WHEN I was a lass learning the gardening trade (cue Hovis music and sepia tint), the only shows on television catering for the green-fingered were Gardeners’ World and, my favourite, The Beechgrove Garden. Beechgrove had a fraction of the GW budget but twice the charm, with excitement erupting over the smallest things, like a dormant plant coming into bud, or Jim wearing his cap at a particularly jaunty angle. 
Now gardening shows have gone fancy, all fur coat and no tomato plants. They must have a concept, ideally involve lots of foreign travel and don’t forget the accompanying coffee table book. Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens (BBC2, Friday, 9pm) ticked the boxes. In the first of a two-part series, our man in a blue linen suit travelled to Spain, Morocco and beyond to see the kind of gardens first told of in the Koran. Built around water, these oases, with their fragrant fruits and blooms, offer shade and tranquillity in blisteringly hot environments. As promised, they were spectacular. 
The real coup was getting camaras into Iran, a country notoriously hostile to foreign media. You would not have known this from the programme, which kept everything strictly gardening business. Probably wise. 
In Britannia (Sky Atlantic) the invading Romans proved infinitely less courteous than our Monty. On the eve of the assault, the commander (David Morrissey) was confronted with deserters snivelling about how terrified they were of coming to the home of demons, mysticism and, oh yes, “giant squid”. Never mind an axe splitting your skull, watch out for the seafood. 
Created by screenwriting notables Jez and Tom Butterworth, lavishly shot and peppered with sex and scheming, Britannia is aimed squarely at the Game of Thrones crowd, but it has an engaging eccentricity of its own, as shown in the choice of opening and closing song, Donovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man. What that has to do with AD 43 is anyone’s guess. Perhaps a giant squid would know. 
Millionaires’ Ex-Wives Club (BBC2, Wednesday, 9pm) was a documentary looking at how the other half live during and after divorce. With only two case studies it wasn’t a very big club, but we got the gist of the matter. Lisa was the ex-wife of former Radio One DJ  “Ooh” Gary Davies. They were still friends; it was her second marriage that ended in a court scrap when she sought a settlement of £125 million. In the end she walked away with £15m. 
Being independently wealthy, Lisa could afford the £900-an-hour London lawyers who operate in this field. Not so Michelle Young, once married to Scot Young, a property tycoon who had, the narrator told us, grown up in “a Dundee tenement block”. Young has not seen a penny of the £26m she was awarded, her husband claiming he had lost everything in a Russian property deal. Her court fight has left her £17m in debt. Despite this, and her ex-husband’s death in 2014, she is still fighting on. It was a riveting film, but one filled with sadness, anger and regret. Had it been a membership drive for the titular club, I don’t imagine there were any takers. 
Everyone, including the dogs in the street (as they say in Northern Ireland), had been telling me how fabulous Derry Girls (Channel 4, Thursday, 10pm) was. Like DJ Gary Davies I am open to requests, so I tuned in to find that everyone was right. I hate it when that happens. Set during the Troubles, the tale of four gal pals and one (English) boy is a tad Grange Hill meets Father Ted by way of The Inbetweeners, but Lisa McGee’s creation goes its own delightfully warped way. We’re only halfway through the first series but Channel 4 has commissioned 
another. That was probably something else the dogs in the street knew before me. 
Even I could tell what was going on in The Coronation (BBC1, Sunday, 8pm). The Queen, we were told, was talking for the first time on TV about the events of June 2, 1953. A moment later we were told this again, and then again. Calm down, dears. The Queen was endearingly pithy as she talked viewers through the crown jewels. Watching the film of the coronation, interviewer-cum-gentle-prompter Alastair Bruce remarked how everyone seemed to know what they were doing. “They jolly well should have done, the number of rehearsals we had,” said the Queen
Then there were the four pearls to be found on the imperial state crown. Two belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots, and were bought by Elizabeth I after Mary’s execution. “They don’t look very happy,” the Queen observed of the deathly pale droplets. One imagines Mary felt much the same. 

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