Alan Titchmarsh is a hit…in NORTH KOREA! BBC star hopes Garden Secrets’ ‘calming nature’ will have a positive effect on Kim Jong Un’s regime
Alan Titchmarsh has been stunned to discover he is a big hit in North Korea after his BBC Garden Secrets programme aired in the secretive authoritarian state.
A 15-minute segment of the Ground Force presenter’s show touring Britain’s most spectacular gardens has been broadcast on state TV in Pyongyang.
Now the 73-year-old says he wants the therapeutic nature of gardening to have a positive effect on those watching KCTV, the regime’s television service.
He said: ‘I never imagined that my programmes would reach North Korea, but hopefully the calming nature of British gardening will be well received there.’
Alan Titchmarsh has been stunned to discover he is a big hit in North Korea after his BBC Garden Secrets programme aired in the secretive authoritarian state
In the segment, Mr Titchmarsh is seen at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, digging into the gardening techniques of the 17th century.
The presenter than plants a parterre-style flower bed, arranged in the shape of a leaf, with three types of thyme.
He also interviews the estate’s head gardener, David Beaumont, creates a topiary cube, and plants a small fruit tree.
North Korea analyst Martyn Williams, who monitors the regime’s TV output, was just as surprised as Mr Titchmarsh by the segment.
He said: ‘In general, there is very little foreign programming on KCTV.
‘It’s usually restricted to sports, which airs each day, and science and technology type short reports.
The Ground Force presenter learned a 15-minute segment of his show touring Britain’s most spectacular gardens was being broadcast on state TV in Pyongyang
In the segment, Mr Titchmarsh is seen at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, digging into the gardening techniques of the 17th century
Hatfield House (pictured) is perhaps best known for its links to the children of King Henry VIII
‘This falls into the latter category. They have these short little features on non-controversial topics.’
As for how the North Koreans got broadcasting rights, it remains a mystery.
The BBC press office didn’t respond when asked for comment.
Mr Williams said: ‘It’s difficult to know about the exact source of the programming, but in general I believe North Korea does care about programming rights.
‘It’s possible it was licensed to KCTV or perhaps a South Korean broadcaster got all-Korea rights and shared it.’
According to the BBC website, the programme was last broadcast here in August 2014.
KCTV also recently broadcast the World Cup final.
Hatfield House is perhaps best known for its links to the children of King Henry VIII.
Both King Edward VI and the future Queen Elizabeth I spent their youth there, and their sister, Queen Mary I, lived there for a time too.
Hatfield House was approached for comment.