Amanda Holden
Holden in 2014
Amanda Louise Holden

(1971-02-16) 16 February 1971 (age 50)
  • Actress
  • media personality
Years active1991–present
AgentJames Grant[1]
(m. 1995; div. 2003)

Chris Hughes
(m. 2008)

Amanda Louise Holden (born 16 February 1971)[2] is an English actress and media personality. Since 2007, she has judged on the television talent show competition Britain's Got Talent on ITV. She currently co-hosts the Heart Breakfast radio show with Jamie Theakston on weekday mornings.

Holden played the title role in the musical stage show Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2004, for which she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award. She played the role of Sarah Trevanion in the ITV drama series Wild at Heart (2006–2008),[3] and her other acting credits include The Grimleys (1998–2001), Kiss Me Kate (1999–2001), Cutting It (2002–2004), and Big Top (2009). Holden has also presented various television shows for ITV, including The Sun Military Awards (2009–2014), Superstar (2012), This Morning (2014–2018), Text Santa (2015), and Give a Pet a Home (2015).

In 2013, Holden released her autobiography book, No Holding Back, which became a Sunday Times bestseller.[4] In 2020, she released her debut studio album, Songs from My Heart.[5]

Early life

Holden was born in Portsmouth[6] and spent much of her childhood in Bishop's Waltham, and aged nine she joined Bishop's Waltham Little Theatre Company. She attended Swanmore Secondary School (now Swanmore College). At 16 she moved to Bournemouth,[7][8] before moving to South London to attend Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.[9]



Holden's first television appearance was as a contestant on the game show Blind Date in 1991. From 2006 to 2008, Holden appeared as Sarah Trevanian in three series of ITV's Wild at Heart co-starring Stephen Tompkinson.

Holden's other TV credits include three series of the comedy Kiss Me Kate with Caroline Quentin and Chris Langham, three series of ITV's The Grimleys, Celeb with Harry Enfield, BBC series Hearts and Bones with Damian Lewis, the Jonathan Creek episode "The Problem at Gallowes Gate", and a Boxing Day special Agatha Christie's Marple episode "4.50 From Paddington" opposite Geraldine McEwan and John Hannah. She co-starred with Bill Nighy and Tom Courtenay in Ready When You Are, Mr. McGill, a comedy drama by Jack Rosenthal. Holden is a judge on Britain's Got Talent along with Simon Cowell, David Walliams, and Alesha Dixon. She joined the show in 2006.

She has appeared on British series such as Smack the Pony, EastEnders, Hearts and Bones, and Cutting It.[10]

In 2009 Holden appeared as Lizzie, the Ring Mistress, in the BBC circus sitcom Big Top. In April 2009 it was reported the US network CBS had offered Holden a job as one-time guest presenter on The Early Show, a daytime talk show. On 1 June 2009 she appeared with regular presenters Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez. Holden has since signed with CBS as a British correspondent for The Early Show.

From 2009 until 2014 Holden co-presented A Night of Heroes: The Sun Military Awards annually on ITV with Phillip Schofield. In January 2010 she presented her own four-part series, Amanda Holden's Fantasy Lives, in which she tried out four of her dream jobs, including working as a showgirl in Paris and as a magician's assistant in Las Vegas.

In 2010 Holden co-presented The Door with Chris Tarrant. In 2011, Holden narrated the documentary The Nation's Favourite Bee Gees Song on ITV. On 6 July 2012 Holden guest presented an episode of Lorraine, standing in for Lorraine Kelly. She returned to guest present six further episodes of the show from 4 to 8 April and on 4 July 2016.

In 2012 Holden presented talent show Superstar on ITV. On 24 March 2014 she hosted an episode of the Channel 4 show Dispatches about the treatment for stillbirths and miscarriages.

Holden in 2012
Holden in 2012

From 22 September to 18 December 2014, Holden filled in as a co-host on This Morning with Phillip Schofield during Holly Willoughby's maternity leave. She took a short break in January and February 2015 to record the Britain's Got Talent auditions. Christine Lampard stood in for Holden during this time, before the latter returned to the show from 2 March until 17 July 2015.[11] She returned to This Morning in 2017, to co-present numerous episodes with Ben Shephard.

Holden presented a six-part factual series for ITV called Give a Pet a Home, which worked alongside the RSPCA finding homes for animals. The series aired in April and May 2015.[12]

On 18 December 2015 Holden was part of the presenting team for ITV's Christmas telethon Text Santa. In 2016 she presented I've Got Something To Tell You, a factual series for the W television channel.[13][14] She appeared as Miss Pentangle in CBBC's The Worst Witch in 2017. Holden will make a guest appearance in the Australian soap opera Neighbours as Harriet in 2022. She began filming for the show in London during October 2021.[15]

In 2021, she started appearing in a new comedy mockumentary series from Bo' Selecta! creator Leigh Francis. The programme was called The Holden Girls: Mandy & Myrtle and featured Francis in drag with heavy make-up as Amanda's nan Myrtle. The show launched on the E4 channel with 601,938 viewers and was repeated on Channel 4, gaining enough viewers to be recommissioned for a second series for 2022.[16]


Holden has appeared in several stage musicals, and in 2004 was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in the West End production of Thoroughly Modern Millie,[10] which closed earlier than expected in June 2004.[17][18]

Holden finished playing the role Princess Fiona in the original West End production of Shrek The Musical, which began on 6 May 2011. The show opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 14 June 2011.[19] She starred with Nigel Lindsay, Richard Blackwood, and Nigel Harman. Holden departed the show on 3 October 2011, ten weeks earlier than planned, to focus on her unborn child and was replaced by Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh. For this role, Holden won the Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Musical.[20] In 2016 Holden starred in a West End revival of Stepping Out[21] and reprised her role when it opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in March 2017.[22]


In 1996 Holden played Pamela in Intimate Relations. In 1999 she appeared as a shoe-shop assistant in Virtual Sexuality. She was uncredited in the 2013 film One Chance.


In April 2019 it was announced Holden would replace Emma Bunton as co-host of Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston, at the same time as it went national on 3 June.[23]


In 2020 Holden released her debut studio album, Songs from My Heart, through Universal Music. It reached number four on the UK Albums Chart.

Other work

In July 2009 Holden became a gossip columnist for the News of the World.[24]

From 2010 until 2012 Holden appeared in television commercial adverts for supermarket chain Tesco. Since 2012 she has appeared in television commercials for Danone Oykos low-fat yoghurt.

In October 2013 Amanda released her autobiography, called No Holding Back,[25] which became a Sunday Times best-seller.

In 2015 she was the new face of the Alpen Brighter Morning Challenge.[26]

In 2019 Holden signed a recording contract with Virgin EMI Records.[27]

Personal life

In 1992, while they were both appearing in The Sound of Music, Holden dated George Asprey.[28] She married the comedian Les Dennis in June 1995. The couple separated temporarily in 2000 after Holden's affair with actor Neil Morrissey[29] was the subject of press interest, before separating permanently in December 2002 and divorcing in 2003. Around this time, she alleged she was sexually assaulted by an "unnamed famous comedian" at a public event.[30]

In 2006 Holden gave birth to her first child, conceived with her fiancé, record producer Chris Hughes.[31] She married Hughes at Babington House,[32] Somerset, on 10 December 2008 with former Formula One racing driver David Coulthard acting as best man. After a miscarriage in 2010, she suffered their son being stillborn at seven months in 2011.[33] In 2012, despite medical complications, she gave birth to their second daughter.[34] As of 2018, Holden and Hughes live in Surrey.[35] Holden also owns a cottage in the Cotswolds which she has been renovating since 2017.[36][37]

In 2010 Holden campaigned to keep a Sainsbury's supermarket out of Bishop's Waltham. Residents of her hometown later accused her of a double standard in November 2010 when she signed a deal to appear in advertisements for Tesco, a UK supermarket chain.[38]

In December 2016 Holden's ancestry was the subject of a BBC programme in the Who Do You Think You Are? series.[39] The investigation discovered that her Cornish 5x great-grandfather Collin Thomas served a year's imprisonment, after breaking his apprenticeship as a cordwainer, by enlisting in the Royal Navy and leaving the United Kingdom aged 15. Ten years later, while serving in the British Army after the Peninsular War, he met and married a French woman and began a family near Bordeaux, France, before then moving his wife and eldest children back to Great Britain.[40] In addition, it transpired that her grandfather Frank Holden, a psychiatric nurse, was aboard the RMS Lancastria when it was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in June 1940 outside the port of Saint-Nazaire and sank with the loss of thousands of lives.[41] Frank Holden died by suicide in his 70s.[42]

Holden has been a long-standing fan of English Premier League football club Everton, attending home and away games when her schedule allows.[43] She has been vegetarian since she was thirteen.[44]

She is a great niece of actress Jan Holden (1931–2005).[citation needed]

Charity work

Holden fronted Everton's breast-cancer-awareness campaign.[45] She is a patron of the football club's charity, Everton In the Community.[46] In September 2011, Holden was sponsored to bake a cake for every child in the Great Ormond Street Hospital.[47]

On 13 April 2008 Holden ran the London Marathon in 4 hours and 13 minutes, in the name of the Born Free Foundation,[48] having collected public and celebrity sponsors online. Since 2013, she has presented the RSPCA's Animal Hero Awards. Holden has raised money for Jeans for Genes and SSAFA via The Big Brew Up.[49][50]

In 2013 she became a celebrity ambassador for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, following her work with Pedigree's 'Buy One, Feed One' campaign that she and fellow ambassador Paul O'Grady have been supporting together.[51]

In June 2018 Holden was photographed underwater by Zena Holloway.[52] She posed as a mermaid in an awareness campaign for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to highlight the "disgusting treatment" of orcas at SeaWorld. Holden has also posed nude for PETA in a campaign to promote vegetarianism.[53]

In 2020 Holden raised money for the National Health Service (NHS) during the COVID-19 pandemic.[54]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 Blind Date Contestant
1993 In Suspicious Circumstances Alice Meadows Episode: "Falling Starr"
1994 EastEnders Carmen 5 episodes
1997 We Know Where You Live Various characters 12 episodes
The Bill Julia Episode: "Mr. Friday Night"
Thief Takers Camilla Barker Episode: "One Last Hurrah"
1998 Goodness Gracious Me Various characters 5 episodes
Jonathan Creek Petra 2 episodes: "The Problem at Gallows Gate: Parts 1 & 2"
Hale and Pace Girl 2
1998–2001 Kiss Me Kate Mel
1999 Smack the Pony Various characters 4 episodes
The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything Geordie's Girlfriend Television film
1999–2001 The Grimleys Geraldine Titley
2000 Happy Birthday Shakespeare Alice Television film
2000–2001 Hearts and Bones Louise Slaney 13 episodes
2001 The Hunt Sarah Campbell Television film
Now You See Her Jessica
2002 Celeb Debs Bloke 1 series (6 episodes)
2002 This Is Your Life Herself 1 episode
2002–2003 Top of the Pops 2 Guest presenter 5 episodes
2002–2004 Cutting It Mia Bevan Main role
2003 Greasemania Presenter
The National Music Awards 2003 Herself Television special
Ready When You Are, Mr. McGill Police Officer Television film
2004 Mad About Alice Alice Lead role; one series
French and Saunders Cordelia Lear 1 episode
Agatha Christie's Marple Lucy Eyelesbarrow Episode: "4:50 from Paddington"
2006–2008 Wild at Heart Sarah Trevanion Main role
2007–present Britain's Got Talent Judge Head Judge (2020)
2008 When Britain First Had Talent Herself Documentary
2009 Out of My Depth Trainee Midwife[55]
Big Top Lizzie 6 episodes
Bookaboo Herself Episode: "That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown"
2009–2014 A Night of Heroes: The Sun Military Awards Presenter Television special
2010 The Door Co-presenter Two-part celebrity series
Amanda Holden's Fantasy Lives Presenter Documentary series
A League of Their Own Guest presenter 3 episodes
2011 The Nation's Favourite Bee Gees Song Presenter Documentary
2012 Superstar One series
2014 Dispatches: Exposing Hospital Heartache Documentary
Celebrity Deal Or No Deal Contestant Celebrity edition; 1 episode
2014, 2016 Lorraine Guest presenter 9 episodes
2014–2015, 2017 This Morning Co-presenter Alongside Phillip Schofield
2015 Give a Pet a Home[56] Presenter One series
Text Santa Television Special
2016 I've Got Something To Tell You[14]
2017–2018 The Worst Witch Miss Pentangle[57]
2018 The Keith & Paddy Picture Show Herself Episode: "Pretty Woman"
2019 Plebs Rufina Episode: "The Banquet"
The Celebrity Apprentice Herself
Britain's Got Talent: The Champions Judge
2021 I Can See Your Voice
Eurovision Song Contest 2021 UK spokesperson Annual programme
The Holden Girls: Mandy & Myrtle Herself
2022 Neighbours Harriet Guest

Guest appearances


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Intimate Relations Pamela
1999 Don't Go Breaking My Heart Nurse
Virtual Sexuality Shoe shop assistant
2013 One Chance Herself / Judge Uncredited
2014 Pudsey the Dog: The Movie Sally the Dog Voice role

Television advertisements

Year Title Role Description
2010–2012 Tesco[58] Herself Supermarket chain
2012–present Danone Oykos Low-fat yoghurt
2015–present Alpen[59] Healthful granola


Year Title Role Theatre/company
1999 The Sound of Music Liesl Von Trapp West End
2004 Thoroughly Modern Millie Millie Dillmount West End; Shaftesbury Theatre
2011 Shrek The Musical Princess Fiona West End; Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
2016–2017 Stepping Out Vera West End; Richmond Theatre, Vaudeville Theatre


Year Programme Channel Notes
2019–present Heart UK Breakfast with Jamie and Amanda Heart Weekday mornings






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