It’s under wraps how Sarah Trevanion exits Wild at Heart, but actress Amanda Holden is not so coy about why she’s leaving the ITV hit…

What’s possessed you to leave a hit series?

“…I can�t take (my daughter) Lexi away from her life at home for such long spells. She has a little social life of her own at home now. My mum and grandmother came out to see her and her daddy came out every few weeks, but he notices the change and misses her terribly. I will miss the people though. There is a really positive vibe in South Africa.”

What’s different about this series?
“The stories actually involve us much more in the community this year. I’m working in a school for a couple of episodes, which was great fun. It took me right back to when I was in The Grimleys because I was a teacher in that. I used to be quite nervous standing up in front of all those spotty kids.”

What can you tell us about Sarah this time round?
“She’s still at the helm of the whole family, holding everything together. She�s the lynchpin. The business is going well, they have expanded and redecorated, and are finally buying new curtains for their house. The guest huts are more luxurious and they are having quite a good flow of guests. Stephen and I suddenly have more of a relationship in this series which made me happy because before, although Danny and Sarah are obviously in love, we had very separate things to do. Whereas this time we are working together a lot more as a couple. It is not him being a vet and me being a housewife/mother.”

This series sees Jessie Wallace arrive… Jessie? In Africa?!

“Jessie�s character, Amy, is basically a chav in the bush, she is completely hilarious. Amy looks like a WAG and I worryingly like all her costumes. She�s got all her gold tracksuits and fake Prada bags and I quite like all that. I am really worried about myself. Initially Sarah is not at all keen on Amy, but in real life I love Jessie. She is great fun and a real asset to the show.”

Jessie’s got a young daughter as well, hasn’t she?
“Lexi and Jessie�s daughter got on really well out in South Africa and loved playing together. Lexi is a year younger than Tallulah so looks up to her and gets so excited when she sees her. It�s nice they had each other to play with.”

What do you hope for in 2009?
“I so loved doing Britain�s Got Talent. In America you can have a record, be a TV presenter, be a sportsman and an actor; you can do everything. Here you have to do either/or. I want to be the first actress that can successfully continue to act and be in the light entertainment business. I think they can go hand in hand. I love doing both. I love working with Simon and Piers. They are so naughty and such good fun. Both of them are so clever, charismatic and underrated for their genius.”