News that Lady Garden was opening this year's Royal Dorset Horticultural Society's Annual Flower and Garden Show has prompted many readers to send in memories of Lady Garden from the time when she was just plain Hester Nicely-Pointy - the exquisitely well-mannered announcer, continuity girl and, later, long-serving presenter of Radio Thrupiece's "Up Your Alley". Since retiring from the media - she worked briefly in children's television alongside much-loved Mandy Dandy and Horace the Horse ensuring that her face became almost as well-known as her voice, but remained at heart a "radio girl" - Hester has largely shied away from public view save for a brief flurry of appearances surrounding her engagement and marriage to Lord Garden of Goathill in 1962.
So we decided to catch up with Lady Garden in her delightful Puncknowle home where she lives with her husband and two delightfully inquisitive* Belgian Malinois "Hercule" and "Poirot". Wearing a worsted twinset by Dorset Country Casuals and comfortably ensconced in a mid-eighteenth century Bergère chair, the former Hester Nicely-Pointy looks a trifle ill at ease and a tad bedraggled after what has clearly been a long day in amongst the shrubbery: a far cry for the relatively youthful ingenue seen on the front of the Thrupiece Radio Times in 1959. So just how does she recall her days on radio and television? "I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about", she replies, clearly distracted by an irritating and faintly obscene gesture from her husband Gerald (Lord Garden) who has strayed into the room in search of "a quick stiffener". Reminded of her time with Harry the Horse, Lady Garden twitches uneasily, "Oh him", she sighs, "he was just a puppet but the pervert who operated him couldn't keep his filthy hands to himself, he was for ever with his hands up something - a puppet ... a skirt ... made no difference at all". And was this unpleasant man ever brought to task? "Well, I imagine he got his comeuppance or else it was swept under the carpet as per the norm: come to think of it I think he went to work on Top of Hit Parade and that was probably punishment enough - for the audience at any rate".
* ie unpleasant crotch sniffers [ed]
Thrupiece Radio Times: Hester Nicely-Pointy [Right] with colleague Betty Bismuth in the Radio Thrupiece Studios at the height of her broadcasting fame.