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02/12/2004

RHS and BBC sign new four year deal

The Royal Horticultural Society and the BBC have signed a new four-year contract which includes the exclusive rights to broadcast the four major RHS flower shows on BBC Television until 2008.
As part of the deal the two organisations will also collaborate to make three additional television series for BBC Two in order to bring audiences the best and most trusted gardening expertise in colourful and engaging ways.
In the first of these series, 'Winning Tatton' (working title), flying gardener Chris Beardshaw will lead a team of people seeking new careers in the gardening world as they find out what it takes to turn professional and go for gold at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park next July.
This will be made by BBC Wales for broadcast in 2005.
The second series, for broadcast in 2006, 'Redemptive Gardening' (working title), follows the fortunes of a group of young tearaways as Monty Don tries to harness their energies into setting up and running a viable fruit and vegetable smallholding.
This series, being made by BBC Birmingham, promises to be an organic adventure for all concerned.
An idea for a third project is still being developed.
Jana Bennett, BBC's Director of Television, said: "The BBC and the RHS are both committed to spreading knowledge of and enthusiasm for the best of British horticulture.
"Over the next four years we will really build on our successful partnership with the RHS and use the BBC's unique portfolio of channels and platforms to promote great gardening and horticulture to the widest possible audience."
Andrew Colquhoun, Director General of the RHS, said: "Over the course of our current four year broadcast agreement, the BBC's gardening coverage has gone from strength to strength.
"The capacity to showcase gardening to a wide audience has been a key factor in our decision to renew our broadcast partnership with the BBC.
"We are looking forward to working together on innovative programmes and projects which will engage even more people in the opportunities and delights of gardening and horticulture."
Under the agreement, the BBC will continue to cover RHS activity on BBC Two 'Gardeners' World' and there will be extensive coverage of the flower shows on BBC local radio.
(GB)
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