Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Back to basics for Gardeners' World

Toby Buckland
Toby Buckland will continue to present the show

TV show Gardeners' World is to go back to its roots after viewers began deserting the show following a revamp.

Critics of the BBC Two show accused it of abandoning seasoned gardeners in favour of trying to win over viewers who were new growers.

Producers now plan to concentrate on wooing back their "core" audience, and will prune half-an-hour from the show.

"We have listened to the audience and have taken the criticism on the chin," executive producer Gill Tierney said.

It will be a much simpler offering, there'll be nothing fancy going on.
Gill Tierney, Gardeners' World

The show, which is broadcast on Friday nights, was extended by half-an-hour last year.

New features such as the "30-minute challenge," in which presenters competed to create items such as hanging baskets, were introduced.

Ms Tierney said the production team planned to "refocus" the format.

"Change is always difficult and sometimes you don't get it completely right... which is why we are making the changes we are making," she wrote in the Radio Times magazine.

'Unwelcome' change

Writing in the magazine, presenter Gay Search added that the programme's popularity went into decline following the departure of previous presenter Monty Don, who left for health reasons.

"His enforced departure signalled what I and many other loyal viewers saw as a deliberate - and unwelcome - change in direction that caused damage to the channel's reputation for serious gardening," she said.

"Gardeners I've met at horticultural societies or in garden centres are almost unanimous in feeling that the programme is now targeting younger, less experienced gardeners at the expense of older, more knowledgeable ones."

The next series will return to half-hourly episodes and run from March to October to catch more of the gardening year. Toby Buckland will also continue as presenter.

She added: "It will be a much simpler offering, there'll be nothing fancy going on."

A BBC spokesman said it was important to cater to a range of gardening needs.

Correction 15 January, 2010: An earlier version of this story mistakenly attributed some quotes by presenter Gay Search to Gardeners' World's executive producer, Gill Tierney.

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