Amanda Jane Cadewell was born on 20 January 1950 in Louth, Lincolnshire, daughter of Alice and John Cadewell. She has two brothers: Andrew (b. 1948) and James (b. 1954). The family lived in a cottage in the tiny village of South Elkington, where John worked as a shepherd. Amanda was the first member of her family to pass the eleven plus. In 1961, she started at Louth Girls’ Grammar School, which merged with King Edward VI school in 1965. After passing her A-levels (another family first), she moved to London to study acting at Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating in 1971.
Amanda’s first acting job was with the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic, where she quickly moved up from spear carrier to more prominent roles. In 1974, she left the Old Vic to play Ophelia in a touring production of Hamlet, which finished with a short but talked-about run in London.
Hamlet was followed by several months of “resting” while Amanda turned down theatre roles in the hope of getting a TV series. She was also photographed by Patrick Lichfield for the “Bright Young Things 1975” calendar (fully clothed, she always hastens to add). When Brian Prunting saw the picture, he immediately offered Amanda her first TV role, starring as Sarah in Time Girls. She worked hard on Time Girls from the start of production in September 1975 to the end of post-production in August 1976, providing a voice-over during sound editing of “Terror From The Deep”. The relative unpopularity of Time Girls did not do her career any harm, and in late 1976 she was in Yorkshire, shooting a few episodes of Emmerdale Farm. Whenever this job is mentioned, she inevitably points out that a certain cast member “always had me in stitches”.
Amanda married Graham Stevens in early 1977 and they had two children: Victoria (b. 1977) and James (b. 1979). The family moved to Surrey, and Amanda took a long career break to look after the children, rarely working until 1984. In the 80s, she was a member of the SDP, and one of many celebrity supporters of the Alliance.
When Time Girls was revived, Amanda returned to play Sarah, carrying the new series through Katy Froade’s erratic behaviour and summary dismissal. It was Amanda who promoted the relaunch by doing the light entertainment rounds, including appearances on Blankety Blank, The Little and Large Show, and Saturday Superstore.
Time Girls was Amanda’s last leading role on TV but she has since made many guest appearances in soaps, sitcoms and middlebrow dramas, including Inspector Morse, Casualty, Lovejoy, Peak Practice, The Bill, Heartbeat, Dear John, Waterfront Beat, Trainer, and various Catherine Cookson adaptations. She can usually be seen in a theatre during the panto season. She now lives in Lincolnshire with her husband and two horses.