Alan exchanged his trusty trowel and spade for a shepherd’s crook and put his many skills to good use in driving sheep over London Bridge. After working as a gardener in a nursery in his native Yorkshire, Alan Titchmarsh trained and subsequently taught at Kew Gardens before becoming a journalist – first as a gardening books editor and then on gardening magazines. He began broadcasting on BBC Radio 4 in 1977 and has not been off the airwaves ever since. Alan went freelance in the late 1970s, earning his living by writing for newspapers and magazines and by broadcasting. He became a regular on Radio 4 and subsequently on Radio 2. His first television appearance was on BBC Nationwide in 1979 which led to a regularly weekly appearance on Nationwide until moving to BBC Breakfast Time in 1984 where his brief was expanded to cover the British countryside as well as gardening.
In 1986 he was asked to diversify even further by presenting Open Air from BBC Manchester, and the following year he began a ten-year stint at Pebble Mill in Birmingham where he hosted a magazine programme which eventually became a chat show. Since then he has appeared on Songs of Praise, Gardeners’ World and the record-breaking Ground Force (12 million viewers) which established Alan as a household name, and he was instrumental in designing and making a garden in South Africa for Nelson Mandela.
Alan writes for such diverse publications as Amateur Gardening, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, Homes and Gardens, Country Life, The Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph. Over the last forty years Alan has written more than fifty gardening books, several books on the countryside and other subjects as varied as The Queen’s houses and a Christmas anthology. He has also penned three volumes of memoirs. In 1998 he wrote his first novel – Mr MacGregor. Another nine novels followed and all ten have made the Sunday Times Bestseller List.
British Isles, a Natural History and The Nature of Britain were landmark series made for BBC1 and since then Alan has appeared on ITV in his own chat show: The Alan Titchmarsh Show, Love Your Garden, and Masterpiece. He presented The BBC Proms for four years and has compered the Windsor pageants for Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and 90th birthday celebrations. He also presents Secrets of the National Trust on Channel 5 and in 2018 his debut album of poetry, accompanied by Debbie Wiseman’s music, The Glorious Garden, went to number one in the Classical Music Charts.
He is Chancellor of the University of Winchester, a Freeman of the City of London, Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, the recipient of four honorary degrees, a Vice-President of the Royal Horticultural Society and a holder of the society’s highest award – the Victoria Medal of Honour. He was appointed MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list, was High Sheriff of The Isle of Wight in 2008-9 and is president or patron of more than forty charities. He considers himself a very lucky man and puts his ability to multi-task down to having a tolerant wife and enjoying a good night’s sleep.