Small Town Gardens series 2 – Vanessa Jackson

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

These stills are from the 2002, second series of ‘Small Town Gardens’.  The first series was produced in London, but series 2 and 3 were produced by me at Pebble Mill.  Series one was presented by Rachel de Thame, series two by Joe Swift, and series three by James Alexander Sinclair.

The top still is of presenter Joe Swift with garden designer Annie Guilfoyle, explaining the inspiration for the small front garden in Fowey, Cornwall, she was designing for the series.

The second still is of an inspiration trip for garden designer, Andy Sturgeon, with one of the programme’s contributor s and  presenter Joe Swift.  The garden Andy was designing was a small garden in East Sheen, London – right underneath the Heathrow flight path!

It was a great production team, and a lovely series to make!



All Together Now – photo from John Greening

Copyright resides with the original holder (probably Willoughby Gullachsen), no reproduction without permission.

‘All Together Now’ was a play about a brass band (mildly comic) and a pre cursor to the Pete Postlethwaite film  ‘Brassed Off’.  Clive Swift, is the father of gardening presenter Joe Swift, and later went on to work on ‘Keeping Up Appearances’.  The play was originally a theatre piece, playing at the Nottingham Playhouse, amongst others.

Clive Swift has identified those in the photo, and makes the following comments: from left to right the actors are Ann Hockney (an amateur I think), Chrissy Roberts, ME, Alan Starkey, Michael Griffiths. The play, directed by Robin Midgley and written by Peter Buckman, was debuted at The Haymarket Theatre, LEICESTER, on 1979. (It later played at the Greenwich theatre, London, with Tony Steedman replacing me in the lead, and was televised on BBC 1 during the 1980′s, with me again). Director David Attwood’s debut.

Small Town Gardens – Vanessa Jackson

Photos by Vanessa Jackson, no reproduction without permission.

There were three series of  the garden design show, ‘Small Town Gardens’.  The first was made in London, the show then transferred to Birmingham, with me series producing the second and third series at Pebble Mill 2002 -3.  I was delighted to be asked to make the show by Owen Gay.  The London series was presented by Rachel de Thame, Joe Swift presented the second series and James Alexander Sinclair (shown in these photos) presented the third.  Mark Scott and Paul Vanezis were the producer/directors, Sarah Wilkin and Emily Rusted researched on it, with Sarah Costigan and Jo Gray the production co-ordinators.  Martin Dowell and Ant Smith were the editors.  There were eight episodes in the second series and six in the third.  The series were transmitted on BBC 2 on Friday nights before ‘Gardeners’ World’.

The idea of the series was to show how small town gardens could be transformed into creative, innovative spaces.  We teamed up well known garden designers with contributors,  they went on inspiration and shopping trips to discover what they wanted for their gardens.

It was a brilliant series to make – a lovely production team, great experts, presenters and contributors (well with a couple of exceptions), wonderful locations and a decent budget!  And we knew we were lucky at the time.

The photos shown here are from a shoot in Kennington, London, series 3.  The garden was a converted farrier’s workshop, with a tiny courtyard garden.  The contributors were great, and I seem to remember that when the garden was finished they held a party, and rather the worse for wear tried to bathe in the water feature!  The couple shown in the photo are the garden designers, not the contributors!

James always wore his trade mark hat, in fact he had about seven different ones, in various states – some tatty ones reserved for gardening.  I think we were lucky enough to have the use of his second best hat!  We used to have to check for ‘hat hair’, if we were filming inside and he took his hat off, as his hair would get all squashed and have to be sorted!

James Alexander Sinclair