It is a truism that everyone can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first heard that the Blue Peter garden had been vandalised. News of the crime swept the globe and vigilante groups stalked Britain looking for the culprits. The one word that comes to everyone’s mind, when thinking about that event, is ‘senseless’. Because that’s what it was, mostly, unless you happen to be irrationally terrified of television centre gardens, which very few of us were, back in 1983.
Today, the statute of limitations runs out on the event, meaning that whoever did it got away with it and is free to vandalise again. The identity of the vandal remains a mystery. It definitely wasn’t Les Ferdinand and it probably wasn’t Christopher Biggins. Whoever it is is probably sitting in a vast and expensive landscaped garden of their own right now, drinking Champagne and laughing uncontrollably.
On this sad landmark of a day, the Percy Thrower estate has released the following statement: ‘You may have escaped legal justice, but you haven’t escaped Percy Thrower justice. We have a very particular set of skills, skills with garden implements that we have learned over a long time. Whoever you are, and whatever you are doing, we will hunt you down. We will find you. And when we do find you, we will kick over your urn, we will trample your radishes into pulp and we will pour oil into your fish pond.
One piece of good news – a ray of light born out of tragedy – is that the Blue Peter garden has since been moved to a lead lined box and buried in a pit under a military installation near Shepherd’s Bush. It is guarded 24 hours a day by laser-guided, nuclear-tipped, sticky-back missiles. Anyone even thinking about stealing a begonia today is likely to be obliterated in a carefully guided explosion.