Gardeners' World protest blooms in face of sports threat

THEY are the green-fingered army who are leaving BBC bosses red-faced.

Daniel Lambie was upset by the rescheduling of Gardeners' World. Picture: Neil Hanna
Daniel Lambie was upset by the rescheduling of Gardeners' World. Picture: Neil Hanna

Fans of the TV show Gardeners’ World have launched an online attack against the BBC’s repeated “bumping” of the programme in favour of sporting events.

The social media campaign has received an overwhelming response from furious gardening fanatics who are sick of seeing their favourite Friday night show replaced by football or snooker.

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More than 1200 people have flocked to join the Keep Gardeners’ World Growing Facebook page, set up by devoted fan Daniel Lambie.

And an online petition lobbying the broadcaster to stop cancelling the BBC2 show has received more than 3300 signatures.

Mr Lambie, from West Calder, said: “It started off as a bit of a joke. I put something up on a Facebook gardening group and people started responding, saying how terrible it was that the programme keeps getting bumped.

“By this point, I’d had half a bottle of wine and thought I would set up a specific Facebook group and it just went crazy. I thought the group would get maybe 100 people or so, we would have a laugh and come up with some daft ideas and that would be that.

“But now I’ve had to appoint four admins to help me administrate the Facebook group and monitor all the traffic.”

Despite its light-hearted origins, Mr Lambie was quick to point out the serious side of the campaign. It is the only gardening programme of its kind, and has been on air since the 1960s.

The 45-year-old publisher said: “The grievance is that the programme only gets half an hour a week and it’s the only programme now on TV that covers gardening.

“A lot of people who watch it don’t really enjoy sport and that’s what it’s being bumped for. It used to be on for an hour and now every third week or so it’s getting cancelled. The BBC just doesn’t give it priority.

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“It isn’t a snobby programme. Even if you’ve never gardened before, you can watch that and get some practical tips. It’s going to be off for a couple of weeks in May which is peak time for gardening and a lot of people rely on the seasonal advice that is given.”

In the current series, an episode was cancelled to air the Women’s Euro 2017 qualifier and two more will be axed in the coming weeks.

A BBC spokesman said: “Gardeners’ World is an important part of the BBC2 schedule and we do try to minimise disruptions but our commitment to live sport coverage, which is also enjoyed by BBC2 viewers, means that our schedule is occasionally subject to change.”