Amanda Holden: I replaced a judge on Britain’s Got Talent – “I like to think it was Cheryl Cole”

And the BGT panellist reveals she said yes to working with Simon Cowell before she even knew what show it was on

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Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden says she got the gig on the ITV talent show only after another celebrity dropped out at the last minute – and that it may well have been Cheryl Cole she replaced.

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“Historically, someone dropped out. I was told it was all kinds of people,” Holden revealed to an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. “My favourite one is Cheryl Cole, I like to think it was Cheryl. Thank you Cheryl.”

Holden said Simon Cowell’s attachment to the project had convinced her to agree to it even before she knew what it was.

“My manager said, ‘This really interesting call’s come in – it’s Simon Cowell,’ and I literally went ‘Yes’. ‘You don’t know what it is?’ ‘Just yes, yes.’” 

She added that her ex-husband’s Les Dennis’s variety background had helped seal the deal.

“I was pulled in at the last minute to go and be a judge on this show – it was a bit like opportunity knocks and, of course, being married to Les all those years I was really very aware of variety and those kind of shows and passionately interested in all of that and a firm believer that variety belongs on television. And I literally got on a train and went.” 


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