After the success of Amanda and Alan’s Italian venture, Alan Carr and Amanda Holden are once again donning their boiler suits. This time, they’ve secured another ‘One Euro’ house, situated amidst the sun-kissed hills of Tuscany.
Produced by Voltage TV for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, the series will push the duo’s DIY and design skills to their limits. Collaborating with a team of local tradespeople, they’ll be renovating a dilapidated historic home, complete with a medieval tower desperately in need of tender loving care.
As Alan and Amanda immerse themselves in local life, delving into the rich culture, they embark on a new adventure in one of Italy’s most idyllic regions. The camaraderie and humour of their friendship take center stage once again as they navigate inevitable construction challenges and design dilemmas, all in an effort to breathe new life into an undiscovered corner of Italy.
The inaugural series resonated well with audiences, drawing an average of 3.9 million viewers across eight episodes, with 1.3 million tuning in via iPlayer and a peak of 4.6 million for the most-watched episode.
Catch Amanda & Alan’s Italian Job on BBC One and BBC iPlayer starting January 5th at 8:30 pm.
Q&A with Amanda Holden & Alan Carr
How did you feel about the huge success of the first series?
Amanda: Well, it was a relief because I think for Alan and me, aside from the fact that we came up with the idea, we had interest in it, it felt like a reality show in a lot of ways. People think they know you, but they don’t really know you. I think when you’re under stress, you’re bashing walls down and really being your absolute authentic self, it’s more worrying because you are totally exposed. Then if people don’t like you, that would be upsetting.
Alan: Also, we didn’t really know what we were making. It was very intense. We were there for months. I mean, one day, it felt like it was Wish You Were Here?, then it felt like Grand Designs, then it was like Love Island! I had a camera on me all the time. I might have had a few Aperol Spritz, and then the camera’s coming in for the close-up in the morning if you’re a bit hungover or you’ve had an emotional night, you know? I’ve never been so scrutinised. So there was a lot, it’s just layer upon layer. People know who I am, but they never, and I think Amanda feels the same, see this side of us. We argued. We bickered.
Amanda: And we made mistakes, and I think lots of telly now is not about that. On social media and everything else, it’s about everyone having a perfect life. You see all these makeover shows and everything looks fantastic. And then there’s me and Alan, who have got a passion for it and have done bits and bobs, but suddenly we’re on telly, tiling and bashing walls down and making lampshades, and messing a lot of it up! It was just so lovely how everyone embraced it all and accepted us and enjoyed it. And we both said, out of everything we’ve done in our careers, we’ve never had such a huge reaction on the streets as this show. It’s been amazing.
What sort of things have you been saying about the first series?
Alan: Filming this series, we were in the airport at Pisa, and a couple came over, it was two girls, they said, “We’ve bought a house for a Euro as well. You inspired us!” Then you get sarcastic taxi drivers who’re like, “Here’s a tenner, get me ten houses!”
Amanda: But the feedback has been amazing, people just loved it, which we’re so proud of.
What is the secret to your friendship?
Amanda: For Alan, tolerance! I think we both don’t take ourselves seriously, we’re not precious as human beings. We are quite easygoing. I mean, the amount of times this series where Alan’s had to put an umbrella up so I could have a wee in the bushes and he’s shielding me. We looked at each other and went, “Who else do we know would take all this in their stride?”
Alan: I know. It was a particular low point in that car park, holding up an umbrella, then hearing tinkle, tinkle, tinkle behind the bush! That’s a good friend! I feel with me and Amanda could go to Glastonbury now or go up a mountain. We can do anything together, because it is mad. We found ourselves in really odd situations, because it is quite full on, but I feel we are honest with each other. I don’t think you can fake that. I mean, some of those car journeys, the camera was on us for three hours and we are just talking, talking, talking.
Amanda: And forgetting there are cameras, which is gold for them. Less for us!
Alan: I know because we are the worst gossips going on!
What was it like going to Tuscany this time?
Alan: We were like, “do we wanna go to Italy again?” But Sicily is so different to Tuscany, it feels new.
Amanda: Tuscany is completely different. I mean, the Sicilian location last year felt sort of, in a lot of ways, a lot more glamorous than this. This one was more tranquil and secluded, it was literally in the middle of nowhere in a sort of crevice of a mountain. It’s very green, a bit more moist weather, let’s say that, and it was a medieval house, which was so much bigger a project than we ever thought it would be.
Does this project feel different to the first series?
Amanda: We had so many things go wrong and so much to handle. It was quite overwhelming at times, so it feels completely different to the first series. We found loads of different things to do whilst still experiencing Italy, and we still managed to down a couple of Aperols during it. So we’ve still got everything going for it. But I think Alan would agree, because we have some reference in this one to the person that previously lived there. It’s a little bit more of an emotional journey.
How did you actually pick the house this time?
Alan: It’s good because last year Amanda chose the house, and then the production company said, “Right. You choose the house this time, Alan”. They gave me a Euro, they said, “Go and get on Right Move and put in Tuscany”. So I’ve done that. I’ve done my classic, romantic, “Oh my god. I love this old house.” But, of course, as anyone knows who has an old house, the older it is, the more problems, and this house has been standing for several hundred years so it was like an onion. We were peeling back problems that had been bodged up over the centuries. You know what I mean? Like I see what they did in 1782, they’ve put this rubbish bit of wood up. We were just finding more mistakes. But what people will love with this one is, last year we just had to deal with squatters who put poo up the walls and smashed up the toilet, and it was all a mess. This one was like going into the Mary Celeste. There were photos in there, passports. It was like they had just been whisked away by aliens. So we had a real emotional tug. We wanted to do something right for the show. But also we wanted to make it nice for that community and for the people who knew the people that lived there. It had to be special.
Amanda: There’s a lot of history and everybody knew the people that once lived in that home. It’s only a small place, no more than 50 people living there, they are a proper little village. It feels a lot more sentimental, and the last episode makes you quite tearful in a lot of ways.
What were your first impressions when you saw it?
Amanda: It’s a big project. It was like, “Oh, Alan! It’s massive”, which is not the first time someone said that to Alan, I’m sure! But it was like, “Oh my god!” There’s a tower and then the whole history behind the entire building that we learned. It just felt a bit overwhelming and amazing because it’s so different to last year. I love all the historical elements of it, but also, how the hell are we going to do this across a few months? You have to have proper people making sure the building doesn’t fall down! And the back of the house is made out of a bloody mountain. It’s like solid rock, it’s so hard!
Was it haunted?
Amanda: There was a presence. We felt a presence, but it wasn’t ominous, it felt like a friendly energy. But things did start happening, the lights went on and off a lot.
Alan: A few things flew around. That’s all we’re gonna say! You know when I said it was a mix of Wish You Were Here? and Grand Designs? Well add in Most Haunted!
Amanda: I think the previous owner was loving it! I think she especially loved one room, which was obviously mine! That was where all the activity was.
Alan: It was an emotional house. I could see why it was haunted, there was an energy in there. It had a heart to it, a spirit, it wasn’t negative. It felt like there was a lot of love there, if that makes sense? I felt she was there.
Amanda: She was, it was a good, supportive energy that we felt.
What would you say was the dirtiest or worst job that you had to do this series?
Amanda: Pulling the flipping ceilings down. It was just cobweb balloons everywhere falling down on us. First of all we thought they were bats, and then we were like, “Oh my god, we can’t do any more work if it is bats because they’re protected”.
Alan: And then we found out it was rats, so yay!
Amanda: And it was just thousands of years of toenails and skin dust. It was just horrible, all landing on our heads and down our backs. And for me, that was the worst bit.
Alan: The gravel for the garden was just awful. It was such a heavy job laying gravel for the patio. We had to rake all this gravel and the rake wasn’t doing its thing, so Amanda was on all fours, you know like when a cat covers up its own poo? She was doing that, scraping it back. And do you know what? You were better than a rake, Amanda, and you can take that as a compliment!
Amanda: Thanks, Alan. I’ll put it on my CV under special skills!
What do you think each other’s strengths are when it comes to renovating?
Alan: Amanda wants the job done. She’s relentless. When the cameras stopped rolling, she would carry on because she just wants it done, and she wants it done a certain way. I, however, don’t have that work ethic! She just wants things done, and she wants it done right. I think that is your strength, isn’t it? You want it to be perfect. And I mean, I know people get cynical with TV, but when we ordered the paper, when we ordered the duvet, when we ordered the paints, there was real jeopardy for both of us. We both wanted each other’s rooms to be lovely. When we unrolled that wallpaper, our hearts are in our mouth, because we have a budget, we can’t mess it up. It’s not bottomless. We don’t take it for granted.
Amanda: We don’t take it lightly, and it is like we’re doing it for ourselves. And we do care about it. The saddest thing for us is to shut the door and say goodbye to it. You just go, “Oh my god, there’s another beautiful house.” It’s brilliant that someone’s going to buy it and it’s all for charity. But there’s a piece of us left in Sicily, and there’s now a piece of us left in Tuscany. And I would say that Alan’s is also tenacious. And he also wants to get things done right, he’s got a lot of integrity. He’s got a lot of patience, especially with me, there has to be give and take, but he’s more of a giver!