Amanda Louise Holden (born 16 February 1971) is a British actress and presenter. Among her roles are Mia Bevan in Cutting It, Sarah Trevanion in Wild at Heart, and the title role inThoroughly Modern Millie, for which she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award. Since 2007, Holden has been a judge on Britain's Got Talent.
Holden was born in Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire to Judith Mary Harrison and naval petty officer Frank Holden. Her parents split up when she was four and she was brought up in the village of Waltham Chase, by Harrison and stepfather Leslie Drew Collister. She joined the Bishop's Waltham Little Theatre Company when she was nine, and credits Angie Blackford as influential in her early stage career. When she was 16 the family moved to Bournemouth and ran a small B&B while Amanda herself studied Drama and English literature A levels with Terry Clarke and Charles Lamb at the Jellicoe Theatre, now part of Bournemouth and Poole College. She successfully auditioned for the independent drama school Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in theWood Green area of North London when she was 18, graduating in July 1994.
Holden has appeared in several stage musicals and in 2004 was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in the West End production of Thoroughly Modern Millie (musical), which closed earlier than expected at the end of June 2004.
She appeared in the ITV drama Wild at Heart, alongside Stephen Tompkinson and Ross Kent. The first series aired in 2006 and a second series followed in early 2007. Series three ran from 20 January to 9 March 2008, after which Holden left the programme. She then appeared as Lizzie the Ring Mistress in the sitcom Big Top (BBC1, 2009), which ran for one series.
Holden's other TV credits include three series of the hit comedy Kiss Me Kate alongside Caroline Quentin, three series of the ITV comedy series The Grimleys, Celeb with Harry Enfield, the critically acclaimed BBC series Hearts and Bones alongside Damian Lewis, the Jonathan Creek episode "The Problem at Gallowes Gate" and a Boxing Day special Marple alongside Geraldine McEwan and John Hannah. She also co-starred with Bill Nighy and Tom Courtenay inReady When You Are, Mr McGill, Jack Rosenthal's classic comedy drama.
She most recently finished playing the role of 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. She starred alongside 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. She was replaced by Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh. For this role Holden won the WhatsOnStage.com Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Musical.