So what is next on your list of lockdown viewing now that you have finished the Tiger King? Do you need something soothing, something to take you into another world of colour, foliage and flowers? Will it be The Big Flower Fight currently airing on Netflix? I became aware of this series through seeing someone tweet about it and then receiving a text from a friend saying they were watching it. Out of curiosity I paused what I was watching at the time and tuned in.
|Photo from Netflix
The format of the show is one that we all know and love: think baking and replace with massive structures covered in plants and flowers. There lies the rub, we can identify with baking even if we do not do it, we (well I) can identify with a sewing contest and even the pottery version which is way outside my field of skills I found a fascinating watch. I am, therefore, an open door for this type of programme. Floral sculpture, I am going to suggest, is possibly a little bit more niche. I have seen them at flower shows but they are not an everyday occurrence. This programme has a hard sell to make.
There are two presenters: Vic Reeves and Natasha Demetriou. Vic I feel like I have been watching all my adult life, I have been watching him for many years. Natasha Demetriou is an actress and for me I know of from 'What we do in the Shadows', I so enjoy a good vampire film. The main judge is Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht. an excellent name , a top flight florist and in my opinion, the total star of the show. I had not heard of him previously (sorry) but he shines in this programme. We need more of this man on our tvs.
The contestants are mainly from the UK and the USA. They come from a range of eclectic backgrounds such as gardeners, landscapers, houseplant consultants, florists and artists. To aid the contestants there are all the tools they need, a nursery full of plants for them to tussle over to get the right plants for their specific projects and a welder on-site.
A change from the standard play of this format is that there is a guest judge every episode. The guest judges are: Humaira Ikram, James Alexander Sinclair, Sarah Eberle, James Wong, Melissa Richardson, Sophie Walker and Simon Lycett. James gets two bits of the Flower Fight cherry as he returns as the guest judge for the final. The judges and presenters made sure that we understood what was trying to be achieved and what they would be looking for. In a world that was totally alien to me this was useful and, as is the way of these things: sooner than you can say triple salchow I found I was judging along side them. I was deciding who should stay and who could go and often getting it right.
Each episode has a different theme: episode 1 was insects and the only comment I wish to make is a snail is not an insect. Episode two is wearable garments made from cut flowers. There is an episode on sea creatures (watch out for the crab) , mobiles, giant edible thrones, green giants - you get the idea.
I was glad that I persevered and watched more than episode one. I confess I can switch over quite quickly these days so holding my attention is hard. The programme really starts to warm up from episode two onwards. You start to get to know the contestants and the challenges, whilst bizarre, are interesting. I learned some things I did not know and there are some useful discussions about the use of plants and texture etc. I am not saying next time you see my garden there will be an eight foot tall shishi lion in the middle of it, but it did make me think about use of texture and how to be imaginative in the garden.
The Big Flower Fight is pleasantly distracting during these lockdown days. It is not going to challenge you, it might inspire you and it will entertain you. If nothing else you will sit there happily bemused having insight into a world that bears little relation to many of us. If you like watching programmes about parallel universes this one might just be for you.