An Audience With Alan Titchmarsh
Within the beautifully restored Art Deco walls of the Troxy waits a stage bedecked with verdant foliage and pretty flowers. Here, for this afternoon only, beloved gardening icon and national treasure Alan Titchmarsh is due to give an exclusive one-off interview to presenter Konnie Huq to an audience made up of hundreds of Saga customers – many of whom won the chance to be here in a prize draw.
I was treated royally, from the wonderful staff who looked after my sister and I, to meeting Alan and Konnie.- Esther Deere
Luckily for those Saga customers waiting outside on this typically chilly December day, the queue to get inside moves quickly, and before long the bar is packed with people claiming their free drink.
The only people not populating the bar are extra lucky – not only did they win the chance to be here in the first place, but they’ve also won a place in the VIP prize draw for an informal opportunity to meet Alan in person, prior to his interview and Q&A session, at a sparkling drinks reception in a private area of the Troxy. After chatting with Alan, they’re handed an azalea plant by Konnie in a plant-pot signed by Alan, before enjoying an opportunity to have their photo taken with the man himself.
Absolutely loved it. As always Saga made the event that little bit special with a drink upon arrival and a lovely composting pencil with flower seeds.- Laurie Boeshart-Thomas
Once Alan affably mingled with all the guests, they are ushered downstairs to take their places in the audience for the rest of the afternoon.
The atmosphere in the auditorium is convivial as people take their seats, holding a glass in one hand and a branded pencil in the other – the pencil is another little treat for the day, as one end contains seeds each attendee can plant at home to grow a variety of flowers and vegetables.
I briefly sit next to Linda and Anthea, who have made their way down from Bury St Edmunds for the day; both keen gardeners, Anthea was the ballot winner and invited Linda along. Both are bubbling with excitement at the prospect of seeing Alan on stage.
What a great afternoon listening to our favourite TV gardener at the Art Deco Troxy theatre. Complete with our included drink, we enjoyed Alan telling us how he progressed into being on our screens.- Christopher Church
We don’t have long to wait; Alan and Konnie walk out to the theme tune from Groundforce, one of Alan’s most well-loved television programmes. Only barely guided by Konnie, Alan launches into his life history, deviating from anecdotes and stories about his early life and career now and then for an impassioned speech about the importance of gardening and how we can all do our bit to mitigate climate change; he is engaging and captivating throughout, and when it’s time for the audience to ask their questions, each answer is considered and thoughtfully delivered.
My first ever win and it was a very enjoyable experience. Alan was entertaining, the venue was lovely and we were very happy. Thank you!- Patricia Jeffcott
The allotted time passes too quickly, a testament to Alan’s understated charisma, and everyone begins to leave – all having learned something new, and had an unusual and unforgettable afternoon out.