Charlie Dimmocks life – Ground Force flings, tragic loss and Hollyoaks stint

BBC Garden Rescue host Charlie Dimmock first rose to fame as one part of the popular Ground Force team in the nineties.

During a hiatus from our screens, she also faced a number of tragic losses in her private life, before returning to host a new gardening show last year.

Born on August 10 1966 in Southampton, the star had a love of gardening as a child and later trained as a horticulturist.

Charlie began working at a garden centre, but soon got her big break in 1997, when she co-hosted popular BBC show Ground Force alongside Alan Titchmarsh and celebrity builder Tommy Walsh.

Groundforce ran for 12 series between 1997-2005, with the trio developing a close bond on and off set and becoming some of the country's most familiar faces on screen.

Talking to Hello magazine about the show, Charlie said: "By the third series we were like family."

She added: "My main memory of Ground Force was laughing lots. It was the same team week in, week out, as well as the same production and crew.

"You know what it's like when you work with a team of people and you get on."

Although Groundforce's last episode was broadcast over 16 years ago, Charlie says that the team are still in regular contact.

"Tommy teases me that we're getting old now, which is true," she told World of Cruising, "but we have loads of happy memories of filming – lots and lots of laughter."

During her time on the programme, Charlie became just as well-known for not wearing a bra on the show however, as much as she was known for her knowledge of garden life.

She has said that the topic is still brought up regularly by people and told The Independent: "It was always just for comfort.

"If you're swinging a sledgehammer, you want to be comfortable!"

She added: "People say, 'Why don't you wear a sports bra?' But those are not the comfiest things in the world."

Her fame even reached new heights when in 2002, she was asked to make a cameo appearance in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.

During her cameo on the soap, Charlie was seen opening Jubilee Gardens after being invited as the guest of honour by Gordon Cunningham.

Romance also developed while filming the programme, after Charlie had an affair with a member of the Ground Force team, who worked as a microphone operator.

However, this led to the breakup of her relationship with television producer John Mushet, who she had been with for over 13 years after they met while both travelling in New Zealand.

Soon after, Charlie dated another member of the Ground Force team, who worked as a sound technician.

However, she has said that her and John have spoken quite a few times since their relationship ended.

Talking to The Daily Mail, Charlie has since revealed that she is single and said: "I can't see anything happening when it comes to romance; somebody would have to really bowl me over.

"I am quite content without a man in my life."

In her private life, Charlie has also suffered personal losses after her mother and stepfather were killed in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand.

Although Charlie has not commented on the tragedy, her agent has said: "It is very upsetting for her. It has been too soon for her to come to terms with it.

"She is coping day by day at the moment. We have promised her that we will protect her."

Charlie Dimmock is still a regular presence on our tv screens, having presented programmes such as The Joy of Gardening and Charlie's Garden Army, as well as appearing on Celebrity Masterchef in 2006.

She currently hosts BBC series Garden Rescue, alongside the Rich Brothers, who are award winning designers.

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