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.”