Gardeners' World and the Object of Attention
British television has a reputation for excellence. The BBC’s prestige dramas, like Sherlock, Broadchurch, and ITV’s Downton Abbey are known for their performances and sharp writing. Equally important is the sense that British TV knows not to overstay its welcome. British series tend to end sooner rather than later, unlike American franchises, which more often start strong, go on too long, and fizzle out.
For all the cultural clout of British drama, it might be the unpretentious reality of their non-fiction programmes that has the most to teach North American viewers. The Great British Bake Off is perhaps the most well-known and beloved import of this type, a competition show which takes the venom out of the competition. But while Bake Off has spawned localized imitations, I haven’t yet encountered an equivalent to the balm that is Gardeners’ World.