New chair for Gardeners’ Question Time as Eric Robson steps down

BBC Radio 4 has announced that newsreader Kathy Clugston will replace Eric Robson as the chair of Gardeners’ Question Time this May when Eric retires from the programme.

Kathy’s first programme as chair will be on 3rd May. Eric’s departure will be marked by a special programme broadcast on 26 April from Manchester – not far from where the first episode of Gardeners’ Question Time was recorded in 1947, and Eric’s first episode in 1994.

Co-chair Peter Gibbs will continue in his current role, presenting around a third of the episodes.

Kathy has been a newsreader and continuity announcer on BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra since 2006. She started her career at BBC Northern Ireland and worked at the World Service and Radio Netherlands before joining Radio 4.

As well as being an experienced broadcaster, Kathy is also an amateur gardener, so will bring her horticultural knowledge to the role of Gardeners’ Question Time chair. She’ll continue in her role as newsreader and continuity announcer.

Kathy Clugston says: “I have had a few pinch-me moments since I started at Radio 4 – my first Shipping Forecast, reading the news on the Today programme – but this beats them all. I’ve listened to GQT for years but never did I imagine I’d be stepping into the shoes of the great Eric Robson.

“It is one of the pillars of Radio 4. I feel honoured and excited. I’m most looking forward to visiting the gardens – and meeting Radio 4 listeners – in parts of the country that I might otherwise never have gone to. One of my jobs as host will be to make new listeners feel welcome. I’m a novice and won’t be shy about asking the panellists to spell things out if they get too technical.”

Eric Robson says: “Having travelled the length and breadth of the UK with Gardeners Question Time for 25 years, it feels an appropriate time to be moving on. I’ve loved every minute of it, but I’m also delighted to be handing the trowel on to Kathy – someone I know will fit right in to the GQT family.”

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