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File:Ground force cast 2383.jpg

Ground Force is a very uniquely British gardening show that ran on BBC 1 for eight years between 1997 and 2005.

The three presenters, each skilled in an aspect of gardening and landscaping, were tasked with performing a surprise makeover on someone's garden. The makeover was done the behest of someone who was (at the time) one of their friends or family, who would also chip in during the show. The job had to be done no more than three days. The edited result was condensed down into a half-hour show, the work being seen at various stages in its progress, with commentary from the presenters and punctuated by lion-lunged music from the Black Dyke Mills Band.

The climax was always the return of the householder, who had been sent away on a pretext and allegedly had no idea of what was being perpetrated in their absence.

Presented by BBC garden monarch Alan Titchmarsh, big bluff butch builder Tommy Walsh, and the real star of the show, Charlotte "Charlie" Dimmock.

While this was an educational programme aimed to open the eyes of the British public to what was possible in the garden, it also became famous for product placement, Alan's fey watercolours, and Charlie's constant obliviousness to the fact she wasn't wearing a bra. Coupled with loose open-necked t-shirts and a cameraman who knew just where to take an angled shot, this ensured the show became a hit among people who'd never gardened in their lives and who had no intention of ever doing so. Some young fans cheered when it rained and Charlie had to work in the wet.

At its peak, the series had twelve million viewers, slowly sliding in popularity after the departure of Alan Titchmarsh. The end came in 2005 with a special episode where the team made a garden on the forecourt of the British Museum.


This show provides examples of:

  • Camp Straight: Alan Titchmarsh is metrosexual, rather fey, and prefers to sit down with an artist's pad and watercolours and sketch out his design for the new garden.
  • Handy Man: Unflappable builder Tommy Walsh is this trope made flesh -- happily building gazebos, patios, and sheds or laying down acres of wooden decking for the householder to marvel at.
  • Earth Mother: Charlie, in all senses.
  • Male Gaze: The cameraman is extremely skilled at getting downblouse shots on the notoriously bra-less Charlie.
  • Nippled and Dimed: Charlie.
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