I wore eyelashes and lip gloss while plastering and tiling...you can still be flamboyant doing DIYs, Amanda Holden says before the show

I wore eyelashes and lip gloss while plastering and tiling…you can still be flamboyant doing DIYs, Amanda Holden says before the show

Amanda Holden swapped shimmery designer dresses for formal wear and a hard hat for a new TV show in which she renovates a rundown house in Sicily.

But the stylish TV star revealed that even the toughest protective gear didn’t dilute her glamorous shine.


Amanda Holden took a gamble when she bought two abandoned Italian homesCredit: Christian Vermack
Alan is also a real fashionista, although he and Amanda also dressed for graft


Alan is also a real fashionista, although he and Amanda also dressed for graftCredit: BBC
Amanda and Alan's Italian Job premieres January 6 on BBC One


Amanda and Alan’s Italian Job premieres January 6 on BBC OneCredit: BBC

She said, “Standards don’t need to be held back when you’re DIY, so I always wore eyelashes, and I always wore lip gloss.

“I definitely broke two toenails. I always got my hands dirty anyway. And it was gross.”

“We broke down the walls, removed the metalwork, removed the windows, tiled, and laid the bricks.

“I really enjoyed doing my plastering and I love tiling. I was very anal about it though. I was really, really kind of overly sensitive and strict about it.”

The quintessential British Got Talent host has teamed up with celebrity best friend Alan Carr to give a makeover to an abandoned house they bought under One Euro in Italy.

The scheme allows foreigners to buy a home for one euro – 88 pence – to support resettlement efforts Sicilyand the duo’s project was filmed for the new BBC show Alan & Amanda’s Italian Job.

And comedian Alan really appreciated Amanda’s skills.

He said: This was the look on her face when she smashed the wall with her feet. . . headed.

“She started hitting her head, she was so angry. And she would never tell me who she was thinking.”

Amanda added, “It took down a whole wall. I was like She-Ra. To be fair, every day when we were doing something else, we were planning our outfits.”

None of my clothes fit

“So if we’re going to the vineyard or the orchards or we’re going indoor shopping for fabric, we’ve got the perfect dresses and shirts to match. So there’s a fashion show there.”

“Alan is really a fashion designer. He has an amazing collection of T-shirts. When we were setting up the kitchen, he showed up in a T-shirt with peppers, apples and tomatoes on it.”

Alan set the bar high when he arrived on day one wearing a classic Gucci suit.

But the chic equipment didn’t last long after the couple began sampling the local cuisine.

Amanda said: “We were in this medieval village and all of a sudden they had a pasta festival and it was like 4,000 people had come down to this village.

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

Alan said: “Even if you’re not interested in traveling or DIY but want to see someone slowly fatten up over the course of eight weeks, it’s imperative that you watch it.

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

Then the locals say, ‘We have a noodle festival this weekend.'”

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

The duo traveled back and forth to Italy over the summer to fit in renovations that revolved around their busy entertainment lives.

But the demanding schedule came just in time for Alan who did A split from Paul Draytonhis partner of 13 years, earlier in 2022 after three years of marriage.

So Amanda considered the project to become a “brain change” for Alan.

She said, “I think it’s good that he was busy. It helped.”

Amanda and Pal Alan Carr dressed in matching outfits on vacation


Amanda and Pal Alan Carr dressed in matching outfits on vacationCredit: BBC

“Alan is a really fun, positive and optimistic person. He doesn’t believe in dwelling on anything.

“We’re not going to move you into anything—you’re too fait accompli and beyond and beyond.

“But I think it would have been nice if he had such a busy mind that he could think about plastering instead of pee.”

Alan said, “Yes, no grimace. Yes, plastering, yes.”

Being apart means an opportunity for a romantic getaway.

Alan continued, “Amanda was trying to get me a nice Italian boyfriend.

It didn’t really matter how old they were, or whether they had any teeth, no one was off limits. Who doesn’t love a romantic vacation?

“If we lock our eyes on a big bowl of noodles, like Lady and the Trampwho says?

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

“We went to the flea market, and I’m trying to decorate the bedroom and I bring this guy up—’Alan, he’s single, he’s single.'”

“Single, but he was obviously straight and in love with her. So I was having Amanda seconds.”

Instead, the couple threw themselves into the true labor of love – home.

With a budget of €100,000, they worked with local merchants to convert the property, which has now been sold to raise funds for children in need.

Alan continued: “That’s the only thing I want to cross – we got our hands dirty.

“I know there are a lot of people who are sarcastic, like, ‘Oh, bloody celebrities,’ but I mean, we were out there almost the whole time, in the 36-degree heat.

“And on the heat. And when you’re in heat too, if you’re horny, it’s really hard.”

The duo calculates that the resulting TV show, an eight-part miniseries starting January 6, will show viewers a whole new side to them.

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

“It feels like the only way is Sicily.

“There are things we did when we forgot it was recorded, so it’s more ‘me’.”

“There are a lot of jokes that we know she kept.”

Alan added, “Hopefully we don’t get cancelled! We just filmed the whole time so I think that’s the show you get the most.”

“There are tears, there are laughter, and there are things like that. And you can’t fake that.”

The one euro home buying scheme is not limited to Italy, with similar projects in Portugal, too. CroatiaFrance and Japan.

If the series takes off, Amanda and Alan are already flailing to pull off another miraculous makeover – this time at a Greek tavern.

“It will be like Fawlty Towers,” Amanda said. “There are loads of people turning up, Alan and I are there to make your bed, cook you breakfast.”

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

“I think we would love to do a second series. It just depends on whether it works, whether it is liked and whether we can do it.

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

‘How bad could it be?’

Alan added, “I think it’s a great phone for January. I mean, we’ll probably all be hanging from New Year’s Eve and just sitting there. It’s visual Berocca.”

Friends first dreamed up the show while they were filming an episode of the ITV Family Tree documentary DNA Journeys, having earlier read about the Sicily One Euro scheme.

Amanda took the initiative and bought two properties nearby after seeing a simple black and white photo on the Internet.

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

Alan said: We said: How bad is it? If it’s worth less than a euro by the time we’ve finished the project, something has gone wrong.

Then we arrived and it was where the squatters were. There was human feces all over the walls.

“The mattress, the clothes, the smell… There were rats, hundreds of flies,” Amanda added.

Then, after extensive work on clearing the buildings, some serious structural issues came to light.

The seismic reinforcing mesh used in Italian buildings to provide extra support during earthquakes is starting to rust.

Amanda said: “I started demolishing the house because it was eating away at the walls, and it was just awful.

“And it could literally cut through it, and the whole building could collapse.”

The house now belongs to a lucky new owner, and the duo say the project, too, has completely repaired their friendship.

Alan added: “We’re friends but before that, we used to meet every month or call every two weeks and have dinner.

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

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

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

And I stroll, no word lie, he’s dried all his clothes on a clothes horse in the back garden, he’s put on his stockings and the TV’s paused.

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  • Amanda & Alan’s Italian Job premieres January 6th at 8:30pm on BBC One.

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