We’re used to seeing Amanda Holden sandwiched between Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan on Britain’s Got Talent but her leading role in new six-part sitcom, Big Top, sees her cracking the whip for a change!

What’s your character Lizzie like?
“Lizzie’s the ringmistress and absolutely fundamental to the functioning of the circus. It just wouldn’t work without her. She’s on a massive learning curve as she’s never been part of a circus before. But she’s very bright and quick-witted so she picks things up quickly.”

How does she become the ringmistress?
“Circus Maestro is actually her father’s circus but he’s in prison for fraud and money laundering.”

Were you a fan of the circus as a child?
“The only time I went to a circus was on a family holiday in France. I drank too much Orangina and threw up so it’s not a great memory! I’ve never been keen on clowns either, I’m not afraid of them, I just don’t think they’re funny.”

Was it strange to perform in front of a studio audience?
“It was great – a bit like doing a play. We rehearse all week and then perform to an audience who either laugh or they don’t! It’s a very immediate way of working. We swear and make a lot of mistakes but the audience loves it!”

What circus skill do you wish you had?
“I’d want to be a trapeze artist because I like the sparkly costumes!”

What is it like working with so many household names?
“It’s been amazing! I love working with Ruth Madoc who played Gladys in Hi-Di-Hi. When I was a little girl I used to do Gladys impressions – and now I’m working with her, it’s great! John Thomson and Sophie Thompson play clowns who are husband and wife. John’s a natural born clown so was perfect for the role.”

Do you enjoy wearing your outfit?
“It’s absolutely stunning – black hot pants, a fitted shirt and bow with a red hunting jacket. I also have a whip, which could be handy on Britain’s Got Talent to keep the boys in line, although I think they’d both probably like it!”