Frances Tophill gives advice on growing a Prima Donna hop plant
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Frances Tophill, 32, has become a familiar face within the horticultural community, presenting Gardeners’ World viewers alongside Monty Don, Carol Klein and Adam Frost for almost five years. But despite having grown a little more used to the glitz and glam of being on TV, in the beginning the gardener admitted she felt like she was having “out of body experiences” when she secured her first TV job on ITV’s Love Your Garden.
It was really bizarre!
Especially because she was still a student at the time.
In a new interview on the Kitchen Garden Magazine podcast, Frances detailed how she was still studying her degree when she was chosen to present the program.
She joined the likes of her horticultural legend Alan Titchmarsh on the popular ITV show, something she confessed completely blew her mind.
Looking back at how it all began, Frances said: “I’d done my apprenticeship and two years of actual gardening, and then I went to Edinburgh.
“I was in my second year of my degree when I got the job for Love Your Garden.
“It was really bizarre!”
She giggled as she shook her head: “One day I’d be in a lecture and then in a pub with friends, and then the next day I’d be in a five star hotel, which I’d never been in before!
“I’d never been in a five star hotel!”
She recalled one birthday when she was in her early 20s where she spent the night in one of these swanky hotels.
“I remember on my 23rd/24th birthday sitting in a five star hotel drinking beer and looking around me and thinking, ‘What’s happened to be life?’
“‘Everything’s gone weird!”
And one very vivid memory stood out for her from the beginning of her TV career.
“Watching Alan Titchmarsh mowing the lawn!” she laughed.
“I had a few out of body experiences.”
The star went on: “You’re just sitting there one minute and it’s weird because you feel like you’ve known Alan Titchmarsh your whole life on one hand.
“And then on the other, three months ago I was just a student.
“Now I’m here and you’re [Alan] chatting to me!”
Frances added, grinning: “It’s very surreal.”
But she did note that she rarely gets star-struck by celebrities.
“Alan is just Alan,” she shrugged.
“He’s the same off-screen as he is on-screen and he’s been so supportive and helpful.
“He never made us feel less good, he never told us what to do,” she said of her and her co-star Katie Rushworth.
“He was always really supportive.”
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