Special Feature: Husqvarna’s ‘Backyard Games’

If you’ve never heard of Husqvarna, the chances are you either don’t work in the building trade or, perhaps, you’re not yet a father. Yes, Husqvarna are to ‘big boys toys’ as Fender are to the humble guitar. It is with this fine pedigree in all that is over-sized and noisy, they bring us the bizarrely entertaining Backyard Games.

Essentially a reality spin on the BBC’s Ground Force series of the late nineties, Backyard Games invites ‘real’ men to gird their loins in a one-on-one competition to find out who is the ultimate landscape gardener. Up for grabs is the coveted ‘Golden Chainsaw’ – frankly, I can’t think of any better shape for any award to be (BAFTA, I’m just saying…) –  and a chance to be crowned the champion of blokes.
The show comprises a succession of wildly creative challenges centred around varying pieces of gardening equipment. These include: ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my log’, where the contestants must cut a log to a precise weight using the world’s most powerful chainsaw and ‘Paint by numbers’ in which they have to create works of art using paint sprayers.

Frankly, it’s all a bit silly and is quite transparently an extended marketing campaign for Husqvarna products, dozens of which have been quite shamelessly crowbarred into the show. Nonetheless, it’s well produced and actually really entertaining. The sheer enthusiasm of the commentors as they explode with disbelief and excitement at the unfolding events is, intentionally or not, genuinely funny. Far more exciting than watching Alan Titchmarsh clip his petunias (that’s not a euphemism), it’s well worth checking out.

Matthew Groizard