Episode 40 - Show Notes & Advice

episode 40 | show notes & advice

episode description

This episode contains a sensitive discussion about suicide and the Dying with Dignity Bill.


After Sarah’s recent appearance on Prue Leith’s More4 TV series, Prue’s Great Gardening Plot, she’s delighted to host Prue, in return, on the podcast.

Prue and Sarah settle in for an in-depth chat all about her life-long love of gardening and what it was like to downsize and create a new garden from scratch – the main theme of Prue’s TV series.

Sarah also asks Prue about her other work including, of course, The Great British Bake Off, as well as her admirable long-time campaigning for better hospital food.

The end of this episode contains a sensitive discussion around the Dying with Dignity Bill, so listener discretion is advised.

Image credit: Geoff Pugh 

in this episode, discover...

  • How Prue transformed a run-down farmyard into her new dream garden.
  • The joy of replanting a heritage orchard, the first thing on Prue’s to-do list.
  • Sarah and Prue discuss choosing successful plants for tricky, heavy clay soils.
  • Prue’s new love for container gardening, using pots and troughs, and her passion for Sarah Raven tulip collections.
  • How this year’s series of The Great British Bake Off compares against last year's (the weather was definitely better last year says Prue!).
  • More about Prue’s campaign and recommendations for improving hospital food. The experiences that led to her involvement with the Dying with Dignity Bill. 

links and references

episode 40

Prue’s Great Garden Plot

Prue chats about her garden and its making with her husband John (and gardener Philippa), as is shown in her new 4 part TV series, Prue’s Great Garden Plot on More4.

Prue had a lovely, well-established garden around her family house for 40 years, but recently decided to move from the big house to a farmhouse on the edge of the property and make a new garden around this from a field.

Around the newly built house, they initially had to do huge amounts of clearing, then they planted an orchard and made a garden mainly of lawn, with some beds full of roses and grasses, as well as big planters of bulbs (which come from us) in the courtyard behind the house.

In her 80’s, on her TV programme, Prue shows us how to get up from kneeling and sings the praises of working with large scale cattle water troughs — gardening in these, you don’t need to get down to ground level then. Prue loves jewel-coloured tulips, purples and oranges, more than white narcissus which she originally put in the mix, which she then follows with annuals and some herbs and veg, with a few stalwart perennials in between.


Prue also talks about filming Bake-Off during lockdown with 130-150 people in one hotel for 7 weeks, this year and last. Prue tells us a bit of what goes on behind the cameras.

NHS Hospital Food

Prue then moves on to talk to Sarah about her work in recent years on hospital food. Prue has campaigned for her 50 working years teaching the nation to cook, as she firmly believes if you cook yourself, you’re much more likely to eat healthy food.

And more recently, she has been trying to change the calibre of hospital food, from rebuilding modern-designed kitchens, to what is for sale in the foyer in a vending machine, to making toast to go with a cup of tea, at any time of day or night on the ward, to personalised menu design, to having tables for patients to sit out and share a meal with others well enough to get out of bed. There are 8 recommendations in the paper she has worked on with a team entirely made up of NHS staff apart from Prue — who chats us through the main ones on the list of 8.

Dying with Dignity

Finally, Prue discusses her other current campaign around the Dying with Dignity discussion which has recently been debated again in the House of Lords. Prue became involved in this through her brother who had bone cancer in hospital a few years ago — and also her first husband who had a similarly painful end of life experience. This has drawn Prue into the whole debate about whether to keep people alive who are dying, with less than 6 months to live (by the judgement of their medical team).

We understand that this subject may be distressing for some of our listeners. If anyone is affected by the nature of this subject Cruse Bereavement Support is recommended by the NHS.

Cruse Bereavement Support Helpline 080 808 1677