Gardener’s Question Time does me a power of good. It comes on just after Sunday lunch and as soon as Eric Robson has introduced the panel I’m away. The weather forecast wakes me up in time for the last question and I’m then ready for whatever the world has to throw at me, such as my tea.
I should add that my tendency to drop off is my fault not theirs, and if anyone has any doubts about whether this is an entertaining programme, I’d recommend that they go to see one of the shows being recorded. The panel move about the country; a year or two back I saw a show being recorded in Windermere and tonight it was our turn, in Grange-over-Sands. The strength of the programme is that it’s not scripted; in fact the panellists don’t get to see the questions in advance, so everyone has to live on their wits. Which they do, splendidly. Tonight Eric Robson was in the chair and Anne Swithinbank, Matthew Biggs and Bob Flowerdew were there to answer the questions. Anne Swithinbank has a way of illustrating what she’s saying with flamboyant gestures and took no notice of Eric Robson’s pleading eyes which said “We’re on the radio dear”. She’s also a mind reader as she recommended Tithonia (quite an unusual choice) on the very day that I’d marked it to buy in my seed catalogue. Bob Flowerdew is very close to being batty, but he gives his answers with such wit and panache that nobody minds. Eric Robson and Matt Biggs are as sharp as newly honed secateurs and in fact there’s more humour in one edition of this radio show than in a whole series of Gardener’s World under the lugubrious charge of Monty Don. The audience tonight was too busy laughing for anyone to snatch 40 winks, even me.