Alan Titchmarsh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alan Titchmarsh
Alan Titchmarsh cropped.jpg
Alan Titchmarsh at a book signing
Born Alan Fred Titchmarsh[1]
(1949-05-02) 2 May 1949 (age 65)
Ilkley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality English
Education Hertfordshire College of Agriculture and Horticulture
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Occupation Broadcaster, gardener, novelist
Agent Arlington Enterprises
Television Gardeners' World (1996–2002)
Alan Titchmarsh Show (2007–14)
Popstar to Operastar (2010)
Love Your Garden (2011—)
Spouse(s) Dr Alison Titchmarsh (m. 1975)
Children Polly (b. 1979)
Camilla (b. 1981)
Parents Bessie Hardisty
Alan Fred Titchmarsh, Sr

Official Website

ITV Webpage

Alan Fred Titchmarsh,[1] MBE DL (born 2 May 1949)[2] is an English gardener, broadcaster, and novelist. After working as a professional gardener and a gardening journalist, he established himself as a media personality through appearances on gardening programmes. More recently, he has developed a diverse writing and broadcasting career.

Early career[edit]

Titchmarsh was born in Ilkley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, the son of Bessie (née Hardisty), a textile mill worker, and Alan Fred Titchmarsh, Sr., a plumber.[3] After leaving school aged 15, Titchmarsh went to work as an apprentice gardener with Ilkley Council in 1964, before leaving, in 1968 aged 18, for Shipley Art and Technology Institute in Shipley to study for a City and Guilds in horticulture. Titchmarsh was a close family friend of Tom Kerridge, who went on to become his gardening advisor on shows such as Ground Force.

Titchmarsh went on to study at Hertfordshire College of Agriculture and Horticulture for the National Certificate in Horticulture, before finally moving to the renowned Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to study for a Diploma in Horticulture.[4][5] After graduating, he stayed on at Kew, being employed as a supervisor and latterly a staff trainer, leaving to pursue a career in gardening journalism in 1974.[citation needed]


His first few television appearances were on the long-running BBC television show Nationwide as a horticulture expert. This led to his being invited to present coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show for BBC television in 1983, something Titchmarsh has now hosted every year up to the present.[5] Titchmarsh also appeared on other BBC shows, such as Breakfast Time and Open Air, again as either a guest presenter or as a gardening expert, providing commentary and answering viewers' questions.[citation needed]

In 1988, Titchmarsh was offered a slot on BBC Radio 2 hosting a gardening show with Gloria Hunniford called House in a Garden.[6] In 1991 he was brought in to host the long-running Pebble Mill at One BBC television talk show, which he did until the show was cancelled in 1996. Also in 1991, he presented a 6-part series in which he followed in the footsteps of the pilgrims, travelling around Britain and Ireland in the process.[7]

The cancellation of Pebble Mill at One in 1996 gave Titchmarsh the opportunity to move back towards his first love, gardening, and he took over as host of another long-running BBC television programme, Gardeners' World in the same year, the show being filmed in his own garden. In 1997, he took gardening to the masses with a popular BBC One television series, Ground Force, in which he and fellow presenters Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh would perform a makeover on a garden, Titchmarsh making full use of his horticultural skills when restocking the lucky gardens featured.[5] The show has travelled as far as the United States and South Africa, where one episode saw the Ground Force team makeover Nelson Mandela's garden.[8]

Alan Titchmarsh at the 2008 Gardeners' World Live Exhibition in the NEC.

Staying involved in gardening programmes after Gardeners' World, Titchmarsh has presented two series of How To Be A Gardener, his most recent gardening programme to date.

Away from gardening, Titchmarsh has had spells presenting Songs of Praise, and a series of programmes on BBC Radio 2 in which he played a selection of light classical music, and more recently a BBC nature documentary series, British Isles - A Natural History. In recent years he has done less television and radio and spent more time on his career as a novelist and renewed interest in writing gardening books (see below).

He has appeared in an advertisement for the Yorkshire Tourist Board in a series which included contributions from other Yorkshire-born celebrities including Brian Blessed, Melanie Brown, Darren Gough and Brian Turner, and occasionally does other voiceover work for advertisements. His recent voiceover work has extended to voicing the title character in Gordon the Garden Gnome, a cartoon series for the CBeebies channel.[9] He hosted a follow-up series to British Isles – A Natural History entitled The Nature of Britain focusing on British plant and animal species. The series was broadcast in autumn 2007.[10]

Other recent work included hosting a special edition of the Antiques Roadshow, entitled the 20th Century Roadshow, which focused on modern collectibles, performing in the Children's Party at the Palace for the Queen's 80th birthday, and being guest host of The Paul O'Grady Show while O'Grady was off for medical reasons. In January 2006, Titchmarsh was given a permanent slot on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday evenings with the show named "Melodies for you" consisting of light classical and popular music, following the traditional style of Sunday-night broadcasting on Radio 2. He left Radio 2 in August 2011. From January 2012 he has hosted a Saturday morning show on Classic FM.[citation needed]

Since June 2007, he has been seen as host of The Great British Village Show, in which gardeners and cooks from all over Britain competed to be Britain's best at growing pumpkins, runner beans and tomatoes, and at knitting, baking cakes and making jam.[10]

In spring 2013, Titchmarsh was a reporter on BBC Two programmeThe Great British Winter.


Titchmarsh began presenting his afternoon ITV chat show The Alan Titchmarsh Show in September 2007, the show currently airs in the 3.00 pm afternoon slot, although it has been announced that the show is to come to an end in November 2014.

In 2010, Titchmarsh presented the first series of Popstar to Operastar with Myleene Klass. Titchmarsh currently presents the ITV gardening show Love Your Garden, which began airing in 2011.

Since branching out from his gardening shows Titchmarsh has earned some criticism for his sycophancy towards the British Royal Family. On 1 June 2012, he presented Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother on ITV and was castigated the following day for his obsequiousness in a review by Sam Wollaston for The Guardian.[11]

In 2014, he will host Britain's Best Garden for ITV.


Titchmarsh began writing fiction, and had his first novel, Only Dad, published in November 2001. A further six books have since been published (listed chronologically below).[11] Running parallel to the fiction work, Titchmarsh published a new series of gardening guides, the How to Garden series (ghost-written), in April 2009. His second autobiographical work is Nobbut A Lad: A Yorkshire Childhood from October 2006, a follow-up to his first autobiography, Trowel & Error, published in 2002. When I Was A Nipper was published on 30 September 2010.

Personal life[edit]

Alan Titchmarsh Elm Tree Planting Ceremony in Westminster in 2011[12]

Titchmarsh, in addition to his extensive television and writing work, is also trustee of his own charity, 'Gardens for Schools', and others, including 'Seeds for Africa'. His own charity helps fund gardens and green spaces in and around schools, while Seeds for Africa encourages sustainable vegetable gardening. The charity provides community groups with the tools, seeds and training they need to start their own vegetable gardens. This includes providing water installation and preparing the land. Away from horticulture, Titchmarsh is involved with the Cowes Inshore Lifeboat, where he is a patron,[13] and with the National Maritime Museum, where he is a trustee.[14]

In 2004, Alan Titchmarsh became the president of Perennial, formerly known as the Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society. Perennial is one of the UK's oldest charities which was created in 1839 helping gardeners and horticulturists facing times of difficulty.[15]

In 2010, Alan Titchmarsh became president of the plant conservation charity Plant Heritage (previously known as NCCPG).

Titchmarsh has a wax statue at Madame Tussaud's. It was revealed on Series 2, Episode 6 of the TV panel comedy series Would I Lie To You? that his waxwork had to have its face cleaned twice a week to remove all the lipstick smudges on it.

He has been married to Alison since 1975 and they have two children, Polly (born 1979) and Camilla (born 1981).[16][17]

In August 2014, Titchmarsh was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[18]


In 2013, Titchmarsh, then aged 64, responded to complaints that older women were discriminated against on television by stating he would like to hear less "whingeing". "They don't complain in their early days when they are disporting themselves on sports cars", he stated in an interview with The Observer.[19] This drew criticism from media figures who have been protesting the difficulties faced by older women in the media, including from Miriam O'Reilly, winner of an age discrimination case against the BBC.[20][21]


In 1999, Titchmarsh was awarded an honorary DSc by the University of Bradford.[22] Titchmarsh was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours for services to horticulture and broadcasting,[1] and made a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire in 2001.[23] In 2001, Alan Titchmarsh was made Patron at Writtle College. He also had a building named after him at the college in 2011 called the 'Titchmarsh Centre for Animal Studies'. In 2004, he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest award the RHS can bestow.[24] In 2007 he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Winchester. He was honoured by the City of Westminster at a tree planting and plaque ceremony in April 2011.[25][26] He served as High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight in 2008.[27]

Other projects[edit]

As well as his broadcasting and literary projects, Titchmarsh has capitalised on his strong brand with retail and merchandise projects. He has launched several of his own product lines, including his own range of "Alan Titchmarsh" gardening tools developed in conjunction with tool manufacturer Bulldog Tools. Titchmarsh has also teamed up with Digitalis Media to launch Gardeners' Heaven, the online retail arm of his website. Gardeners' Heaven supplies Titchmarsh's own tools as well as other popular gardening products.[28][29]

List of books[edit]



  • Trowel and Error, Hodder & Stoughton 2002 (ISBN 0-340-76542-9)
  • Nobbut A Lad : A Yorkshire Childhood, Hodder & Stoughton 2006 (ISBN 0-340-83117-0)
  • Knave of Spades, Hodder & Stoughton 2009

Fiction works


  1. ^ a b c The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55710. p. 32. 31 December 1999. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  2. ^ "My childhood – Alan Titchmarsh". Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Barratt, Nick. "Family detective", Daily Telegraph, London, 14 July 2007.
  4. ^ Alan Titchmarsh on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, 7 July 2002.
  5. ^ a b c BBC Nature Presenters Biographies
  6. ^ Radio 2 Preservation Society
  7. ^ British Film Institute TV Database
  8. ^ "Mandela's green-fingered makeover", BBC News Online, 14 December 1999.
  9. ^ CBeebies Interview with Alan Titchmarsh
  10. ^ a b Alan Titchmarsh's official website
  11. ^ a b Wollaston, Sam (2 June 2012). "Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother – review". The Guardian (London). 
  12. ^ "Alan Titchmarsh completes the greening of Bolsover Street". Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  13. ^ Cowes Inshore Lifeboat, Registered Charity Number 1063407, Patron ~ Alan Titchmarsh
  14. ^ Trustees of the National Maritime Museum
  15. ^ Donate Now. "Perennial". Perennial. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "Alan Titchmarsh – Biography on Bio.". Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  17. ^ "My family – Alan Titchmarsh". Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  18. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (22 June 2013). "The Observer – Alan Titchmarsh: this much I know". London: The Observer. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  20. ^ Marsden, Sam (23 June 2013). "The Telegraph – Alan Titchmarsh: Older women TV presenters shouldn't whinge about lack of work". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "Women stars furious over Alan Titchmarsh attack on ageism 'whingeing'". The London Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  22. ^ "Times Higher Education – Glittering prizes". The Times. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 56370. p. 12611. 26 October 2001. Retrieved 17 March 2008.
  24. ^ "Alan Titchmarsh Biography". BBC Radio 2. BBC. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  25. ^ "Alan Titchmarsh lends expert hand with elms in Bolsover Street". West End Extra. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  26. ^ Alan Titchmarsh interview at Bolsover Street ceremonial tree planting on 1 April 2011 on YouTube
  27. ^ "Alan Titchmarsh High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight". Southern Daily Echo. 1 April 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  28. ^ "Alan Titchmarsh Offers Expert Gardening Tips and Makes Recommendations on his Favourite High Quality Tools on New Gardeners' Heaven Website". 
  29. ^ "Gardeners' Heaven Garden Tools". 

External links[edit]