Gardeners’ World’s Frances Tophill talks ‘pressures’ of filming ‘mentally tiring’ BBC show

Frances Tophill gives advice on growing a Prima Donna hop plant

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Frances Tophill, 30, is often seen alongside Monty Don, 65, on the popular show Gardeners’ World. Ahead of this, she worked on ITV programme Love Your Garden. In a new interview, the horticulturist discussed the difference between the channels and why the BBC show was more tiring. She began by saying it “takes a lot longer to film” than people may think.

“It usually, well, always takes a whole day and usually right up until it’s getting dark whereas Love Your Garden, the pace is much quicker,” she revealed.

“There are other presenters, so the pressure isn’t always on to be presenting all the time.

“But, the main difference with the programming is the team really.”

She went on to say that she had to “get used to” the “slower” pace at the BBC upon joining the show in 2016.

“Your brain is working overtime all the time with Gardeners’ World,” she continued.

“So, it’s kind of more tiring in that mental way, but less physically tiring.”

Frances insisted she was also surprised by BBC’s rules which includes not being allowed to wear branded clothes on screen or mention them.

“That took me a while to get my head around. I can’t mention anything,” she added on the Kitchen Garden Magazine podcast.

The presenter went on to say what she had learnt from Monty after feeling “a lot of pressure to get it right”.

Giving an example, Frances said there was an episode based on pruning which took “a long time” to research.

But, after watching the show back, she realised there wasn’t a “right way” to do anything.

She added: “You have to give the right information and then the next week I was watching Gardner’s World and Monty was pruning apples.

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“And he said, ‘The right time to prune is when you have a saw in your hand because you never know when you’re going to have a saw in your hand again’.

“We get so bogged down with the right way, but there are so many different ways if different areas, different soil types, things work differently and if it works for you, do it!

“It doesn’t matter what the books say.”

Earlier this week, Monty sparked confusion about his tweet regarding filming for the show.

He tweeted: “Full days filming today for next week’s GW – the banks may be on holiday but we are not!”

One viewer queried whether Frances would still be on the show on Friday.

The 65-year-old confirmed she will be back on screens and explained the episode he filmed this week would not air until next week.

“We film a week ahead of transmission,” he clarifed.

Gardeners’ World continues tonight at 9pm on BBC Two.

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