Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Titchmarsh wins garden shows battle

Alan Titchmarsh scored more viewers than Gardener's World

Alan Titchmarsh has triumphed in a turf war against his old BBC Two show Gardener's World.

The green-fingered guru won the first battle as his new ITV1 series went head-to-head with the long-established BBC show on Friday.

Titchmarsh's new ITV1 show, Love Your Garden, drew more than 50 per cent more viewers than his former programme, now fronted by Monty Don.

The ITV1 series - which was on air for 30 minutes - drew an average audience of 3.4 million, while the hour-long BBC Two programme attracted an average of 2.2 million.

Titchmarsh, who was the main host of Gardener's World for six years, visits domestic gardens around the UK for his new show, advising viewers how to achieve the look.

However he continues to anchor the BBC's coverage of Chelsea Flower show, alongside his ITV commitments.

Don replaced him on the BBC series, leaving in 2008 following a stroke, but returned this year when Toby Buckland was dropped as the frontman for the series.

However, Gardener's World has seen an upturn in its audience since Don's return. Last year the series drew an average of just 1.85 million.

A BBC spokesman said: "Gardeners' World is firing on all cylinders at the moment and we're really pleased with how it is performing."

An ITV spokeswoman said: "We're delighted that Love Your Garden has already established a strong audience."

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