Belfast Telegraph

Titchmarsh leaves flower show role

Alan Titchmarsh is stepping down from the BBC's Chelsea Flower Show coverage after 30 years as host.

The green-fingered guru will not be part of next year's programming, as a result of a revamp of broadcasts from the event. Chelsea had been his last major commitment for the BBC, and his departure effectively ends a lengthy association.

Newsreader Sophie Raworth will join the presenting team along with Gardeners' World host Monty Don for the 2014 coverage of the horticultural highlight on BBC One and BBC Two.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "The way the Chelsea coverage will be presented across the BBC has changed for 2014, and Alan decided to step away from next year's show."

Sophie and Monty join regulars such as Joe Swift, Carol Klein and Rachel de Thame for more than 12 hours of broadcasts, including live coverage from the show ground.

Alan, 64, said: "I really enjoyed my 30 years of presenting Chelsea Flower Show coverage for the BBC and wish the new team every success."

He has increasingly turned his attentions away from the BBC, with an afternoon ITV chat show and a series on Classic FM following his departure from Radio 2.

Alan left his role as anchor of BBC Two's Gardeners' World in 2002, which had been filmed in his own garden.

Other returning faces for the 101st Chelsea show include Andy Sturgeon, Chris Beardshaw and Toby Buckland.

Sophie - who unlike the majority of Chelsea presenters is not a gardening expert - said: "I am delighted and honoured to be a part of the Chelsea 2014 team. I grew up in a family of very keen gardeners so know something about the joys and sheer hard work that go in to creating such beautiful places."

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