I wore lash and lip gloss while plastering and tiling… you can still be glam doing DIY, says Amanda Holden ahead of show | The Sun

AMANDA HOLDEN has swapped flesh-flashing designer gowns for overalls and a hard hat on a new TV show in which she renovates a crumbling home in Sicily.

But the stylish TV star has revealed that even the hardiest of protective gear did not dull her glamorous shine.



She said: “Standards don’t need to drop when you’re doing DIY, so I always wore a lash, I always wore lip gloss.

“I definitely broke a couple of nails. I would always get my hands dirty anyway. And it was disgusting.

“We’ve bashed walls down, we’ve taken metalwork off, we’ve taken windows out, we’ve tiled, we’ve laid bricks.

“I really enjoyed the plastering thing and I loved tiling. I was very anal about it though. I was really, overly sort of fastidious and exacting about it.”

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The picture-perfect Britain’s Got Talent host has teamed up with celebrity best pal Alan Carr to give a ­makeover to a derelict house they bought under Italy’s One Euro programme.

The scheme allows foreigners to buy a home for a single euro — 88p — to support efforts to repopulate Sicily, and the duo’s project was filmed for new BBC show Alan & Amanda’s Italian Job.

And comic Alan really rated Amanda’s skills.

He said: “She had this look on her face when she smashed a wall down with her feet . . . with her head.

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“Started headbutting it, she was so angry. And she would never tell me who she was thinking of.”

Amanda added: “I took out a whole wall. I was like She-Ra. To be fair, every day when we were doing something else, we did plan our outfits.

‘None of my clothes fit’

“So if we were going to the vineyard or the groves or going interior shopping for fabric, we’ve got frocks and fabulous shirts to match. So there’s a fashion show there.

“Alan is really a fashionista. He has got an amazing array of shirts. When we were doing the kitchen, he turns up with a shirt and it’s got peppers and apples and tomatoes on it.”

Alan set the bar high when he arrived on day one in a vintage Gucci jumpsuit.

But the snazzy gear did not last long after the pair began ­sampling the local cuisine.

Amanda said: “We were in this medieval village and then suddenly they had a pasta festival and it’s like 4,000 people descended on this ­village.

“Everywhere had pasta. Everywhere had beer. Everywhere. It was just everywhere.”

Alan said: “Even if you’re not into travel or DIY but you want to see someone slowly getting fat over eight weeks, then it’s essential viewing.

“I said, ‘Amanda, I’m so fat now. What am I going to do? None of my clothes fit me’.

“And then the locals say, ‘We’re having a pasta festival this weekend’.

“I was like, ‘F*** my life’. My shorts split when I was testing out a bidet and I was basically lunging.”

The pair flew back and forth to Italy during the summer to fit the renovation work around their busy showbiz lives.

But the demanding schedule came at the right time for Alan, who had split from Paul Drayton, his partner of 13 years, ­earlier in 2022 after three years of marriage.

So Amanda reckoned the project became a “mind makeover” for Alan.

She said: “I think it’s good he was busy. It did help.

“Alan is a really breezy, positive, upbeat person. He doesn’t believe in dwelling on anything.

“We’re not going to just spiral on anything — you’re very matter-of-fact and onwards and upwards.

“But I think it was brilliant that he had a busy mind so that he could just think about plastering rather than Paul.”

Alan said: “Yeah, no moping. Yeah, plastering, yeah.”

Being away even meant the chance of a holiday romance.

Alan went on: “Amanda would keep trying to get me a nice Italian ­boyfriend.

“It didn’t really matter what age, or whether they had any teeth, no one was off limits. Who doesn’t like a holiday romance?

“If our eyes locked over a massive bowl of pasta, like Lady And The Tramp, who’s to say?

“But I mean, Amanda was always trying to get me someone.

“We went to this flea market, I’m trying to decorate the bedroom and she brings over this man — ‘Alan, he’s single, he’s single’.

“Single, but he clearly was straight and fancied her. So I was getting Amanda’s seconds.”

Instead the pair threw themselves into a real labour of love — the house.

With a budget of 100,000 euros they worked with local tradespeople to transform the property, which has now been sold to raise funds for Children In Need.

Alan went on: “This is the one thing I want to get across — we did get our hands dirty.

“I know there’s a lot of cynical ­people, like, ‘Oh, bloody celebrities’, but I mean, we were there almost all the time, in 36C heat.

“And on heat. And when you’re on heat as well, if you’re horny, it’s ­particularly really tough.”

The duo reckon the resulting TV show, an eight-part series that begins on ­January 6, will show viewers a whole new side to them.

Amanda said: “It’s the closest thing to a reality show I’ve ever done.

“It feels like The Only Way Is Sicily.

“There’s stuff that we did when we forget that it’s being recorded, so it’s the most ‘me’.

“There’s lots of jokes in there that we know they’ve kept in.”

Alan added: “Hopefully we won’t get ­cancelled! We just filmed all the time so I think this is probably the show you get the most me.

“There’s tears, there’s laughter, there’s stuff like that. And you can’t fake that.”

The One Euro home-buying scheme is not restricted to Italy, with similar projects in Portugal, Croatia, France and Japan.

If the series takes off, Amanda and Alan are already gagging to pull off another ­miracle makeover — this time on a Greek taverna.

Amanda said: “It would be like Fawlty Towers. A coachload of ­people turning up, me and Alan there to make your bed, cook your breakfast.

“Mandy and Alan’s B&B, from Greece, though. We could re-enact the whole of Mamma Mia!

“I think we’d both love to do a second series. It just depends whether it works, whether it’s liked and if we can do it.

“It’s a really hopeful, warm, ­joyous half hour and at the end of each half hour, there is a room completed and done.”

‘How bad can it be?’

Alan added: “I think it’s perfect January telly. I mean, we’re all probably still going to be hung over from New Year’s Eve and just sitting there. It’s visual Berocca.”

The pals first dreamed up the show while they were filming an episode of ITV’s family tree documentary DNA Journeys, having read earlier about the Sicily One Euro scheme.

Amanda took the plunge and bought two next-door properties after seeing a simple black and white photo online.

In the first episode, the pals see the houses for the first time.

Alan said: “We thought, ‘How bad can it be? If it’s worth less than a euro by the time we finish the project, something’s gone very wrong’.

“Then we arrived and it had squatters in it. There was human excrement up the walls.

“Mattresses, clothes, and the smell . . . ” Amanda added: “There were rats and hundreds of flies.”

Then after intense work clearing out the buildings, some serious structural issues arose.

The seismic reinforcement mesh that is used in Italian buildings to offer more support during­­ ­earthquakes had begun to rust.

Amanda said: “It started pulling the house down because it was ­eating into the walls, and it was horrific.

“And you could literally snap it off, and the whole building could have collapsed.”

The house now belongs to a lucky new owner, and the duo say the project also completely overhauled their friendship.

Alan added: “We are friends but before, we’d meet every month or ring every fortnight and have dinner.

“But now, since we’ve done this, I feel like she’s just become an even better friend.

“So we phone every day, text every day.”

Amanda added with a laugh: “Poor Alan. I was in his area ­yesterday and I’m like, ‘I’ve just dropped my daughter off at school. I’m coming over’.

“And I go round, no word of a lie, he’s got all his washing drying on a clothes horse in the back ­garden, he’s got his socks on and the telly is on pause.

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“We’re in his house whether he wants it or not.”

  • Amanda & Alan’s Italian Job begins on January 6 at 8.30pm on BBC One.

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