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Gardeners' Question Time

Monday 7 September 2009, 13:45

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer

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Recording Gardeners Question Time

I went to the Gardeners' Question Time annual Summer (sic) party over the weekend - at the Royal Horticultural Society Northern headquarters at Harlow Carr - just outside Harrogate. It was not Summery. The wind blew hard and it was cloudy - but it was fun - and the first time we've held the party away from the programme's Southern base at Sparsholt. We are establishing a GQT garden/plot at Harlow Carr in an attempt to find out more about differences in growing conditions between the North and South of England - and the experiments will provide useful editorial material for the programme - for instance, in measuring the impact of climate change.

Gardeners' Question Time is now made by the independent company Somethin' Else. (It had previously been made very well by Taylormade - who bowed out voluntarily in the summer after a long stint). We are not planning any upheaval to the programme - but some things have already changed. We are placing the features within the programme in a different way - and I think it makes for a better listen. The web site is improved and the programme is now also available as a podcast. Audience figures have held up well in recent years. The most recent RAJAR figures show that over the course of a typical week over 1.4 million people catch at least 5 minutes the programme - a figure that has remained essentially unchanged in the last 5 years.

Of course the questions and answers from the audience remain the central plank of Gardeners' Question Time and on a personal note I am perpetually amazed at how the panellists answer anything that's thrown at them without so much as a note or book in sight. And they have no advance notice of the questions at all. Amazing.

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    Comment number 1.

    Gardeners Question Time has a blog page?
    I no longer listen to the programme even though I am in that age band where it was almost mandatory to do so.
    In the days of Gemmel,Loads,Smith and Sowerbutts it was one of the great humanist programmes on BBC. The knowledge and humour were unending.Magic stories about real people and always lots of laughter.My dad died one Sunday after lunch listening to them whilst smoking his last cigarette.

    There was a moment when Sowerbutts(Bill) reflected on his youth, working with his dad in the nursery market garden at Ashton under Line, north of Manchester. Sunday mornings were when they pushed the flat top truck down the hill to Belle Vue Zoo to collect the load of animal muck. Lions and tigers kept the cats away. But that was all about 'wireless' and none of this 'radio' stuff.
    I think there was recently a question about zoo muck which got a clinical reply.

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    Comment number 2.

    Gardeners'Question Time is a very good programme, but I do not listen to it every week: Sunday is a "heavy" listening day for me and I need breaks. Another thing is that if people see you in a garden with a spade they think you are John Cushnie and think it fine to ask you absolutely anything. Well, I'm not John Cushnie so just leave me alone in peace!

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    Comment number 3.

    Shipping forecast style at just before 6 today (15.9.09) was BRILLIANT. Neat, explicit, simple, no messing, memorable.

    Please tell BBC TV that after 10 o'clock news needs improving --- it spends more time telling you what has been and then the presenter covers up the bit you are interested in. Quite often the presenter is cut short to give us BBC program ads.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Before I signed in I did not realise how old are the comments. I was just interested, with the runner bean season round he corner, what everyone does with what is often a bumper crop?


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Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.


See the latest on our blog


Find out about this year's panel and theme