gardens and won a prize for something (rather frighteningly) called “The Ethical Garden.”
Buckland beat out more popular choices like Chris Beardshaw and Carol Klein. So there you go. It’s interesting to me because this show is on at eight o’clock at night on BBC Two at the exact same time Eastenders is on. (The legendary soap beats GW in the ratings, but still.) A prime-time gardening show on a major network here? Not bloody likely.
And here’s the other interesting thing; these presenters are always guys. It’s noticeable enough that the Guardian has a poll out (no results yet) on whether Gardeners’ World is sexist. And the conservative Daily Telegraph opines:
Is the BBC out of step in choosing another man? After all, the days of Percy Thrower, with his waistcoat, belted trousers, and collar and tie, are long past. It has been computed that nowadays 70 per cent of home gardeners are women.
When it comes to looking after the million acres of garden in this country, a division of labour now operates.
The blokes have been relegated to doing the boring bits, such as mowing the lawn, cutting back shrubs and laying patios, while women do the fun, creative stuff – planting borders, sowing sweetpeas, and deadheading roses. It suits us all fine since, surveys show, women are less interested in machinery or DIY than in nurturing plants.
Well, aside from all the questionable generalizations there, women gardeners throughout history and certainly today have been prominent enough where you’d think a woman would be chosen. But no. Over there you have Titchmarsh, Don, and now Buckland, while here we have Paul James.
It’s a puzzlement.