After changing her professional name to gain entry to the actors' union Equity, she came to prominence as Sue, one of the babysitters in Rita, Sue and Bob Too who are seduced by an older man. A year later she appeared as Goth Jenny in Damon and Debbie, and as Tina Fowler in Coronation Street.
She played Yvonne Sparrow in the first three series of Goodnight Sweetheart, and Maggie Coles in Firm Friends. She appeared as Marie in two seasons of Common as Muck. Holmes has appeared in Emmerdale twice: first in 1992 as Lindsay Carmichael, and in 1995 as bar manageress Britt Woods.
From July 2006 she has played Claudie Williams in The Chase, a BBC One drama. Holmes also stars as Genevieve in the ITV drama Life Begins. She was seen in the 2008 series of Shameless and the 2009 production of Lynda La Plante's new ITV crime drama Above Suspicion.