April 14, 1978
WITH its instantly recognisable theme tune, The Beechgrove Garden has been a hardy perennial of BBC Scotland for nearly 40 years.
The inimitable pairing of Jim McColl and George Barron first broke ground on a small patch of land adjacent to BBC’s Beechgrove Terrace studios in Aberdeen in 1978.
Their lack of presenting expertise was compensated for by an easy charm and a passion for their subject.
In a time when regional accents weren’t often heard on the BBC, Jim and George’s Doric and a philosophy of sticking to what can grow in Aberdeen quickly won an army of fans.
With comments such as “I’ll just away and do a wee jobbie in the greenhouse”, they were also ripe for parody, as in the famous Scotch And Wry sketch, with Rikki Fulton as George and Gregor Fisher as Jim avidly “growing” whisky.
Despite being inexplicably ditched as presenter in 1989, though he was restored to his rightful place four years later, Jim is now in the record books as TV’s longest-serving gardening presenter.
George was away to the potting shed in the sky in 2005.
While the theme tune and presenters have remained fairly constant (Carole Baxter joined
in 1983), the garden they work on is no longer situated in Beechgrove Terrace.
Due to the programme’s increasing popularity, a larger patch of land to the west of Aberdeen was acquired by Tern Television in 1995.
With its Problem Corner and Through the Garden Gate segments, as well as community garden specials that have been added in recent years, Beechgrove Garden is still growing strong.