Gardening Australia host claims he was sacked

Stephen Ryan, host of Gardening Australia claims he has been sacked from the ABC series after being asked to sign a Press Release to say he was retiring.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ryan, who replaced veteran presenter Peter Cundall in 2008, was visited at his home by executive producer Tim Mitchell and handed a prepared ABC press release to sign stating that he was ”retiring” from the to spend more time at his Mount Macedon nursery.

”And when I was shown the press release stating that I was retiring I refused to sign it. That’s covering up and I’ve always been upfront and honest with people,” he says.

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

He will also no longer contribute to Gardening Australia magazine.

”They’ve cut me completely loose and obviously don’t want me hanging around any more,” he said.

Ryan praised the ABC for choosing him over the veteran Peter Cundall.

”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 knowledge who can stand in front of a camera,” he said.

When Ryan was announced as host, Tim Mitchell said, “Stephen’s deep knowledge, enthusiasm and energy is bound to inspire gardeners around the country and his special interest in rare plants will add a new dimension to the program.”


  1. Theres some underlying reason why this nice presenter and his corgis, and knowledge of gardening was dismissed – I thought he was great and oneof those lovely Victorian mountain gardens, the way abc have gone about this, I am no longer a fan of gardening australia – there were a few other regulars on the show that should have gone that were getting a bit musty, natives are important in our country as well as all the beautiful trees and flowers from all over the world – I wish Stephen Ryan the very best for the future better off without these underhanded abc.

  2. Shame, Aunty, shame!

    Stephen Ryan, I will miss you and your garden. Good on you for not signing that press release. I’ll look forward to seeing and hearing more of you. Maybe you could team up with Don Burke ( another gardening person who was shafted by a television station) and create a new Australian gardening programme.

    All the best .

  3. Now I’ve heard everything! What is wrong with the ABC, it’s bad enough we have to suffer the fills and watch some character with a baseball bat smash a bubble with a stupid grin on his face and a meaningless collection of other “bubble” scenes, but when it comes to having the host of the previously best garden show on TV sacked and replaced with, I’m still trying to come up with a suitable description.
    What do the ABC spend their money on? Is there anyone in the employ of the ABC who has an ounce of talent? I doubt it. I know it matters not to the ABC but I will no longer be a viewer of this programme.
    Bring back Stephen Ryan!

  4. Peter Williams

    We listen to Stephen on 3CR garden show and find him entertaining, knowledgeable and range of interesting opinions. The ABC never exploited his talents by simply using him to introduce the segments. We always suspected that the ABC was not upfront about what happened. Hope this doesn’t impact on his contribution to the 3CR garden show. Now there is a Real garden show. Best of luck to Stephen, whatever you decide to do.

  5. I’m sure Stephen Ryan is a very nice person, and an expert gardener and exotic plant collector. However, I always thought he was the wrong choice to head Gardening Australia because of his clear lack of interest in Australian native plants and his penchant for displaying his collection of stuffed fauna and caged Australian parrots. I think we can do better. Now that he is gone, I might start watching it again.

  6. The ABC has lost its way, simply. The broadcaster is so corporate now, trying to compete with the commercial channels in the race to the bottom. Management probably wants some cooking celebrity who can sing, dance, renovate their home and survive in the desert while playing rugby league

  7. I thought he was a terrible presenter, regardless of his gardening knowledge. Every segment introduction began with “.. and now …”. I could have done that. He made very little contribution to the actual program, which was probably more a production fault than his.

    Some people Are irreplaceable, and Peter Cundall is one of them. He was part of the program, not just an expensive talking head.

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