entertainment

'The Big Flower Fight's Andrew and Ryan on Netflix's bloomin' great new series

Netflix's flowery new competition is a total grower and shower.

2020-05-27

What in carnation? Another alternative spin on The Great British Bake Off has landed on Netflix - and this one is really putting the petal to the metal.

The Big Flower Fight sees eight pairs of professional and amateur gardeners and florists build unbe-leaf-ably mammoth plant sculptures.

Within a massive dome in the beautiful English countryside, they rose to the challenge and created everything from floral fashion, sea creatures and edible thrones.

The Big Flower Fight contestants

The show is hosted comedians Natasia Demetriou and Vic Reeves and the contestants are judged by florist Kristen Griffith-Vanderyacht, who is flamboyant and fabulous with his snappy comments.

Judge Kristen Griffith-Vanderyacht

We spoke to fan-favourites, Andrew and Ryan, about their experiences on the show...

Neither of you have previous experience working with flowers? Why were you chosen to compete in The Big Flower Fight?

Ryan: Andrew and I don't have experience in floristry and we are the epitome of amateurs on the show. With m time curating art exhibitions with fashion designers and artists, plus my queer Bollywood club night, Hungama. And we basically were asked to audition and we both have an affinity with stepping outside the box of our own careers.

Andrew: Definitely as we got on the show we realised we had everything, but the plant knowledge so it kind of was in a strong position. I make large scale photographic prints that basically to do with reconnection with nature, looking back into the ancient period.

Andrew & Ryan

Do you think not being florists gave you an advantage?

A: Within the confines of the show and the way that we've worked together. We were able to construct a working method that was based purely on these living garden sculptures and without having those kind of constraints that training can often have on you. We were probably a little bit freer to be a little bit more experimental, which is what the judges noticed in the end.

Andrew

Why do you think Attitude readers would enjoy the show?

R: It’s eccentric, flamboyant people on a show being creative with flowers and gardening. It appeals to everyone.

It has a GBBO wholesomeness to it, do you think that is appealing during these COVID-19 times?

A: It is really powerful to see other people's progress and I think everybody at the moment is finding some kind of creative outlet, so to go through a journey with them and the connection of the outdoors and just that little window into one of the most beautiful parts of the English countryside is very serendipitous at the moment.

I thought them addressing your competitor Andi as a trans person right from the start and then not bringing it up again was a really nice way for Andi to represent the community without making it their whole persona.

R: Allowing space for the trans community and the BAME community to participate within their field of work, whether it be reality show, writing, producing, directing, is super important. To have their voices heard is very important. And I'd like to just comment on the way that Andi was introduced on the show, I think it was so phenomenal to see her handle of the subject of being trans on the show because I think that it was just so eloquently done and I just have nothing but mad props for Andi.

A: I think she's one of the coolest people that I've met, just really down to earth, absolutely wonderful. She is a complete inspiration, an encyclopaedia of horticultural knowledge and really funny.

Andi and Helen

Andi and their partner, Helen, were part of the two scandals: 'Fireworks-gate' and 'Crab-gate'. Did you like that fellow competitors were helping them or that the judges were right in restricting their assistance?

A: When it came to those points especially fireworks in the mobile challenge, it was like the judges were always going to take into consideration that there was help given. The one thing that we didn't want was for them to present a half-finished vision of their idea on screen.

R: It's like when you see marathon runners helping each other get to the finish line. We were in a floral marathon and we just didn't want to leave anyone behind and didn't want anyone to feel like vision one executed.

A: And also the crab falling over kind of stole the show. It was quite seriously edited, but a conversation with Andi afterwards was literally like, who didn't want to see one of those sculptures fall over? We were all nervous about it so when it actually happened it was like a little bit of a ruckus celebration.

Your arch-nemesis on the show was the other queer duo, Henck and Yan. They really wore their queerness on their sleeves with sailor outfits, three-cornered hats and even an impressive watermelon hair dye job – complete with black seeds. What was your favourite look of theirs?

R: I think it's important to say that queerness isn't necessarily a direct correlation with what people wear, and I think they definitely dress quite camp, and I think it was really celebrated on the show because they went above and beyond to make sure they were serving us looks, which is fantastic.

A: I think the one was when Yan was wearing the horse riding jodhpurs, camo jacket and a stunning RAF simons’ hat.

R: For me, the devil horned helmet like with the orange rope necklace and a neon animal print top. It was just like what drugs did you take when you got ready?

Henck & Yan

Have you stayed in contact with the other competitors?

A: There has been a WhatsApp group that hasn’t dwindled since the end of the show. It's just been wonderful because we all seek a lot of solace in each other through the experience.

What was the most difficult challenge for you?

A: The T Rex, because it rained and it was just that was real hard graft that week.

R: I think by the end of that challenge specifically I had had it. We gave it everything we had.

A: Yeah, after it was straight back to the hotel for a glass of wine and an Epsom salt baths.

As the winners, you get to do an installation at Kew Gardens. Can you tell us anything about it and when it might happen?

R: It will happen, and we're very excited to get the work done, but right now we're taking the time that the whole world has been given to try to incorporate that into it in some way, shape or form. 

Has the show resulted in anything else for you?

A: Since the show, I have taken up a lot of gardening work and I’m using that to train a little bit more after realising how much fun I had with it.

R: For me, winning the show has brought me closer to my family and friends in Canada. And we have even received messages from all over the world including places like Bolivia, Mexico and Germany just talking about how wonderful it was for them to see a couple like Andrew and I on the show and create regularly. It was heart-warming to see their feedback in response.

The Big Flower Fight is available to stream on Netflix now.