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The BBC totally wasted Toby's talents

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Messages: 1 - 26 of 26
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by corymb (U14586644) on Thursday, 9th December 2010

    It seems only right to balance the views on this board by sharing the huge outrage expressed by other boarders - on both the guardian website and adam pasco's blog over at gardenersworld com - that Toby has been ridden roughshod over and made a scapegoat by the BBC.

    Toby's first appearance back in Sept 2008 was greeted by almost 100% approval by the 120 or so posters on this m/board despite his lack of fame, wealth or entitlement. It was only when Toby was saddled with the beeb's ill-conceived plan to modernise the programme that the rot set in. A lack of support, promotion, fickle schedulers and jealous back-biters have all helped to seal his fate.

    Yet look at Monty - to crash out and burn so many times and yet still be rescued by the BBC. Why when so many of his projects - Dream Farm, Mastercrafts, Around the World - all started with high viewing figures and fizzled out to less than 2m? Around the World was universally slated by the press. Could it be that this decision really comes down to who you know, not what you know and that the truth is that even in this day and age, going to the right school will always get you further than talent, hard graft and loyalty.

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Yakram (U2443370) on Thursday, 9th December 2010

    I got the distinct feeling that Mr Buckland was not given the correct vehicle or licence to freely share his considerable knowledge and undoubted talent with the gardening fraternity. The words are not wholly mine, but also of a colleague of mine who was a mentor in Mr B's younger days.
    GW is something akin to gardening, but not as most of us in horticulture know it - there is no meat to the bones.

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Carolb73 (U14718411) on Thursday, 9th December 2010

    To my mind GW was just beginning to find the right level with some of the wacky stuff dropped and the garden maturing nicely. Toby is much more practical than Monty - and what did Alys do wrong? Now we'll only get half an hour again. It's a shame and feel for Toby to be treated like this.

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Obelixx (U2157162) on Thursday, 9th December 2010

    I never really took to Toby's presenting style and don't like his gardening style either but I do feel the Beeb has been shabby and that he and Alys deserve better. I enjoyed Alys' own series based on growing food in her back garden far better than anything she's done on GW and I think Toby could have done a whole lot better given a decent production team and direction.

    I do wonder too about the wisdom of resurrecting Monty when there must be so many perfectly capable, presentable gardeners out there who could inspire, enthuse and inform us.

    We'll all just have to wait and see and hope for the best with fingers, toes and secateurs crossed.

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by TomBradbury (U3349234) on Thursday, 9th December 2010

    I think people must realise that Toby's output for GW programme was the result of a huge number of people working behind the scenes, not least the producers of GW who were no doubt the people who were making the informed decisions about how Toby et al should deliver the programme.. To be honest I thoroughly hated GW when Toby came on board and the constant competitive boyish bantering that went on with Joe Swift, however, by the time of the second season with Toby, that had all been tuned down and I was enjoying the programme and was tuning in every week. To coin a phrase Toby grew on me, and I was enjoying his presentation both in terms of style but also of content of things in the show. I have also always enjoyed Alys, and although I am not into the things she came up with, she provided a new fresh perspective on gardening that had never been shown before. I certainly noticed when she wasn't around for those few weeks in November 2010.

    I remember GW when Geoff Hamilton was around and for me, he is the yardstick that I compare all gardening presenters by. Alan Titchmarsh is obviously the housewives choice, and I love Carol Klein for her knowledge as she is great plants person. However, I never warmed to Monty Don and this is when I fell out of favour with GW programme and lost complete interest in the programme. Although the BBC are now shouting form the roof tops his return in the Spring, I'm not so excited by it, and will miss Toby and Alys. I don't know if they read these posts, but I wish them well for whatever they do or wherever they go next.

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by al (U14718745) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    I am rather disappointed to see Berryfields go. I fully enjoyed watching this gaden (if you can call it that) develop. I would like to see TB in berryfields to continue his work there, MD in his garden and get rid of all the clips of national collections, Etc (which provide the BBC with ample footage for repeating over and over again). As a viewer I find these completely redundant.

    I would also like to see what is being done in the wild acoss the country in terms of planting, rather than RHS gardens even though they are very nice 100% managed gardens. I

    will watch MD every week its on but I doubt I will complete enjoy it until BBC find a new editorial team.

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by Obelixx (U2157162) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    All gardens, be they wild or manicured, are managed in the sense of deliberate intervention by humans. Wild gardens, especially meadows and woodlands, have to be managed to introduce the species grown and prevent their being taken over by more vigorous invaders and introductions and keep clearings for flora in woodland areas. Cultivated areas can be managed to encourage wildlife by leaving ground cover and seed heads and planting single flowered varieties rather than doubles.

    The RHS gardens do this too and research has shown that wildlife doesn't discriminate between natives and foreign introductions. What wild creatures want is shelter and food and these come from a wide variety of plants and habitats so you can leave a patch of nettles as food for the caterpillars of some varieties of butterfly but the butterfly themselves will appreciate nectar from, for example, imports such as buddleia.

    Berryfields was a while ago. It will be interesting to see what happens to Greenacre - if the Beeb ever tells us. Let's hope locals will keep us informed as they did in the case of Joe's abandoning his allotment once filming stopped.

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Paul N (U6451125) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    "Crash and burn out so many times?" The programmes you mention are all ones I thoroughly enjoyed as, to my mind, Monty Don can do no wrong. Yes, the production team wwre mainly but not solely at fault.

    I, like many, eagerly look forward to welcoming Monty back again next Spring.

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by novicetyro (U14209429) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    I thought that Toby was just starting to get things right, then came the bombshell.
    But he has had 2 years and It is probably for the best that he goes for the sake of the program. I do think that Joe Swift should go as he seems to loose touch with reality with some of his projects (as regards to the cost of materials).
    As for Rachel I have commented on her before and my opinion is still the same.
    Alys was just a little to quirky for some gardeners.At least with Monty presenting the viewing figures will be up for the first few weeks at least. The best of luck to Monty on his new project.

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by SueB (U14719027) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    I can only agree, the BBC have really wasted Toby’s talents. I’m really sad to see him go. As someone who works in the industry, I can tell that Toby really knows his stuff. He was a breath of fresh air on that show. You can tell he has been gardening for years. I think GW is taking a step back rather than forward by getting Monty back. It is obvious that GW axed Toby because Monty wanted his job back.

    Its desperation by the GW team and just shows they don’t have a clue about where the industry is going or how we are gardening.

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by corymb (U14586644) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    Toby inherited a programme that was already in disarray. Two seasons - especially with one devoted to an ill-thought-out experiment - is hardly enough to allow someone totally unknown to bed in. Alan was loathed for a good couple of years when he took over. It wasn't just because he followed Saint Geoff. Everybody thought of him as a chat-show host because he'd been at Pebble Mill.

    When the press talk about GW's falling viewing figures they forget to mention that it dropped from 3m to 2.3m from when Alan was in post to when Monty left. That's because all they ever did at Berryfields was veg-growing or fiddling about with the same helianthus in the Long Border.

    Viewing figs for Around the World started at more than 3 and ended at less than 2 because the programme offered no gardening insight, only feelings and expressions of astonishment. If his other series were so good, why were neither recommissioned.

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by Paul N (U6451125) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    Good grief, after two years of people on this messageboard complaining bitterly about GW, the best news for years is being treated by some as 'The end of the World is Nigh'. Will some of you never be satisfied? Monty Dull? You can't be serious. Toby went because Monty wanted his job back? Cloud cuckoo land. Fortunately the majority of of us appreciate him and are over the moon.

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by Trillium (U2170869) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    All fair points, but the PTB must be scratching their heads in some bemusement at the belated acclaim for Toby here and elsewhere.

    Like you, I think the programme content and setting were much bigger problems than Toby himself and in time he may have really shone. But I don't think we (the viewing public generally) really pinpointed that distinction while the programme was on air. There was comment after comment each week here about this or that done badly, myself included. Of course, it may well have been poor content or script that was actually at fault. I hinted at this a couple of weeks ago, suggesting that Toby probably doesn't throw his tools around, but that the camera crew like the dropped fork shot as a fill in and that Toby should refuse to do it.

    But unfortunately, once you get associated with something that doesn't work it sticks.

    Just a thought - perhaps the team decided that Greenacre was a disaster? They couldn't exactly build another one could they, and Toby doesn't have a useable garden. So maybe Toby was the baby out with the Greenacre bathwater, in favour of Ivington. Maybe...

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by RedCauli (U14159680) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    I've felt completely gutted since I heard about Toby. Since he took over I've enjoyed GWorld more than I have for years and really looked forward to relaxing Friday evenings. He has such a pleasant personality and I've hated all the criticism aimed at him personally. He didn't deserve that. My sons used to joke that they'd have to ban me from the message board when I got steamed up about what was being said about him. I've got nothing against Monty personally but his presenting style is too intense for me. Carol too knows her stuff - she ought to, she must have been gardening since before Toby was born and she's had a long and successful career with her nursery, exhibiting at Chelsea, and all the TV programmes she has been, and still is, involved with. But I would be happier seeing them both now encouraging the young ones, letting them develop their own presenting skills, rather than taking over from them. I say this as an old codger, who never thinks she knows it all - I know many will not agree with me. Anyway, my menfolk usually forfeit watching the rugby league match on Sky on Friday evenings - it always clashes with GWorld - but now they won't have to, so every cloud has a silver lining. Since Toby came on the scene I've saved the progs on DVD and also all the programme information each week, so I'l be happy planning what to grow next year for quite a while. Good luck, Toby.

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Carole53 (U14718220) on Friday, 10th December 2010

    I cannot help the feeling that the location was the BIG problem with the new format. The most successful GW's have been filmed in someones garden and now the BBC are going back to that format. If Toby had been given a garden and not a field things might have been different. Just a thought.

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by gertiedog (U14720495) on Saturday, 11th December 2010

    The beeb has got it wrong again. Toby and the entire first series was a disaster, being a cross between x factor and gardeners world making it almost unwatchable to gardeners. Then the beeb did the right thing listened to the complaints, got rid of the "trendy" items and returned the programme back to gardening. Toby then through the second series has been informative interesting and returned the programme back to one which was thoroughly watchable. Now the planners appear to be getting rid of someone based on what went on in series one and making no reference to the latest series where it once again fitted like an old gardening pullover and TB had become a most welcome guide.

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by Salino (U2550900) on Saturday, 11th December 2010

    In reply to RedCauli:
    ''I've felt completely gutted since I heard about Toby. Since he took over I've enjoyed GWorld more than I have for years and really looked forward to relaxing Friday evenings. He has such a pleasant personality and I've hated all the criticism aimed at him personally. He didn't deserve that''.

    ...I completely agree with this. I found him to be the best presenter since Geoff Hamilton. I think he suffered from the production.

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 17.

    Posted by calben (U14720981) on Sunday, 12th December 2010

    I think Peter Seabrook hit the nail on the head in his column yesterday. Why get rid of two qualified horticulturists and leave the show to be run by people without a qualification between them. Apparently the most often asked question to the RHS is how to prune an apple tree.

    Currently the only gardening programme on UK tv has no solid horticultural ground. It feels like taking more ill-advised risks with the programme - and looked what happened last time they did that. Toby and the new team covered a broad range of topics week in week out, whereas under Monty's tenture it became more and more niche, aimed at his particular interests and growing on a scale only achievable by the National Trust.

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Barbara Connell (U14734410) on Wednesday, 29th December 2010

    I and my sister, daughters and all our gardening friends are outraged at the return of Monty Don to Gardeners World. We have all including my late mother watched this programme from the beginning and only when Monty Don was the presenter did we stop watching on a regular basis.
    We can only hope he is on a very short contract and that you get rid of him as soon as possible so we can resume watching our highlight of the week.
    We are also outraged that we only learned of this imposition of Mr Don through the letters page in the Radio Times, we would have liked to have protested against this decision before it was too late.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by Joe_the_Gardener (U3478064) on Thursday, 30th December 2010

    I have to say, Barbara, that there are a lot of things in the world that are worth getting outraged about, but GW in all or any of its incarnations isn't really one of them.

    Neither is it, or any other programme, the result of a democratic process.

    If, as someone says above, one of the most frequent gardening questions is about how to prune apple trees, then perhaps there should be a weekly programme about this if the voice of the people is to prevail.


    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by Fairosa (U14734781) on Thursday, 30th December 2010

    I absolutely agree with every word. I'm so sorry to see Toby go.
    I enjoyed Monty's Round the World trip but I find his style on G.W. too intense for me.

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by happytobyfan (U13663471) on Thursday, 30th December 2010

    There is a saying that ‘Everyone knows where they were when JFK was killed’, well the night I heard Monty Don had finished with GW is imprinted in my mind, in the same way. I didn’t know at the time that he was ill (I wouldn’t wish that on anyone) but I felt like all my Christmases had come at once. I couldn't wait to 'phone all my friends and give them the good news. Friday night’s GW was the highlight of my week’s viewing, and he completely ruined it. In his time on it, he managed to lose around 1 million viewers – myself and my friends were amongst them. I read a message on here the other day, from someone who owns a Garden Centre, who said all of his customers had stopped watching GW when he took over. These are some more.

    Some people have put comments on here to the effect of ‘Give him a chance. Wait and see’. Well I think the people who know they will probably stop watching again, remember what he was like before, and can see no reason why he would be any different. He is obsessed with fruit and veg. He had a programme years ago, from his own garden (Fork to Fork) and it was obvious that ‘garden’ was completely given over to the only thing he is interested in. I think it’s quite telling that many of the people on here who want him back are also sad about losing Alys (another one obsessed with fruit and veg).

    His woeful lack of knowledge on subjects other than F & V was highlighted by the programme which Penny Meadmore, from the RHS was on. She ‘corrected’ him on every statement he made.

    I know, on the odd occasion, he did venture away from the F & V, I well remember the programmes he did (in his usual preaching way) on Global Warming. He was telling us how we should be thinking about growing Mediterranean plants. Having just lost a whole lot of plants this year, which are in the greenhouse, and which I have had for years, I wonder will he re-visit that one again.

    Yes, he may be different next time – if he’s had a total personality transplant.

    I am one of the many, many people who will miss Toby, and who think he has been treated really badly.

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 22.

    Posted by Joe_the_Gardener (U3478064) on Thursday, 30th December 2010

    '........He is obsessed with fruit and veg.... that ‘garden’ was completely given over to the only thing he is interested in. I think it’s quite telling that many of the people on here who want him back are also sad about losing Alys (another one obsessed with fruit and veg).......'

    Fruit and veg in a garden? How ridiculous! Mind you, if Monty's got two acres of fruit and veg he must have a big market stall.

    Presenting GW is a sodium chlorate-filled chalice if every viewer wants it to be the way they prefer. Let's face it, with three or four good books and the internet no-one 'needs' GW. It's just another lifestyle programme, so either like it or lump it, but all this character assassination is so tiresome.


    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 23.

    Posted by the cycling gardener (U2350416) on Thursday, 30th December 2010

    Well said Joe.

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by Xylem (U14659408) on Friday, 31st December 2010

    The producers of GW are using Toby as an apparent reason for the complaints -to hide the fact that they are responsible for the change in the programme, not Toby. Monty can't help his irritating, salesman's delivery, because of his non-gardening previous life. If the production had not dumbed down, had not brought in the silly banter and had let Toby show his horticultural authority, he would have been a winner. I'm one viewer who returned after Monty left and now will depart again. Sack the production team responsible, not Toby.- the real culprits are getting away with the crime.

    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 3.

    This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

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