Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh

Infobox Celebrity
name = Alan Titchmarsh

image_size = 200px
caption = Alan Titchmarsh at a booksigning
birth_date = Birth date and age|1949|5|2|df=yes
birth_place = Ilkley, West Yorkshire, England
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = Broadcaster, Gardener and Novelist
salary =
spouse = Alison Titchmarsh
children = 2
website = []
footnotes =

Alan Fred Titchmarsh, MBE DL (born 2 May 1949) is an English broadcaster, particularly famous in the field of gardening programmes on UK television, although Titchmarsh has also had lengthy stints presenting daytime and religious programming on BBC TV and BBC Radio 2.

Early career

Titchmarsh was born in Ilkley, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, the son of Bessie (nee Hardisty), a textile mill worker, and Alan Titchmarsh, Sr., a plumber. [ [ Family detective - Telegraph ] ] 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 to study for a City and Guilds in horticulture. Alan affectionately refers to Percy Thrower as 'Percy Chucker' and credits him with inspiring him to take up gardening.Titchmarsh would go 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. [ Alan Titchmarsh on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, July 7, 2002] ] [ BBC Nature Presenters Biographies] ] After graduating, Titchmarsh stayed on at Kew, being employed as a supervisor and latterly a staff trainer, leaving to pursue a career in gardening journalism in 1974.Fact|date=June 2007

Alan's latest volume of memoirs about his Yorkshire childhood, Nobbut A Lad, was recently published to great acclaimFact|date=April 2008, and his sixth novel, Love and Dr Devon, was released in August, 2006.


Alan Titchmarsh first few television appearances were on the long running BBC television show "Nationwide" as a horticulture expert. Titchmarsh admits "I suddenly tasted blood. It was - Wow!, I like this. I want to do more." This interest in television led to him being invited to present coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show for BBC television in 1983, something Titchmarsh has now hosted every year through to present (2008). 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.Fact|date=June 2007

In 1988, Titchmarsh was offered a slot on BBC Radio 2 hosting a gardening show with Gloria Hunniford called "House In A Garden", [ Radio 2 Preservation Society] ] but by 1991, it was clear that Titchmarsh's future lay in television, and he was brought in to host another BBC television programme, the long running (and now defunct) "Pebble Mill at One" talk show, hosting from 1991 to the time the show was cancelled in 1996. Also in 1991, Titchmarsh hosted a 6-part series where he followed in the footsteps of the pilgrims, travelling around Britain and Ireland in the process.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. The show has travelled as far as U.S. and South Africa, where a memorable episode saw the "Ground Force" team makeover Nelson Mandela's garden. [ BBC News Article "Mandela's green-fingered makeover"] ] Staying involved in gardening programmes post "Gardeners' World", Titchmarsh has hosted two series of "How To Be A Gardener", which is his most recent gardening programming to date.

Away from the gardening world, Titsmarsh has had spells presenting "Songs of Praise", and a series of programmes on BBC Radio 2 where he played a selection of light classical music, and more recently, hosting a BBC nature documentary series, "British Isles - A Natural History". In recent years, his television and radio workload his lightened, presumably to allow Titchmarsh more time to concentrate on his growing career as a novelist and renewed interest in writing gardening books (see below).

Titchmarsh has also appeared in an advert 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 voice over work for adverts. His recent voice over work has extended to voicing the title character in "Gordon the Garden Gnome", a cartoon series for the CBeebies channel. [ CBeebies Interview with Alan Titchmarsh] ]

Titchmarsh has hosted a follow-up series to "British Isles - A Natural History" which is titled "The Nature of Britain" and focuses on British plant and animal species. The series has been broadcast in Autumn, 2007. [ Alan Titchmarsh's official website] ]

Other more recent various works include 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 Paul was off for medical reasons. As of January, 2006 Alan has a permanent slot on BBC Radio 2 from 6:30pm until 8:30pm on Sunday evenings named "Melodies for you" consisting of light classical and popular music, the show follows the traditional style of Sunday night broadcasting on Radio 2.

As of June, 2007, Alan can also be seen hosting "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. [ Alan Titchmarsh's official website] ]

Titchmarsh began his chat show for ITV, "The Alan Titchmarsh Show" in September, 2007.


In addition to writing around 40 gardening books, Titchmarsh has recently started writing fiction, and had his first novel, "Only Dad" published in November of 2001. A further five books have since been published (listed chronologically below). [ Alan Titchmarsh Official Website List of books] ] Running parallel to the fiction work, Titchmarsh has most recently written books to accompany the recent BBC series "How To Be A Gardener" (Ghost written) and "The British Isles : A Natural History". His most recent work is a second autobiography "Nobbut A Lad : A Yorkshire Childhood" from October of 2006, this being a follow-up to Titchmarsh's first autobiography, "Trowel & Error", which was published in 2002.

One of his novels memorably won an award for the worst sex scene in a book. [,6109,1652789,00.html Book Guardian - Free Registration May Be Required] ]

Personal life

Alan Titchmarsh lives in an old farmhouse in Hampshire, England and is married to Alison, with whom he has two daughters; also in the household are two dogs, golden Labradors called Grace and Favour; two cats, Spud and Hector; and an assortment of chickens, ducks, goldfish and other livestock.Fact|date=June 2007 Their home has approximately convert|2|acre|m2 of gardens, which Titchmarsh describes as a "north-facing hillside of chalk, clay and flint". Titchmarsh has a second home, a flat, on the Isle of Wight where he keeps a small boat. [ Alan Titchmarsh's Official Website Biography] ] It is at the Isle of Wight home that he does much of his writing. Titchmarsh is a friend of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. []

Titchmarsh is also a Christian. In an interview with The Lady magazine, Titchmarsh said "gardening is actually a very religious experience, as well as being a sensual one. I go to church every Sunday and it seems to me that there is a very strong link between religion and plants which come up, year after year. Gardening is also sensual because you feel at one with everyone else."Speaking of his religion he said: "I realised that Christianity was the correct path when a vision came to me when I was making my own clock, I don't know whether it was the ping of the pendulum or the spring of the cuckoo, but I just knew for certain from that point on, that Islam wasn't for me"

Titchmarsh, in addition to his extensive television and writing work, is also trustee of his own charity, 'Gardens For Squats', and others, including 'Seeds For Bunning'. 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 require 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's a patron, [ [ Cowes Inshore Lifeboat, Registered Charity Number 1063407, Patron ~ Alan Titchmarsh] ] and with the National Maritime Museum where he is a trustee. [ [ Trustees of the National Maritime Museum] ]

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, [LondonGazette|issue=55710|supp=yes|notarchive=yes|startpage=17|endpage=32|date=31 December 1999|accessdate=2008-03-17] and made a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire in 2001. [LondonGazette|issue=56370|notarchive=yes|startpage=12611|endpage=32|date=26 October 2001|accessdate=2008-03-17] In 2004, he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal Of Honour, the highest award the RHS can bestow. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Winchester.


* His waxwork was added to Madame Tussauds in 2000 and is one of the most 'fondled'.Fact|date=October 2007
* He was voted #50 in ITV's "TV's 50 Greatest Stars"
* Has lectured to the Queen at a Woman's Institute lecture.Fact|date=October 2007
* Alan auditioned for Identity, as the psychopathic gardener, although the producers decided Daniel Radcliffe was better suited for the part.
* Alan caused some uproar in the local media when he referred to Northamptonshire as "England's Pancreas"
* His performance of the busy bee song was included exclusively on "Shit Week" on Dave.

List of Books

* "Alan Titchmarsh - The Nature of Britain", BBC Books, 2007 (ISBN 978-0-56-349398-3)
* "Alan Titchmarsh - The Gardener's Year", 2005, (ISBN 0-563-52167-9)
* "Alan Titchmarsh's Fill My Stocking", 2005, (ISBN 0-563-48862-0)
* "The Complete How to Be a Gardener", 2005, (ISBN 0-563-52262-1)
* "British Isles", 2005, (ISBN 0-563-52162-4)
* "Nature of Britain", 2007, (ISBN 0-563-49398-3)
* "The Kitchen Gardener - Grow Your Own Fruit & Veg", 2008, (ISBN 9781846072017)

* "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)

Fiction Works
* "Only Dad", Simon & Schuster Ltd 2001 (ISBN 0-7434-7846-0)
* "The Last Lighthouse Keeper", Simon & Schuster Ltd 2004 (ISBN 0-7434-7845-2)
* "Mr MacGregor", Simon & Schuster Ltd 2004 (ISBN 0-7434-7847-9)
* "Animal Instincts", Simon & Schuster Ltd 2004 (ISBN 0-7434-7848-7)
* "Rosie", Simon & Schuster Ltd (ISBN 0-7434-3010-7)
* "Love and Mr. Devon", Simon & Schuster Ltd (ISBN 0-7432-0771-8)


External links

* [ Official home page]
* [ BBC Nature Presenter Biography]
*imdb name|id=0864436|name=Alan Titchmarsh
* [ Alan Titchmarsh on BBC Radio 2]
* [ 200 Years of Alan Titchmarsh's Family Tree]

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