Monty Don jokes about his dress sense with Zoe Ball
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Monty Don’s green fingers boosted him into the public eye in 2003 when he became the lead presenter on Gardeners’ World, but since the UK wide lockdowns were put into place during the coronavirus pandemic, even more people tuned in to use their free time wisely and get their gardens looking the best they could. The program, teamed with the gorgeous weather we were lucky to have last summer, seemingly became a “lifeline for the nation” but the presenter wasn’t aware of just how much viewers depended on it.
My reaction to that is two-fold
During the first lockdown last March, the BBC show’s ratings figures soared by more than 1.5 million to their highest in a decade.
The program reached 3.8 million by June 2020, as the sun shone bright and the temperatures reached highs of 35 degrees Celsius (95F), and people took to their outside spaces as a way to maintain their mental wellbeing.
Monty admitted he’d been told time and time again that the show was indeed a lifesaver, but he wasn’t convinced at first.
“People have said that,” he said in a recent interview.
“My reaction to that is two-fold.
“On an immediate level I feel like, ‘Oh, come off it.’ On another level it’s, ‘OK, let’s accept that as a fact, a truth.’
“That’s quite a responsibility. That means I’d better look you in the eye and be straight with you.”
He continued to explain that he’s always tried to be the kind of presenter who resonates with his audience, no bells and whistles, just straight up Monty Don.
“I don’t think I’ve changed the way I do things as a result, because to me television is always about talking to one person,” he shrugged.
Having been through his own battle with mental health in the years leading up to his debut on Gardeners’ World, the avid landscaper noticed a definite increase in the number of fellow sufferers wanting to contact him for advice and thank him for helping them.
“I get lots of letters and communications, which are often very moving, either if you’ve helped people or what you do is a key to helping them,” he smiled.
“People whose stories are infinitely worse than mine or any that I’ve come across.”
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This turbulent past year has been a true test of people’s mental wellbeing and Monty came to notice through his own experience and those of his peers, that gardening can truly be an “effective medication”.
“I’ve become quite involved with work that’s going on with mental health, and one of the things that’s become apparent is that gardening and connecting with nature is a really effective medication,” he told Radio Times.
“We all know it’s true, but we don’t actually know how or what it does or what the process is.”
Monty’s full interview with all three presenters is available to read now in Radio Times [RADIO TIMES]
He went on to explain that people are quick to dismiss how important it is to “connect to the rhythm of the natural world” in this modern life we live in now.
The presenter noted that when you are gardening you’re “forced” to work to the tune of the garden.
Monty’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.
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