Let It Grow this summer with BBC Children’s and Education and BBC Radio 2


BBC Radio 2

Let it Grow is a collaboration between BBC Children’s and Education and BBC Radio 2 to help everyone transform grey spaces into wild and colourful places!

Inspired by the new BBC One series Wild Isles, the opening episode of which was the biggest factual episode to air on the BBC in 2023 so far*, Radio 2, CBBC, CBeebies and BBC Teach will be building on the interest generated in nature and inspiring all audiences to get stuck in. Viewers and listeners will be encouraged to re-purpose pots, pans and pallets to get planting and bring brightness to wherever they live.

From today, the family of Radio 2 presenters will also be getting stuck into the action, with special guests who will inspire listeners to find room to bloom no matter how big or small their outside space, gardening tips and tricks and plant-themed playlists. And there’s a brand new podcast on BBC Sounds, Let It Grow with Liza Tarbuck.

BBC Director of BBC Children’s and Education, Patricia Hidalgo says: “Environmental initiatives are essential. Not only are they important for educational purposes, there is great fun to be had too! When it comes to Let it Grow, everyone can get involved. Whatever the space available – from front or back gardens, balconies, window ledges or driveways - there will be advice on how to Let It Grow in all kinds of places and communities. We can’t wait to see children across the country exploring the amazing world of nature around us all.”

Helen Thomas, Head of BBC Radio 2, says: “Following Radio 2 Goes Green in 2022 and our Big Bee Challenge project in 2021, we are continuing our commitment to nature initiatives in 2023 with the launch of Let It Grow. We’re inviting the Radio 2 family of presenters and listeners to connect with nature and find inspiration in any space, large or small. I can’t wait to hear Liza‘s unique take on gardening on our new podcast and hope that Let It Grow will encourage everyone across the UK to get planting.”

Encouraging children to help with the making, digging and planting, Let it Grow will spring to life on Blue Peter on 31 March (5pm, CBBC and BBC iPlayer), supported by Bear Grylls, Steve Backshall, Vick Hope and JB Gill. A new Blue Peter Garden will also open at RHS garden Bridgewater, and there will be a brand new Let it Grow game on the CBBC website.

Children can apply for their very own Blue Peter Green Badge and for a limited time, those receiving a Blue Peter badge will receive a free pack of sunflower seeds. Easy to grow, their flowers will brighten up any space and the birds and the bees love them too! The Green Badge will be awarded to children who show all the wonderful ways they care about nature and the environment, with those who secure a badge joining previous notable recipients such as Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg.

A raft of environmentally focused new CBBC and CBeebies commissions will form part of the Let it Grow initiative. OZT Goes Wild in Britain will air on CBBC in April, following the Whitnall brothers from the popular One Zoo Three programme, as they travel the UK in their electric car, championing conservation projects and meeting wildlife heroes.

Ranger Hamza’s Eco Minis, a miniseries available on CBeebies in May, will demonstrate how a series of small jobs and tasks that everyone can do can make a big difference to the environment we live in.

Steve and Aneeshwar Go Wild will also launch on CBeebies in July. The series follows Steve Backshall and young environmental enthusiast Aneeshwar Kunchala as they take over Knowsley Safari Park to meet animals from all over the world, discovering how we can protect them and how even the most unusual creatures are connected to the wonderful critters we can find on our doorsteps.

BBC Teach’s hub for schools will be available from 27 March on the BBC Teach website, collating the best nature-inspired classroom resources and children’s programming in one place. Teachers can find curriculum-linked classroom videos on how plants grow, what plants need to thrive and survive and how to protect the environment.

Radio 2

On Radio 2, the whole network will be getting behind Let It Grow with inspirational programming from Monday 27 to Sunday 2 April. The station is also launching a new eight-part series on BBC Sounds called Let It Grow with Liza Tarbuck. Liza will join Zoe on The Radio 2 Breakfast Show on Monday 27 March to launch the initiative and encourage listeners to get it involved. Across the schedule, Radio 2’s presenters will be supporting the drive to bring nature to our neighbourhoods, and special guests will be discovering how to grow plants from seed, sharing their own stories, including any mishaps and missteps, and lots more...

In each episode of Let It Grow on BBC Sounds, Liza will share practical advice with the help of an expert from the world of nature. She’ll be joined by celebrity guests as they get planting whilst sharing their gardening stories and also their favourite music to plant to. And listeners will also have the opportunity to put their gardening questions to the experts. The first two episodes are available on BBC Sounds now, with the remaining six episodes released weekly on Sundays.

Liza Tarbuck says: “I can’t wait to carry on Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge and Sow, Grow, Show initiatives from the last two years, and share my love of nature with our army of marvellous listeners. We have some top guests coming up on Let It Grow to offer their inspiration and look at planting in lots of different ways, so do join us on BBC Sounds!”

Liza will also be delivering a parcel to her fellow Radio 2 presenters. It will contain soil, seeds and a challenge to presenters to get creative, re-use or create a container - perhaps something they no longer use - to grow to grow a plant in, with listeners following their journey on their respective shows across the week.

On Owain Wyn-Evans’ Early Breakfast Show (weekdays, 4am- 6.30am), he will be hearing from fellow Radio 2 presenters about their tales of planting woe in the Dead Plants Society, with listeners getting involved too. Plus tips on how to save and resurrect sorry looking specimens!

On The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show (weekdays, 6.30-9.30am), Zoe will be leading the Radio 2 Sunflower Crew, encouraging families to plant sunflower seeds at the front of their houses, on their window sills and balconies, to bring cheer to passers-by. Across the week, Zoe will also be joined by special guests who will share their tips, tricks and troubles when it comes to growing sunflowers, as well as the Q.I. Elves with sunflower-themed trivia.

On Gary Davies’ mid-morning show (weekdays, 9.30am-12pm), each day a listener get the chance to choose a track they think might help their plants grow. At 11.10am, Gary will play a message from the listener sharing their planting exploits and the reason they’ve selected their chosen song to give their plants a boost!

On The Jeremy Vine Show (12-2pm) on Monday 27th and Wednesday 29, Jeremy will hear real-life stories from those whose lives and communities have been changed by planting. And on Friday, the show’s resident allotment gardener Terry Walton will join Jeremy to tell listeners how they can Let It Grow in a small urban space.

Anita Rani sits in for Scott Mills on his afternoon show (weekdays, 2-4pm) and will be hearing from comedian Joe Lycett about his unconventional approach to gardening and passion for plants.

On Sara Cox’s teatime show (weekdays, 4-7pm), Sara will be shouting out the good deeds of our Horticultural Heroes. Nominated by listeners, Sara will be celebrating those who’ve shared their growing know-how with the neighbours, turned a local grey space green or perhaps fed the street from their back-yard kitchen garden. From 6.30pm on Monday, the Half Wower music segment will also feature the biggest flower and bloom-related tunes.

On Jo Whiley’s show (7-9pm) on Monday, Jo will be joined by RHS Ambassador and gardener, Arit Anderson, to talk about the incredible examples of growing in and around urban areas, highlighting how listeners don’t need a big garden to find room to bloom. Across the week, Jo and Arit will also share simple hacks to help budding gardeners, and Jo will be planting up a pair of old boots to brighten up the EastEnders set. Radio 2 listeners will be able to spot the flowering boots on screen at No.3 Albert Square later this summer.

Let It Grow continues from July with a series of Blooming Days, celebrating the planting activities since its launch today. Across the BBC, on Radio 2, Blue Peter, BBC Sport and the BBC’s social media accounts, the thousands of plants grown UK-wide for Let It Grow will be revealed in moments of bloom.

People will have the opportunity to get started planting with a free packet of seeds which can be collected from partner retailers around the UK (while stocks last). Further information is available via bbc.co.uk/grow.

Let It Grow follows Radio 2’s Go Green initiative in 2022 when the network broadcast a themed week of features about how to be more environmentally-friendly at home and on the move. The station launched Sow Grow Show encouraging listeners to sow a fruit, vegetable or plant seed, grow it over the summer, then show it off to us in the autumn. And in 2021, Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge raised awareness about the plight of bees and others pollinators and how we can help them.

Notes to editors:
*7 day consolidated audience figures 7.7 million, source BBC All-Screens.

Source BBC Radio 2

March 28, 2023 4:00am ET by BBC Radio 2  

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