Beechgrove Garden has been on our screens for the last 38 years, and celebrates its 1000th edition this year. Produced by Tern TV for BBC Scotland, it is the longest running contract in the BBC and whilst it may be gentle and ‘couthy’ in its presentation, this homegrown success has got serious street cred!
Jim McColl started with the programme in 1978 and celebrated his 80th birthday last year. Carole Baxter clocks up 30 years this year and together with George Anderson and Chris Beardshaw these expert gardeners have almost 200 years of experience between them.
It is an amazing achievement for any programme to be continually commissioned by the BBC for as long as this and clearly that success has to be down to the BG team both on and off camera, but who is the real power behind this success story? I went to take a sneak peak behind the scenes at the Beechgrove Garden here in Aberdeen and to meet Gwyneth Hardy, the programme’s Series Producer, Director and Co-founder of Tern.
Gwyneth, you have been the Director and Series Producer for Beechgrove Garden for over 20 years, what does that role entail? As S.P. the buck stops with me but Beechgrove is very much a team game where my specific role is to manage the production processes. Creatively I set the tone and the concept of the programme and directing-wise I pull all the threads together to try and make it work on camera.
What are the special ingredients that keep the programme relevant and so popular with its viewers? BG is a practical, get-your-hands-dirty gardening programme presented by real experts. We are unashamedly cheap but very cheerful. We try to make Beechgrove everyman’s gardening. We show the successes and the failures of every aspect of growing in difficult conditions, in an honest way so that the viewer is gaining real knowledge. Viewers know they can trust what they are being told because it’s been tried and tested by experts.
The BG team will be giving the garden a few nips and tucks and in some cases a full facelift! New to the programme will be Gardening ona Budget, How to Grow a Gardener and the whole team will be on the road for the new BG Roadshows stopping at some wonderful locations: Nairn, Strathkinnes (near St. Andrews) and Gairloch. A thousand programmes and still growing!