Beechgrove Garden switch fury grows

Andrew Bowie at the Inverbervie garden with Tom Campbell, of Brighter Bervie
Andrew Bowie at the Inverbervie garden with Tom Campbell, of Brighter Bervie

An MP is claiming North-east gardens are missing out on the national spotlight because of a controversial decision to switch Beechgrove Garden from a prime BBC slot.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine’s Andrew Bowie recently visited the Voyage of Life garden at Inverbervie Church to see the latest work done by the Brighter Bervie team.

The garden was officially opened by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2016 and has since featured on Beechgrove Garden in its traditional place on BBC2

Mr Bowie described it is “deeply unfortunate” that UK viewers will not see North-east gardens like Bervie’s, following the decision to switch the programme to BBC Scotland and cut the number of episodes from 26 to 14.

The move has triggered an outcry from loyal viewers.

Scottish Conservative Mr Bowie spoke as a public petition to restore the “much-loved institution to its rightful place on BBC2” passed its initial target of 7,000 signatures.

He said: “Brighter Bervie and lots of other green-fingered community groups across the North-east do wonders for their towns and villages – all volunteer-led.

“I agree with the gardeners here that Scottish gardening needs sunlight to develop.

“It’s a fun, outdoor activity which promotes physical and mental health.

“So it’s a shame that places like Bervie won’t have the exposure they deserve.”

He added: “Some of the BBC’s best and most-watched original programming comes from normal people and their stories.

“And lots of it stems from this area - the Mart, Trawlermen, lots of Countryfile specials – it’s a fair list.”

The BBC has defended the programme switch, saying that in its new format Beechgrove offers more online and social media content which is available at any time.