North Korean TV Blurs BBC Gardener's Jeans

Alan Titchmarsh jokes that censors have given him 'a bit of street cred'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2024 5:50 PM CDT

BBC presenter Alan Titchmarsh says he feels like he's been given a "bit of street cred" by North Korean censors. A 2010 episode of his gardening show, Alan Titchmarsh's Garden Secrets, recently aired on North Korea's Central TV but his legs were blurred to hide the fact that he was wearing jeans, which have been banned in the country for decades. "It's taken me to reach the age of 74 to be regarded in the same sort of breath as Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Rod Stewart," he tells the BBC. "You know wearing trousers that are generally considered by those of us of a sensitive disposition to be rather too tight."

The North Korean regime considers jeans a sign of Western imperialism, the Guardian reports. It banned them in the 1990s and launched a harsh crackdown on "capitalist" fashion in 2022. "I've never seen myself as a dangerous subversive imperialist," Titchmarsh says. "I'm generally regarded as rather cosy and pretty harmless so actually it's given me a bit of street cred, really, hasn't it." In North Korea, hourlong episodes of Garden Secrets are cut to 15 minutes and Titchmarsh's commentary is replaced with a Korean narrator, according to NK News. The BBC reports that it's not clear how its show arrived in North Korea, but state-run TV "'often pirates content from foreign broadcasters." (More North Korea stories.)

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