* Prices may differ from that shown
I love "Ground Force" - so many ideas to store in my mind for future use, when I have my own house with a garden. Maybe I'll want a mock pier, over a seashell base ... or a riverlet meandering through a lush green landscape. Or maybe I'll decide to build a patio along a wall and paint a mural to whisk me away to a Mediterranean paradise. Whatever my dreams, Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and the cheeky hunky one (whose name I can never remember! Oh, Tommy Walsh, that's it) can give me the ideas and show me that it can be done.
Who would have thought that down-to-earth Alan would become a household favourite? His cheerful cross between grumbling and mumbling is endearing in its own way.
The concept of the show is pretty good, in that the Ground Force team moves in to sort out the garden over a two day period while one of the owners is kept away - to come home and be pleasantly surprised by the landscaping that has been done in their absence. They work wonders. They've turned some really barren and overgrown yards into some pretty special places for the families to enjoy.
I like the way that everything they do can be done by anyone with a bit of commonsense and the time to do it. You can see the way that the Ground Force team works, and learn from them. Sometimes things don't go as planned and you'll see how they manage to fix something that's gone awry. It's not all glamour being a part of Alan's crew. When it rains, sometimes they are so bedraggled you just feel so sorry for them.
The projects they undertake show you what can be done with the most neglected area of undergrowth, and they let you know how much it cost for the supplies as well, so you can work out if you can afford to copy something. For me though, it's a wealth of ideas for when I eventually get my own garden.
I have recently taken up a love for gardening and so I have been sitting in front of the tv watching the re-runs of Ground force on UKTV gardens!
I have to say they have given me a lot of inspiration, however I just know that my project will not end up looking anything like theirs does!
The programme is a reality tv show where a team of professional gardeners travel around the country fixing up peoples gardens as a surprise and making their little bit of outdoor space much more spectacular. It has to be said though, that sometimes, even though the finished result is extremely beautiful and a little bit different it is not always the most practical solution for that household.
The programme lasts for around 30 minutes and most of that is footage of the two days where the team of gardeners are at work. They give you handy hints of how to reproduce something similar in your own garden, as well as prices of how much you can expect to pay for the materials - however be aware that if you are watching a re-run there is a good chance that the prices may have changed.
I have recently done a few reviews for lawnmowers and it has to be said I have a big garden It does not however have a particularly spectacular look. There is a huge lawn, some nice flowers, an abundance of shrubbery to attract the butterflies, a number of trees, elm, oak, ash, yew and the inevitable sycamore or two. I even have a little orchard with apple, pear and plum trees. There is also a nice pond with koi in it though there is now one less due to the newly arrived cat next door. Cooking fat.
The programme though like those for DIY makeovers and cooking does give some useful and interesting tips about garden design and plants. Little time can be given to some real gardening like taking cuttings and propagating plants, in Ground Force they use all new plants straight from the garden centre. It sometimes does feel though that they have cheated a bit to get it all done in 48 hours, either it took longer or more likely someone did a lot of unseen work on the garden.
In the last series there was a nice touch when the team paid a surprise visit to some of the gardens they had done in previous series. Some had been kept quite well but at least one was an overgrown mess.
Ground Force though is enjoyable. Walsh can be a bit grumpy but he too is obviously very capable and overall comes across well. Charlie Dimmock has of course become quite a celebrity and there seems to be a move to give her more exposure in other programmes. This might not be such a good idea. She is good in Ground Force at doing what she does. In something else she might just be a fish out of a water feature.
Wow every time I watch ground force, i just have to take a cold shower, that Chalie Dimcock is some tasty, wot I wouldn';t give for 10 minutes wiv here (If u know wot I mean)! Did chalie ever wear a bra? Or was it that she never bothered during the rain...Oh well i'm not complaining! I love her Ginger hair aswell, it really turns me on! That just about raps up my disgusion, uve been great BYE The Gut Gorger GROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULESGROUNDFORCE RULES
This is one program i really like to watch and do so nearly every time it is on tv. The four of them get on so well it's great (alan, tommy, will and last but certainly not least charlie), all four work really hard in the couple of days they have to turn gardens from nothing but weeds and rubbish and ones the the people have started to make nice but need a extra little bit of help to get it finished, to a beautiful paradise with bedding plants trees and shrubs, with flowers that leave a sweet scent all around you, and building and carpentry work done by Tommy walsh. Who in my books is so good at what he does, the way he can get flagging level first time without even using a spirit level, now that to me he is well and truly talented man. Plus they all have their own reasons for merits, to start with Alan, he does design some really good gardens, while others are a little bad but that's my taste in what i like everyones views will be different to mine. Some of the good designs he does/makes for some peoples gardens is magical, Tommy can turn nothing into something shocking and amazing. Will does his fair share of hard work also building and Charlie does some good water features and works hard carrying more bricks and slabs than i probably could! She got a good taste in the best plants for different gardens and so she should, she used to work in a garden centre. I have seen most of the groundforces, unfortunately not all of them. I think like everything some of them leave you feeling disappointed but everyone seems to like their gardens, anything is better than what was there before. Not everyone needs a garden team to come and do it for them, my mum was so inspired by them that she got stuck into the patch of weeds and plastic swing in her back garden and now it is something even Alan Titchmarsh would be proud of. An amazing inspiration to a lot of people. I tell you what i would really love for them to come and do my
garden, for my baby. Just having them at my home would make my day, week and year.
One question on my mind whilst watching unemployment TV is how many Quincys did they make. Everytime i have switched on there he is, I wonder if Jack Klugman is still living off the royalties of just that run. Another tired flogged product is the make over show where a gang of soon to be celebrities pile into some suburban home and transform it into the insides of a Athena shop. I had a great new approach for Groundforce when they finally stray a way from the Middle Class homes they always do up and pitch up in an inner city housing estate.A couple of security guards could keep an eye on the cement mixer and the four wheel drives and way we go. The police would have no problem spotting a Range Rover with Groundforce logos all over it doing 90mph full of joy riders!. Charlie could flirt with the boys and girls as usual as the guys begin flexing the muscle. First they can through a few mattresses in the corner then crane in a rusty Hillman Imp with three wheels. A nice 1983 washing machine to power the water feature and super grow grass so it’s four feet high by the end of the program. Finally a fine liberal sprinkling of totally unsafe plastic toys. Charlie could wear a Kappa shell suit and baseball cap to blend in with the locals. Alan Titchmarsh could nip over the fence when it gets dark and nick a few bits and bobs for the new look and perhaps empty the odd firdge freezer for a slap up meal. So why don’t these make over lifestyle shows ever venture out to properties that really could do with it. Is there and elaborate scam where presenters do up their mates and relatives houses. I know one of the girls was arrested this year for running a fake consultancy company. They apparently did one garden quite near a dodgy area, which was raided after the job was done at night leaving only a plastic flower display. Even the turf and the pebbles were half inched!. With one hundred and twelve channels now ava
ilable ion Britain’s TV it means that there could be over 3000 shows out there, every single house could have the complete freebee by the end of next year on these tedious shows. It would sort out all the ghettos and give tons of work to new deal claimants.Theres a massive work creating industry out there waiting to be switched on. When we were kids we would take great joy in digging up the garden to bury toys or make bases for Airfix soldiers. We had rabbits to that loved digging caverns. We lost over 34 bunnies in the traumatic period between 1970-75 through dexterous tunnels under Mr Harris heavily dug in fence. Posy gardens are yet another expression of how important and Englishman’s/woman’s castle is. Having some TV people surprise you and then f**k off isn’t exactly an achievement of self worth is it. I have a secret for you,I snogged Charlie Dimmock at college.Her chest was very pert in those days from the sad sagging pair of two litre coke bottles we are treated with now.I never did get to let those particular puppies out of the bag.Great kisser though.I bet she didn’t know how famous and significant i wouldn’t turn out! Now she’s taking her fame way too seriously and planning a trapeze artist career for yet another banal daytime TV excursion. Well she was a bit of a swinger at that college you know, these rustic chicks always are. They do a good job though and im serious about the team heading out to poorer areas. We need a bit more conflict and substance here to make them more interesting don’t you think. Did you know that last year Charlie was the Eighty sixth most paid celebrity in Britain.And she is a Capricorn who make up %20 off the top ten female earners. But now cooking and the sexy chefs like Nigella and co are the trend as we snug up in the kitchen away from the scurrying woodlice,,,,like Titchmrash.Maybe we could have a complete house and garden make
over at once which includes the meal as well. Nigelle bouncing around as she bumps into Charlie.The other pair of Tits in Alan and handy Andy flogging books and gimmick records!. It time to kill of realityTV where we the tedious public are the stars and get back to quality and not quantity TV.
Whilst I appreciate that this show was probably not designed to have a trendy, youthful appeal I have to say that Ground Force is one of my least favourite shows. It’s not because I think gardening is boring – it’s simply that the format and content of the show is uninteresting - and in addition the presenters all need a good slap. Ground Force is basically a gardening makeover programme. Each week, upon invitation from a member of the public, Alan Titchmarsh and his crew descend on a different location where they undertake a two day challenge to give some poor soul’s garden a facelift. The makeover is always targeted as a surprise for one person, and their friends and family generally collaborate to ensure that the person suspects nothing in his/her absence. Once the two days are up, and the victim returns from wherever they have gone, Alan and his team spring out from behind the compost heap and present the newly re-designed garden as a surprise present. It’s probably quite a nice idea in theory, but unfortunately the whole concept is now wearing rather thin. In order to try and spruce things up a bit (i.e. get away with countless repeats) they now also send the team back in to have a look at the finished gardens about a year later, which is often quite interesting because things look more established, and less like a picture on a packet of seeds. Alan Titchmarsh is a competent enough garden designer and certainly adds value to the show with his years of experience in designing and maintaining formal gardens. Alan’s designs are visually very effective, and certainly look quite impressive on paper. However, one of the problems with the programme is that Alan designs the garden every week – which ultimately means that most of the designs looks rather like each other. Certainly, the exact layout, theme and content of each makeover will vary, but the same elements are normally there – a significant quan
tity of wooden decking, a mountain of white gravel, a revolting water feature and (if you’re really lucky) a fragile-looking gazebo. Alan’s designs are consistently “safe” – there is nothing innovative or particularly appealing about any of the gardens and most of them look like a B+Q show garden. Alan T normally seems to go for the “poor man’s garden” with every piece of open soil choked in gravel (otherwise known as “low maintenance”) and expanses of lawn getting ripped up for acres of B & Q decking (otherwise known as “contemporary living”). When the show first started, although Titchmarsh was well known, his co-presenters Tommy and Charlie were relative unknowns, which meant that he was clearly the leader. Since the show has migrated to BBC1 and gained something of a following, Tommy and Charlie no longer seem so willing to play second fiddle to Mr T, which sometimes leads to the odd moment of friction. Charlie has since gone on to present her own show, and you can’t help but think she now sees herself as something more than a co-presenter. The friendly banter between the three occasionally ends up more like childish bickering, and the trio doesn’t seem to have the same appeal that they once did. Additionally, contrary to what most of the male population seem to think, I find Charlie Dimmock absolutely nauseating. Her ability to thrust her chest into everyone’s face may well be legendary, but to be honest I wish the woman would invest in a bra. I hate the way that she is known for putting the sex into television gardening – bouncing about the place, completely out of control, she has all the charm of one of the stone statues that she so fondly erects in people’s gardens. One thing I will say is that she works very hard – she’s not frightened to muck in with the blokes – but it’s all in the name of the whole female equali
ty thing and it all gets rather boring after a while. Besides which she is just looking for a reason to get sweaty so that her nipples stand out. Ground Force is to gardening what Changing Rooms is to DIY – cheap, nasty and tacky. I don’t want to see things done on a budget, against the clock. I like to watch things done properly, preferably on a grand scale where money is no option. I don’t really understand the rationalisation with these mainstream makeover programmes. If they are trying to show every day people how to do something then they are failing miserably – none of the viewers could replicate what they see on TV because they don’t have the resources to help that Ground Force includes without adding to the budget. The other problem is that, so there is more of an established garden at the end for the cameras to see, Titchmarsh tends to invest heavily in established trees, shrubs and plants which most gardeners simply wouldn’t/couldn’t afford to do. This all leads to rather unrealistic expectations of what you can do at home. Furthermore, I must be a distant relative of Victor Meldrew or something, but I think that all the farting about playing cloak and dagger is really boring. I hate the way they have the camcorder footage at the start with an interview with the “victim” – like we care what they do for a living! I’m not totally convinced how genuine the whole thing is anyway – despite torrential rain and lightning the team still manage to get everything done every week. I can’t help but think the programme-makers might slip the odd extra day into the production schedule – we’d never really know after all. Nonetheless, I think I could probably just about stomach the show were it not for one other excruciating irritation – those blasted horns. All the way through the show the viewer is treated to snippets of music from a brass orchestra,
repetitively blasting out the same chords and refrains time after time. Just as you’re starting to relax, the horns are off; prattling and babbling away in the background like a (bad) Salvation Army band. Perhaps it’s just me, but I find the music intrusive, distracting and just plain irritating – and more often than not this will be the deciding factor in my decision to turn the television off and run out of the house screaming.
Despite being on the same channel as "Changing Rooms" and a similar time frame, this programme is of a far higher quality - and although Alan does grumble a bit sometimes, there is always a wealth of information on each show. I love "Ground Force" - so many ideas to store in my mind for future use, when I have my own house with a garden. Willit be a mock pier, over a seashell base ... or a riverlet meandering through a lush green landscape. Or maybe I'll decide to build a patio along a wall and paint a mural to whisk me away to a Mediterranean paradise. Whatever my dreams, Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and the cheeky hunky one (whose name I can never remember! Oh, Tommy Walsh, that's it) can give me the ideas and show me that it can be done. Who would have thought that down-to-earth Alan would become a household favourite? His cheerful cross between grumbling and mumbling is endearing in its own way although some viewers find it annoying. Tommy is fun, and didn't he look good in a kilt! The concept of the show is pretty good, in that the Ground Force team moves in to sort out the garden over a two day period while one of the owners is kept away - to come home and be pleasantly surprised by the landscaping that has been done in their absence. They work wonders. They've turned some really barren and overgrown yards into some pretty special places for the families to enjoy. I like the way that everything they do can be done by anyone with a bit of commonsense and the time to do it. You can see the way that the Ground Force team works, and learn from them. Sometimes things don't go as planned and you'll see how they manage to fix something that's gone awry. It's not all glamour being a part of Alan's crew. When it rains, sometimes they are so bedraggled you just feel so sorry for them. The projects they undertake show you what can be done with the most
neglected area of undergrowth, and they let you know how much it cost for the supplies as well, so you can work out if you can afford to copy something. For me though, it's a wealth of ideas for when I eventually get my own garden. The contrast between the two shows is immense - the "Ground Force" team do make mistakes sometimes and will make attempts to put things right where the attitude of "Changing Rooms" is in the way the so-called designers just kind of "oh well" at any shoddiness or damage they create. So although it's a definite thumbs down for the one Beeb show, I have to give a big THUMBS UP to "Ground Force". May there be many more garden makeovers.
. . . . Charlie and Will – what did you think I meant? And already you’re wondering if this is going to be a sensible, useful review, or if Aspen’s going to take the piddle out of Ground Farce. The answer, hopefully, is a bit of both. But we can’t do Ground Farce in completely serious mode. Oops! Already, I’ve set the wrong tone, and offended GF fans the planet oe’r! Don’t jump to the wrong conclusion, though. I watch GF avidly. Which is quite something. ‘Cos I’m not a telly person. In fact, if it’s on at all, it is usually as moving wallpaper or white noise. Although the geriatric JR does rather like Animal Hospital. She picks up attention-seeking tips, like how to choke on your Pedigree Chum with Kangaroo Cuts and added Wallaby, thereby gaining your lord and master’s undivided attention for a few puke-ridden moments. Sorry if you’ve just eaten. But apart from the mandatory weather forecast, GF is the one thing I try not to miss. Because I love it and hate it. I suppose I should act responsibly, and give you the low-down on the prog, although if you are reading this, you will probably know all about it already, and the last thing I want to do is bore you - knowingly. Boring you unintentionally is OK, ‘cos it’s not on my conscience. The legendary Alan Titchmarsh, who became legendary after the untimely deaths of Percy Thrower and Geoff Hamilton, gathered three unknowns (yes, three!), and rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of a proper gardeners’ crematorium to household-name status, by doing the impossible to the impossible in an impossibly short time. The concept of the programme is to get rid of the (sad, neglected, overgrown, uninspired) garden’s owner for two days on some pretext, and in the meantime, lovely Alan et al will carry out a complete transformation, courtesy of the TV licence-payer.
This is achieved by recruiting neighbours/friends/family/TV extras/sundry debtors/camera crew to assist the GF team in accomplishing this phenomenal against-the-clock result. The GF team are: The ubiquitous Alan Titchmarsh, wannabe novelist and Songs of Praise presenter, and pretty knowledgeable horticulturist to boot. Charlie Dimmock – water garden specialist, garden centre owner, (almost) topless calendar model and famous cardboard cut-out. Tommy Walsh – builder extraordinaire, jack-of-all-trades, and of –the-lad, cheeky stereotyped Cockney chappie, and compulsive wearer of shorts (except in the one prog recorded in Aberdeenshire, where they all wore thermals). and (thirdly) Will. He gets a credit at the end of the programme. Why so little credit in it? He can mix cement like nobody. I’d give him a job tomorrow. Let’s form a Will fanclub. The unsung hero of Ground Farce. Oh, sod it! You know what it’s all about. Let’s move on while we’re still all awake. This is the structured bit. I LIKE GROUND FORCE BECAUSE: 1. The presenters, although they have sold their souls to telly, are all experts in their own field. They have made the enviable transition from knowledgeable tradesperson to media guru. Alan and Charlie are real gardeners. Tommy is a real builder. And they have the ability to impart their skills to we viewers, via some fun and frolic. So we are entertained and amused. And only afterwards, we realise we have learned something. 2. GF brings ideas, and the potential of the garden, to everyone. Despite its entertainment-ish approach, it is still a “how-to” programme, and even cynical old hands like me learn a few things now and again. 3. It offers sound horticultural advice, and good horticultural practice, although if you blink you may miss it. 4. GF has, more than any other gardening programme, popular
ised and de-mystified a subject which is both my job and my hobby. That can’t be bad. I DON’T LIKE GROUND FORCE BECAUSE: 1. It encourages people to tackle things beyond their competence, because clever editing makes it seem so easy. 2. It undervalues gardening work, by flashing up on screen ONLY the costs of materials used. On average, in carrying out a garden makeover of the sort depicted, materials are one third of the cost and labour is two thirds. Sadly, this has come as a bit of a shock to some prospective clients of mine, and in the trade, is why GF is pretty much universally hated! 3. It tries to be instant, by using mature plants which cost an arm and a leg, when a little patience (we are working with nature after all), will do the job much more economically. And what they don’t tell you is, younger and smaller plants have a much higher survival rate than the instant specimens they love to use. So there. I’ve tried to do the balanced thing. Watch it and be entertained. Don’t believe all you see. If you want serious gardening information, watch Gardener’s World. Yes, I know that’s Titchmarsh too. I do rate him. He knows his onions. Better still, watch the Beechgrove Garden, although I appreciate that most of you will not have the technology to receive this essentially Scottish horticultural treat. Whatever you do, watch only gardening programmes presented by gardeners. There are far too many wannabe TV presenters doing gardening progs these days, because it’s the in thing to do. Avoid Monty Don like the plague.
The new season of Ground Force opened on 18th April 2001 with the showing of a trip to India to turn what can only be described as an area of scorched earth sporting a solitary Neem tree, into a garden of delight for orphaned children, only this time they had three days to do it in instead of the usual two. The usual crew of Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh led by Alan Titchmarsh arrived at the behest of the British Council in Delhi to work their magic at a children’s home at Palna. Aided by many Indian volunteers, the garden took shape under the watchful gaze of Alan as unusual methods were adopted to position three huge concrete tubes. In England the crew would have had lifting gear to unload the concrete tubes from the back of a truck but no such tackle was available to them. The solution offered by the volunteers was to position a series of old tyres on the ground behind the back of the truck and then to drive it backwards a few yards and come to a sudden stop. The first of the smaller tubes, having had its chocks removed, carried on with the momentum and toppled off the back of the truck to land gently on the tyres to be guided away to safety. The second tube received the same treatment but the last and largest tube some 4 feet in diameter, because of its weight would not stand up to such treatment so a novel method was devised. More tyres were brought in and placed on top of one of the smaller tubes and in front of it. Once again the skill of the truck driver was called upon as he backed up the lorry stopping just short of the smaller tube. The large concrete tube rolled back off the lorry and onto the tyres on the small concrete tube and rested there. Then as the truck eased slowly forward the tube ‘walked’ down to the floor and landed gently on the laid down tyres. Now came the turn of the JCB as the skilful driver, who spoke no English, manoeuvred his machine and gently eased and pushed the mammoth tube into its r
esting place. Work very nearly got held up when the arrival of the awaited wheelbarrows turned out to be toys for the orphans. What Tommy needed were large wheelbarrows to transport the mortar from the mixer to where he needed it to lay down a path. But this was India the land of improvisation and a JCB again came to the rescue and used its bucket to do the transporting job. Charlie’s water features hit a few problems but these too were overcome and ended up giving a splash of tinkling water to disturb the quite of an Indian sunset. For three days the many volunteers worked from sun up to sun down, digging, planting, moving slabs of stone and carting heavy trees and plants around until in a final rush as the guests arrived for the opening ceremony, the job was finally done. A desert had been transformed into an oasis of shade, peace and tranquillity with its own “Terror Run” for the kids. The delight and wonder on the little children’s faces as the beautiful garden was revealed to them will stay in my memory for evermore. I’ll bet that by the end of the show Kleenex sales had gone through the roof. I’m a hard-hearted old sea dog but it got me right there and I could feel an unashamed tear trickle down my face.
So Ground Force probably the longest running gardening programme belonging to the BBC. Alan Titchmarsh,Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh make an incredible team working in all weathers to satisfy the people of Britain they also get paid a lot. They travel up and down the country pleasing unsuspecting wives and husbands with and average budget of £500 - £1000. They do have their work cut out for them every week. The best one probably was when they were working at a Fire Station making a lovely garden remembering a dedicated Fireman. They rush to finishing it till the last minute (they have been working on it during sleet and snow whcih slowed them down a lot). Then five minutes before he was due to arrive his best friend got a phone call saying that he will be staying in Spain for tow more weeks so they did have lots more of time. I really recommend this programme to the outdoor type who are interested in gardening. So watch it and get new ideas.
This show has inspired me to consider doing some gardening, consider I said not actually doing the deed. The prospect of spending time in the garden playing with soil, in the cold, wet or boiling heat is not my idea of fun. Alan Titchmarsh, Tommy and Charlie are great, they really enjoy working and in many cases come up with some original ideas and nice gardens. But Charlie, Charlie come on girl, put a bra on. Yes it was novel at the beginning, yes it got her noticed. But to continue saying that she can't work in a bra, is now getting boring, that's why Sports bras were invented dear. It's so obvious that all it is an attention seeking ploy, that is in my opinion, rather sad. Charlie has got a reasonable personality, she knows her gardening stuff, and seems very talented especially with her creative water features. So come on charlie take a risk, put it on and I'm sure the viewing figures won't go down. If they do, they are they type of viewers you don't really want!!!! I'm sure if she asked nicely Father Christmas would buy her one!
Sorry if I offend Charlie lovers, but purlease - this show was actually ok when it started off - it comes from the same stable as Changing Rooms(except with gardem of course!) and good old faithfully Alan Tichmarch, Tommy, and....Charlie. I noticed long ago that the woman does not wear a bra. Okay, fair enough she can do what she wants but it is off putting, and if theres men in the auidence you know where they are looking. And recently especially, she seems to jump around a lot more, as if to say "look at me!!!!!". Alan Titchmarsh surely is not too pleased......the gardens themselves, the presenters are presented a shabby old garden(normally quite plain so theres lots of revamping to do)and there is always a water feature, a little sand pit for the kids etc. etc. All in all it is a good programme when you have nothing better to do. It isn't really informative as such, because the stuff they do is fairly complecated (apart from planting new plants).
Groundforce is a bit like Changing rooms but in the garden. The basic idea is that a member of the public who is away from home for a couple of days is surprised by their partner, who has written to the BBC and asked the Groundforce team to give their garden a makeover, with a budget of around £1500. The team sent in to do the transformation is Alan Titchmarsh, Tommy Walsh and Charlie Dimmock, who is best known for usually preferring not to wear a bra during the programme. All three are likeable people and the whole show is filmed in a light hearted manner, with the emphasis on entertainment rather than the stuffiness you might associate with the usual gardening shows. This is not to say that they don't give of their best to produce a good result and often in trying conditions as it seems to nearly always rain. The person giving the surprise also helps with the work and a special mention is also due for Tommy's mate Willy who is a regular assistant but stays in the background. Throughout the two days Alan keeps us up to date with the current time and how long they've got left and all three also provide tips for the viewers to help them achieve similar results at home. After a couple of days of hard graft, the "victim" arrives home to discover that they have been deceived and the Groundforce team find out if their changes meet with approval. It's difficult to tell what their real thoughts are with the cameras still running but the majority seem really pleased at the end. A recent addition to the repeats of this show are return visits one or two years later to see how the garden is looking and so far I've not seen any that have not been well kept since the programme.
I thought this was a really "nice" programme with a cosy image - until last week that is when Alan and Tommy nearly came to blows! Alan got the hump when Tommy started sanding his decking (oo-er!) and bits of sawdust landed right where Alan was working. They started having a bit of a row, the first time it's happened on this show. It all ended well though, they kissed and made up in the end. I like Ground Force but I wish Alan would restrain himself with the amount of gravel he uses - lawns don't appear very much in his gardens! Charlie's water features usually set things off very nicely, and she's not afraid to get her hands dirty and muck in with the heavy work either. What a trooper! An entertaining half hour, nothing too taxing on the old grey matter.