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Monty’s French Gardens

Monty Don's French Gardens

Fri Feb 8, 9-10pm, BBC2

By Rebecca Taylor
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Series one, episode two
Monty Don continues his gardening Tour de France this week with an examination of the traditional kitchen garden, or ‘potage’ (a word which Don rolls around his mouth with Nigella-like sensuality as often as he can). It’s the sort of programme you imagine being watched between a game of Home Counties golf and an early evening aperitif: lush, leisurely, charming – and bursting with clichés. So we have the straw-hatted Don pootling around the countryside in a 2CV, dappled shots of him sampling strawberries and savouring red wine as he chats to farmers (and flirts with cucumber-growing nuns), while jaunty accordion music or the theme from ‘Jean de Florette’ tinkles comfortingly in the background.

Everything consists of ‘simple ingredients, cooked well’, which is all very pleasant, if a little predictable. The only occasion it really picks up is on his visit to the Jardin d’Aubervilles, a huge allotment on the outskirts of Paris, run by residents from the local tower blocks. The delightful and effusive Eleanne, who shows him around the patch she has lovingly tended for the last 39 years, deserves a whole show of her own.
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