Wild at Heart
“I don't care who or what judges me. Nothing's going to stop me from living my life how I choose.” Amanda Holden
British actress Amanda Holden is recognized for her Laurence Olivier Theatre nominated performance of Millie Dillmount in the West End production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (2003). She is perhaps best known to TV audiences as Sarah Trevanion on the ITV drama “Wild at Heart,” a role she played from 2006 to 2008, and for being a judge on “Britain's Got Talent” (2007-2009). Prior to “Wild at Heart,” she appeared in the series “Kiss Me Kate” (1998-2000, as Mel), “The Grimleys” (1999-2001, as Geraldine Titley), “Hearts and Bones” (2000-2001, as Louise Slaney), “Cutting It” (2002-2004, as Mia), “Celeb” (2002, as Debs Bloke) and “Mad about Alice” (2004, as Alice) and had a recurring role on the popular soap “EastEnders” (1994). She also appeared in various sketch shows, including “Goodness Gracious Me” (1998) and “Smack the Pony” (1999) and the TV films “The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything” (1999) and “Agatha Christie Marple: 4.50 from Paddington” (2004). Holden has also acted in motion pictures like “Intimate Relations” (1996) and “Don't Go Breaking My Heart” (1999). Her new film, “Quick Slip Me a Bride,” is set for a 2010 release.
Holden has been married twice. She and her first husband, comedian Les Dennis, were married from 1995 to 2003. She and present husband, Chris Hughes, whom she married in 2008, have one daughter.
Holden appeared in a TV commercial for the animal rights organization PETA in 2001. A supporter of Everton FC, she became the face of Everton's Breast Cancer Campaign in 2007. In April 2008, she ran the London Marathon in support of the Born Free Foundation.
Childhood and Family:
Amanda Louise Holden was born on February 16, 1971, in Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire, England. She was raised in the village of Waltham Chase in Hampshire by her mother Judith Mary (Harrison) Collister and her stepfather Leslie Drew Collister. She joined the Bishop's Waltham Little Theatre Company at age 9. The Collisters moved to Bournemouth, Dorset, when she was 16 years old. Amanda then attended The Jellicoe Theatre (now part of The University of Bournemouth), where she studied drama and English literature under Terry Clarke and Charles Lamb. At age 18, she auditioned and was accepted to the independent drama school Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. She left in 1992 after three years of training, with an agent.
On June 4, 1995, Amanda married British comedian/actor Les Dennis (born on October 12, 1953). They couple later divorced on November 18, 2003. Amanda then became engaged to record producer Chris Hughes (born on March 3, 1954). Their first child, daughter Alexa Louise Florence Hughes, was born on February 21, 2006. The happy couple eventually married on December 10, 2008.
Quick Slip Me a Bride
Amanda Holden had her first taste in front of the TV cameras in 1991 when she became a contestant on the U.K. dating game show “Blind Date.” Two years later, she appeared in the episode “Falling Star” of the ITV drama series “In Suspicious Circumstances,” where she was cast as Alice Meadows. It was followed by a five episode arc as Carmen in the long running BBC soap opera “EastEnders” in 1994 before she became a regular performer on the Channel 5 short lived sketch comedy series “We Know Where You Live” in 1997. She made her feature film acting debut in first timer Philip Goodhew's black comedy “Intimate Relations” (1996), which starred Julie Walters, Rupert Graves and Laura Sadler. On stage, Holden was cast with Josephine Tewson, Patsy Byrne and Tom Baker in “Arsenic and Old Lace” (1994), a play by Joseph Kesselring, at London's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. The production was helmed by Clifford Williams.
After guest spots on “The Bill” and “Thief Takers” (both 1997), Holden again showcased her comic flair in BBC's sketch comedy series “Goodness Gracious Me” (1998) and in four episodes of Channel 4's “Smack the Pony” (1999). She also had the recurring role of Petra in the Alan Davies mystery series “Jonathan Creek” (1998), a guest starring role in “Hale and Pace” (also 1998) and small roles in the films “Don't Go Breaking My Heart,” a romance starring Anthony Edwards, and “Virtual Sexuality,” which starred Laura Fraser and Rupert Penry-Jones (both 1999). She also appeared in the television movie “The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything” (1999).
Holden landed her first series regular role on the BBC sitcom “Kiss Me Kate.” Debuting in 1998, the series ran until late 2000. Holden landed her next regular roles in “The Grimleys,” a show that aired on ITV from 1999 to 2001, and the BBC drama “Hearts and Bones” (2000-2001), opposite Damian Lewis, Dervla Kirwan, Sarah Parish, Hugo Speer and Rose Keegan. Holden also found herself appearing in the made for TV films “Happy Birthday Shakespeare” (2000, as Alice), “The Hunt” (2001, as Sarah Campbell) and “Now You See Her” (2001, as Jessica). She returned as a TV series regular in the drama “Cutting It,” where she portrayed Mia Baven. She stayed with the show from 2002 to 2003 and later returned for one appearance in 2004. Meanwhile, from September to October 2002, she costarred with Harry Enfield in the short lived comedy series “Celeb.”
In 2003, Holden gained recognition when she landed the title role in the West End production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” based on the 1967 film of the same name. The play, which ran from October 2003 to June 2004, earned generally positive reviews and Holden was nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in the category of Best Actress in a Musical for her performance.
Back to TV, Holden headlined the comedy series “Mad about Alice” (2004), which focused on the lives of a divorced couple and their young son. Unfortunately for the actress, the show had a short life. The same year, she also portrayed Lucy Eyelesbarrow in the TV film “Agatha Christie Marple: 4.50 from Paddington” and made a guest appearance in the 1980s skit show “French and Saunders.” Holden was then cast as Sarah Trevanion on the ITV family drama “Wild at Heart,” which debuted on January 29, 2006. She stayed with the series until 2008.
An occasional TV host, Holden became a guest presenter on “Top of the Pops 2” in 2002 and 2003. She also presented “The National Music Awards 2003” and “The National Television Awards 2007.” In 2007, Holden became a judge on “Britain's Got Talent,” alongside Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell.
Holden is scheduled to play Philipa in the upcoming romantic film “Quick Slip Me a Bride,” directed and written by Raza Mallal. It will be released in the U.K. in February 2010.