Belfast Telegraph

Gardeners’ Question Time hands the trowel to new host Kathy Clugston

She will replace Eric Robson on the BBC Radio 4 show.

Kathy Clugston (BBC/Radio 4/PA)
Kathy Clugston (BBC/Radio 4/PA)

Radio 4 newsreader Kathy Clugston has been unveiled as the new chairwoman of Gardeners’ Question Time – in a move she joked was “odd”.

She will replace Eric Robson, 72, who is retiring from the long-running BBC programme, which first aired in 1947.

Clugston, 49, is known for her work as a newsreader and continuity announcer on Radio 4 and as the voice of the Shipping Forecast.

An amateur gardener, she said she will not shy away from asking panellists to spell out the basics.

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Kathy Clugston (BBC/PA)

Clugston joked on Twitter that an “odd thing has happened” when her role was announced.

And the broadcaster, who has anosmia, meaning she has no sense of smell, said in a statement: “I have had a few pinch-me moments since I started at Radio 4 – my first Shipping Forecast, reading the news on the Today programme – but this beats them all.

“I’ve listened to Gardeners’ Question Time for years but never did I imagine I’d be stepping into the shoes of the great Eric Robson. It is one of the pillars of Radio 4. I feel honoured and excited.”

The Belfast-born newsreader, who will be the show’s first female host, added: “One of my jobs as host will be to make new listeners feel welcome. I’m a novice and won’t be shy about asking the panellists to spell things out if they get too technical.”

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Gardeners’ Question Time will get its first female host when Eric Robson, left, retires and is replaced by Kathy Clugston (BBC/PA)

Robson said it felt the “appropriate time” to move on after 25 years, saying: “I’ve loved every minute of it, but I’m also delighted to be handing the trowel on to Kathy, someone I know will fit right in to the Gardeners’ Question Time family.”

Clugston’s first programme will air on May 3.

Robson’s departure will be marked by a special programme broadcast from Manchester on April 26.

Peter Gibbs, the show’s co-chairman, will remain in his role.

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