Charlie Dimmock - Biography
"It is rather ridiculous that a woman doing manual work is still seen as something to make a fuss about," says Charlie Dimmock. "It's clear from the people who come into the [garden] centre that it's the women who do the gardening. The husbands may mow the lawn, but it's the women who do the planting, the digging, the weeding and all the real work that goes into making a garden."
Who is Charlie Dimmock?
Charlotte Elouise Dimmock was born on 10th August 1966 in Romsey, Hampshire. She is the only child of Terry, a merchant seaman, and Sue, who ran her own clothes shop. The TV personality grew up in the New Forest and often enjoyed playing outside with her friends as a child.
Childhood and upbringing
Despite being kept up by her parents' wild parties and being nicknamed "The Brat" until 18 months old, her childhood was a happy one with family at its heart. She was spoiled by her father and spent a lot of time with her grandfather, helping him in the family vegetable garden.
Charlie graduated from horticultural college, but had initially planned to take a course in forensic science. She recalls her father being "pleased and rather proud" at the time. Following graduation, Charlie joined Romsey Garden Centre, where she worked to save money in order to go travelling in the early 90s.
After her time abroad, Charlie returned to Romsey to continue working at the Garden Centre. It was there in 1992 that she was spotted by TV producer John Thornicroft, who was visiting in search of water plants for a programme he was working on. It wasn't until early 1997, however, that he came calling about a possible slot on BBC garden make-over show Ground Force.
On the show, which ran for twelve seasons between 1997 and 2005, Charlie worked alongside Alan Titchmarsh and Tommy Walsh. This catapulted her into the limelight and made her a household name - and the focus of many a male gardener's fantasies - overnight. It also led to a series of lucrative spin-offs including a book, a calendar and a garden gnome.
With her face and name growing synonymous with gardening in the UK, Charlie became President of the Television and Radio Industries club in 2003. The following year she branched out into the US, where she presented a gardening slot on a CBS breakfast show.
Having always been a fan of the great outdoors, Charlie later returned to the UK to present an ITV series called River Walks. In this show, she visited people and landmarks along the banks of different rivers in Southern England. The show began its third series in January 2008.
Three years later Charlie took on the role of gardening expert in the ITV breakfast show Daybreak. She also joined the presenting team on the BBC show Garden Rescue in 2016.
Outside of television, Charlie wrote a weekly gardening column for the Mail on Sunday until 2008. In 2016 she launched her own range of gardening equipment with high street shop Poundland, 'In the Garden with Charlie Dimmock'.
While travelling in New Zealand during the early 90s Charlie met viticulturist John Mushet, whom she settled down with upon returning home. Although John referred to her as "the missus" during their relationship, the pair were never married and split in 2001 after Charlie had a fling with Ground Force microphone operator Andy Simmons. Her time with Andy was short-lived, however, as Charlie went on to have a relationship with another member of the programme's crew, sound technician Barry Smith.
In 2004 her mother and step-father tragically died in the Asian tsunami, and Charlie turned down work as she learned to cope with her loss. She continued to keep a low profile until 2006, when she made a return to television in Celebrity Masterchef.
Her soaring TV career hasn't changed her though, she insists: the gardener's aspirations remain firmly grounded and modest. All she wants is "To grow old, I guess. Become a dotty old dear and potter around the garden. It's probably easier to achieve than most ambitions."