LAN Titchmarsh is having a rant. The TV presenter, gardening guru, bestselling author of romantic fiction and pal of the Prince of Wales believes social media is affecting society in a similar way to how bindweed invades beds and borders, choking its victims.
The no-nonsense Yorkshireman is here to discuss his latest novel, The Scarlet Nightingale, a tale of wartime derring-do in which a British woman, who finds herself working in intelligence, is sent to occupied France to help destroy an armaments factory making parts for German tanks.
His novels frequently take you back to a time of old-fashioned values and tender romance – a far cry from today’s in-your-face notions of love depicted in popular shows such as Love Island and First Dates – and this latest tale is no different.
So it is unsurprising that Alan, 69, laments that the age in which he grew up has long gone, as gentle communications have been replaced with stark text messaging and the onslaught of social media.
“I go on magazine programmes with people whose names I won’t mention, and they are tweeting in the ad breaks,” he says incredulously. “And I’m sitting there on the sofa like a lemon. That irritates me.”
And despite pleas from his publicists, he won’t be promoting any of his books or TV projects on social media because he refuses to engage with it.
“Social media makes people too