Ground Force Charlie Dimmock's affair with co-star and devastating family tragedy

Pictured is Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

A renowned gardening expert and television presenter experienced a mix of triumphs and tribulations throughout her career, including an affair that left fans stunned. Best known for her role on the beloved garden makeover show Ground Force, Charlie Dimmock became a household name alongside fellow presenters Alan Titchmarsh and Tommy Walsh.

The programme, which ran from 1997 until 2005, captivated more than 12 million viewers at its peak, with audiences loving the camaraderie and enthusiasm of the gardening trio. Yet, away from the cameras, Charlie's life took a dramatic turn when she embarked on a surprise affair, about which she later declared she had 'no regrets'.

During her time on Ground Force, Charlie, who is now 57, also faced a personal tragedy that caused her to step back from work for two years. Despite the massive popularity of Ground Force, Charlie's stint on the show was overshadowed by a personal scandal involving an unexpected relationship with a colleague.

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She split from her long-standing partner, John Mushet, in 2001 after entering into an affair with the show's microphone operator, Andy Simmons, reports the Mirror. In a candid discussion about the affair back in 2002, Charlie admitted she "doesn't see Andy anymore".

Reflecting on the events, she stated: "But I don't regret what happened. You wouldn't do anything if you kept worrying about what might go wrong," revealing her perspective on the matter.

"John and I had been together for a long time so when we split up, I relied heavily on family and close friends. I've discovered that the most difficult after-effect of the break-up is getting into another relationship."

Following her split from John, Charlie began dating Barry Smith, a sound technician from the show. However, tragedy struck a few years later when her mother and stepfather were killed in the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 while holidaying in Phuket, Thailand.

At the time, Charlie kept quiet about the devastating event, but her agent released a statement saying: "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."

According to the Daily Mail, Charlie took a two-year hiatus from work following the tragic incident. Since then, she has diversified her career beyond gardening, even taking on a brief acting role in the 2010 touring production of Calendar Girls.

Charlie has since returned to our screens on the BBC makeover programme Garden Rescue, where she competes with garden designers The Rich Brothers to create beautiful outdoor spaces for homeowners across the country.

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