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Gardeners' World star Monty Don's TV debut from 30 years ago revealed in unearthed photo

The green-fingered presenter hosts Gardeners' World

monty don smiling© Photo: Getty Images
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
May 12, 2023
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Monty Don is a household name across the UK thanks to his role on Gardeners' World. While the green-fingered presenter is a familiar face on the BBC, he actually began his career over three decades ago over on ITV's This Morning

The 67-year-old landed a weekly spot on the daytime programme in October 1989, hosting a live gardening segment. His This Morning appearances led to other TV work, and he was soon employed by the BBC to host the shows, Holiday and Tomorrow's World

Monty made his TV debut on This Morning hosting a gardening segment
Monty made his TV debut on This Morning hosting a gardening segment

In November 1999, he landed a Channel 4 gig hosting the gardening series Fork to Fork, in which he and his wife Sarah presented segments on growing and cooking organic vegetables.

MORE: The one thing Monty Don doesn't like about Gardeners' World revealed

Then, in 2002, Monty was announced as the new lead presenter of the long-running series, Gardeners' World, taking over from Alan Titchmarsh in 2003. 

Monty began his career on This Morning in 1989© ITV
Monty began his career on This Morning in 1989

Upon leaving the show, Alan, who had fronted the programme from 1995, said he was "sad" to go but "never really expected to be presenting it for so many years". "Now it feels right to move off onto other programmes and give someone else a chance," he added. 

While Monty has been in the entertainment industry for 30 years now and is known for his impressive horticultural skills, he had a very different job prior to his This Morning debut.

monty don health
Monty has hosted Gardeners' World since 2002

Before embarking on his on-screen career, however, Monty and his wife Sarah ran their own jewellery business in Knightsbridge from 1981 until 1987 when the stock market crashed and almost caused bankruptcy. During their time running the business, the couple had some very famous customers including Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and Boy George.

MORE: How Gardeners' World star Monty Don's marriage was affected by illness

Luckily, Monty found his true calling in gardening soon after and by 1989 had written several gardening articles. 

monty don gw© Photo: BBC
Monty is known for his impressive gardening skills

Speaking about his love for gardening at the Chelsea Flower Show, he said: "It eases a troubled mind. It is happiness. It’s good that mental illness is gradually being destigmatised, but there is so much more we have to do, even to begin to get to grips with the problem." 

He added: "So many people discovered during lockdown two years ago – that first lockdown with that extraordinary spring – every garden, no matter how small, how humble, how modest, how inexperienced, is rich with wildlife. And in the garden, we get that first-hand connection with nature, and it’s as direct and as personal as most people are ever going to experience." 

Who is Monty Don's wife? 

Monty Don is married to Sarah Don, whom he met at Cambridge University and married in 1983. The couple, who now reside in Herefordshire, share three children, Tom, Adam and Freya, and are proud grandparents to George and Daisy Rose.

MORE: Meet Gardener's World presenter Monty Don's family

WATCH: See Monty and Sarah's impressive Herefordshire garden transformation

Speaking about his wife on the Gardeners' World magazine podcast with editor Lucy Hall, the TV star said: "Sarah has always been an entirely supportive partner in crime. One of the things I always say privately and I should say publicly at every opportunity, it's her garden as much as mine. This is not my garden, it's our garden. It's 'We' always."

Keep scrolling for more photos of Monty and Sarah...

Sarah and Monty Don in smart clothes in 2017© Jabphotography/REX/Shutterstock
Sarah and Monty Don have been married since 1983
Monty Don and Sarah Don smiling sitting on a bench© Maggie Hardie/REX/Shutterstock
Monty and Sarah met at Cambridge University
Monty and Sarah Don in casual clothes on the beach© Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock
The couple share three children
monty don wife sarah© Photo: Rex
Monty and Sarah live in Herefordshire
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