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ABC GARDENING SHOW TO HAVE CURRENT HOST STEPHEN HOST REPLACED

ABC GARDENER STEPHEN RYAN NO LONGER NEEDED BY NETWORK
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No longer required … Stephen Ryan’s hosting role axed.

THE host of ABC television’s Gardening Australia program has been told his services will no longer be required next year.

Stephen Ryan, who fronted the show for three years, says the program’s executive producer, Tim Mitchell, visited him at his home to impart the bad news.

He said before leaving Mr Mitchell also handed him a prepared ABC press release to sign – ”if I approved of the contents and in my own time” – stating that he was ”retiring” from the program to spend more time at his Mount Macedon nursery which needed his attention.

But nothing could be further from the truth, according to Mr Ryan, who took over from Peter Cundall in November 2008. He said he believed he had been sacked, given his contract was not being renewed, and he definitely was not retiring.

”Tim was very uncomfortable and said it was one of the worst things he’d had to do. The conversation lasted a couple of minutes and then he left. I thought he was coming to talk about the show and plans for next year so it was a bolt out of the blue and very upsettling.

”And when I was shown the press release stating that I was retiring [rather than my contract not being renewed] I refused to sign it. That’s covering up and I’ve always been upfront and honest with people.

”I know television is one of those places where no one’s completely secure but it [being sacked] wasn’t in my consciousness at all when Tim visited. He tried to be as gentle as possible but didn’t dilly-dally around.”

Mr Ryan was also told that since his contract was not being renewed to front the gardening program, he could no longer contribute articles to the Gardening Australia magazine. ”They’ve cut me completely loose and obviously don’t want me being around any more.”

He said he had enjoyed working on the show and had not received any negative feedback about his performance as host. But Mr Ryan praised the ABC for choosing, three years ago, an unknown entity such as himself to replace the popular Peter Cundall.

”There’s praise in many respects. I have a lot of respect for the program and I’ve learnt a lot of skills and everyone was wonderful to work with. One assumes management has a plan and want to shake up the program, so have a replacement in mind, but it’s not easy finding a known face and there aren’t many with horticultural knowhow who can stand & perform in front of a camera.”

Tim Mitchell was unavailable for comment.

December 1st, 2011
Topic: GARDENING, PLANTS CROPS WEEDS, TELEVISION Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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