A TV gardening legend is set to hang up his trowel for the last time, as he heads for retirement.
Jim McColl, host of BBC Scotland’s Beechgrove Garden, announced he plans to bow out of the show he has been associated with for more than 40 years.
Jim, has hosted the BBC show, filmed in Aberdeen, since 1978.
Tonight’s episode on BBC Scotland at 8pm will include a look back at Jim’s career on the small screen.
The 83-year-old said: “It is time I retired not because I have lost any interest in gardening or my enthusiasm for gardening, but just because getting old.
“I’ll be 84 next birthday, so things are going wrong, in the sense that if I get down on my knees, I’m not sure I can get back up again. I have to have something to lean on.
“Most importantly I have a neuropathy thing with my hands. I have no power in my fingers.
“I have no grip. It has just been gradually getting worse.”
Jim announced he will be receiving treatment for his condition, but already finds it hard to do simple things such as buttoning his top button.
The Kilmarnock-born presenter took on the role after playing an integral part in the Radio Scotland series The Scottish Garden.
His catchphrase “every day’s a school day” is familiar to viewers.
Jim’s life and achievements were celebrated in a BBC Scotland documentary Jim McColl at 80 in 2015, and he was honoured with the Royal Television Society Scotland award in 2016.
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Gwyneth Hardy, the producer of the show for the BBC, said: “It’s the end of an era for Jim to be handing over the trowel. It’s been a big decision, not taken lightly for Jim as he is genuinely passionate about communicating his knowledge of gardening.
“He said to me recently that, gardening is like breathing for him; it’s an everyday activity.
“I have worked with Jim for more than 20 years and it has been a genuine privilege and an honour to work with a real Scottish cultural icon, who doesn’t see himself in that way, Jim thinks that there’s nothing unusual in what he does.
“This makes Jim unique, he has no ego; what you see is what you get and the audience love him for it.
“That said, even cultural icons have to retire sometime and as Jim will be 84 at next birthday, it’s not unreasonable that he’s thinking of no longer being on our screens.
“He really has given half a lifetime of service to Beechgrove and our loyal viewers.”
Despite retiring from the show, Jim still plans tokeep gardening.
“It is half my life. I just want to grow old in private… but I’ll still garden.”
Co-star Carole Baxter said: “I am going to miss Jim after working with him for all these years, but this is an appropriate time to celebrate his career. He is a great gardener and presenter. He shares his wealth of gardening knowledge in a way which engages people at all levels of gardening expertise from none to the professionals.”