For our sins, we’re regular viewers of Gardener’s World. We don’t have a huge garden but it’s nice pottering around in the raised beds, or just generally enjoying nature. Increasingly though, the part of the show that’s relevant to us is around 20 seconds long and comes just before the end credits- the “What you should do in your garden this weekend” bit. The rest of it is filled with the current curse of the airwaves, aspirational TV. Funnily enough I don’t want to see how someone with effectively a small holding manages their variety of pampas grasses or plants their lake. I want to know more practical stuff, like how to keep my buddleia from getting too woody, when to prune my raspberries and why my tomatoes didn’t ripen.
It’s not just Gardener’s World that’s guilty of this, nor the public sector remit BBC though, take a look at Phil & Kirsty and ask yourself in pretty much every instance how a couple that young can afford to spend that much on a property. Especially when you look at the overall decline in home ownership due to supply/demand issues, how high a proportion of property transactions are now in the buy to let area and a million other things.
Too much aspirational telly is depressing; you look at what these people have or have achieved and grumble that you can’t do the same. I’d love to see Phil & Kirsty try to find a house in an outstanding school’s catchment area for a hard pressed family but we’re not likely to see that, it’s all first time buyers Karen and Keith looking at houses up to £400K. I’d like to see Gardener’s World focus more on the practical stuff, that’s much more important than vicariously experiencing someones landscaped grounds but again that’s not going to happen.
In austerity Britain, life is grim, and TV has adjusted by showing us better worlds on our screens. I can take this in the fiction but in the factual programmes? That’s just frustrating.