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Charlie Dimmock's close friend reveals surprising details on garden experts' early days of fame

The star was left mortified after becoming an overnight star thanks to Ground Force

charlie dimmock
Eve Crosbie
Eve CrosbieTV & Film Writer
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Charlie Dimmock has been a regular face on our screens for a number of years now thanks to her presenting duties on the likes of Ground Force, Great British Garden Revival and, more recently, Garden Rescue.

MORE: Garden Rescue's Charlie Dimmock reveals reason behind 11-year break from TV

And now, writing exclusively for HELLO!, Dame Esther Rantzen revealed some details on the gardening expert's early days of fame - including Charlie's surprising reaction to her first-ever magazine shoot!

WATCH: Are you a fan of Garden Rescue?

Charlie became friends with former That's Life! presenter Esther more than 25 years ago when she, along with award-winning landscape designer Sarah Eberle, were called upon to help create a wonderful wildflower garden at Esther's home.

MORE: Take a look at the Garden Rescue stars' own gardens

MORE: Charlie Dimmock has 'no regrets' about Ground Force affair that ended 13-year relationship

Recalling their first meeting, Esther recalled describing Charlie as "the most beautiful woman I have ever seen [...] standing in our pond, looking just like a Greek goddess," to her husband, acclaimed documentary maker Desmond Wilcox.

charlie hello© Photo: HELLO!

Dame Esther Rantzen reunited with Chalie Dimmock and Sarah Eberle for HELLO!

Charlie was barely 30 years old at the time and working at a garden centre close to Esther's home in the New Forest but had already, at least in Esther's mind, all the makings of a bonafide TV sensation.

"I have never forgotten her rippling red-gold curls, her bright blue eyes, her perfect complexion without a trace of make-up. She is as nice as she is beautiful," Esther gushed.

charlie dimmock© Photo: Rex

Charlie was left mortified after becoming an overnight star thanks to Ground Force

However, when fame did come knocking for Charlie not long after - she was cast on Ground Force alongside Alan Titchmarsh and Tommy Walsh in 1997 - Esther recalls that Charlie was left rather mortified at her new celebrity status. 

MORE: Garden Rescue's Charlie Dimmock speaks candidly about weight 

In the run-up to Ground Force's debut on BBC Two, Charlie was featured on the cover of a magazine "as Botticelli's Venus standing on a seashell not wearing much".

"A few weeks afterwards she confessed she'd become involved with a quirky new television programme, and had been photographed for Radio Times. 'So embarrassing,' she said: 'I'll have to buy every copy in town so nobody sees it.'"

To read the full article, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! on sale on Monday. Subscribe to HELLO! to get the magazine delivered free to your door every week or purchase the digital edition online via our Apple or Google apps.

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