Perkins in 2008
Susan Elizabeth Perkins
22 September 1969
Susan Elizabeth Perkins (born 22 September 1969) is an English comedian, broadcaster, actress, and writer. Originally coming to prominence through her comedy partnership with Mel Giedroyc in Mel and Sue, she has since become best known as a radio broadcaster and television presenter, notably of The Great British Bake Off (2010–2016) and Insert Name Here (2016–present). She was ranked sixth in The Independent on Sunday's 2014 Rainbow List.
Early life and education
Perkins was born on 22 September 1969 in south London, where she grew up in Croydon with her two younger siblings and parents. Her father worked for a local car dealer and her mother was employed as a secretary. She was educated at Croham Hurst School, a nearby independent school for girls in South Croydon, Greater London, at the same time as television presenter Susanna Reid.
She later studied English at New Hall (now Murray Edwards College) at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 1991. While at Cambridge, she was a member of the Footlights, where she met Mel Giedroyc. She was Footlights president during the academic year 1990–91.
Mel and Sue
Perkins and creative partner Mel Giedroyc took their first steps into television under the name Mel and Sue. The duo began to gain success and were short-listed for the Daily Express Best Newcomers award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1993.
After a few years writing for French & Saunders (and occasionally appearing on their BBC series), they co-hosted a lunchtime show on Channel 4 entitled Light Lunch, and an early evening version, Late Lunch, which ran from March 1997 to February 1998.
In January 2015, Giedroyc and Perkins began hosting their own daytime chat show on ITV called Mel and Sue. In August 2015, it was announced that Mel and Sue had been cancelled by ITV. On 23 July 2017, it was confirmed that they would host a new version of The Generation Game for BBC One.
In 2002, Perkins appeared on the second UK series of Celebrity Big Brother in aid of four charities, Centrepoint, National Missing Persons Helpline, Rethink and Samaritans. During the series, she interacted with series winner Mark Owen from Take That, and TV presenter Les Dennis. Perkins was evicted from the house on Day 9.
Perkins has appeared on several BBC shows including Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, QI, Room 101, Celebrity Weakest Link, Question Time and Newsnight. Perkins has commented that the BBC pay her a regular wage for "blabbering on random shows". She has made appearances as a field reporter for Armando Iannucci vehicle The Saturday Night Armistice.
Perkins hosted the second series of Good Evening, Rockall, a short-lived, news-orientated panel game shown on BBC Choice. In 2006, she appeared in BBC Four's vocabulary quiz show Never Mind the Full Stops. She was also a team captain on ITV's Win, Lose or Draw Late. During the same decade she made appearances on Celebrity MasterChef, Celebrity Poker and News Knight with Sir Trevor McDonald.
In April 2007, she participated in the television series, Edwardian Supersize Me for the BBC. She was joined by food critic Giles Coren. The series focused on spending a week eating the equivalent of a wealthy Edwardian couple's food, whilst wearing period clothing.
Following the series, Perkins and Coren were commissioned to present a new series called, The Supersizers Go.... The premise of "Edwardian Supersize Me" was replicated and focused on other periods throughout history.
In the first episode, they survived for a week on Second World War rations. It was re-commissioned for a second episode, Perkins and Coren covered the English Restoration period. The third episode covered the Victorian period, the fourth the 1970s, the fifth the Elizabethan period and the sixth the Regency period.
In August and September 2008, Perkins appeared in the reality television series Maestro on BBC Two. During the series, a group of eight celebrities attempted (until eliminated) to learn to conduct orchestral, choral and operatic music. During the series, Perkins conducted three pieces, two of them with soprano soloist Lesley Garrett. Perkins won the series. In 2008, Perkins narrated the series ....And Proud on Virgin 1.
Perkins appeared in a second "Supersizers" series called The Supersizers Eat... with Giles Coren which aired on BBC Two in June and July 2009. In September and October 2009 she hosted the Channel 4 panel game The Big Food Fight.
She then gave a televised lecture for the Royal Television Society. Entitled "Wit's End? British Comedy at the Crossroads", the lecture focused on the state of British comedy. The presentation was broadcast on BBC Two.
Later that year, Perkins was joined by Mel Giedroyc to present The Great British Bake Off. The series is a cookery competition with each episode looking at a different aspect of baking which they co-hosted for seven seasons. In September 2016, Love Productions announced that a three-year deal had been agreed to broadcast the show on Channel 4 instead of the BBC from 2017. Perkins and Giedroyc announced that they would not be continuing with Bake Off on its new network. Mary Berry announced she was also leaving Bake Off on the same day that fellow-judge Paul Hollywood separately announced he would be staying with the show.
Perkins narrated the 2011 game show Don't Scare the Hare. In October 2011, she presented a series on BBC Two called All Roads Lead Home. It featured Perkins learning how to use nature as a navigation tool. She was joined on the series by Alison Steadman and Stephen Mangan.
On 30 December 2011, she presented and performed Mrs Dickens's Family Christmas, a sixty-minute documentary for BBC Two that examined the marriage of Charles Dickens through the eyes of his wife, Catherine.
Periodically, she has presented The Culture Show, including its broadcast from the Edinburgh Festival in August 2012. During that broadcast she interviewed Nile Rodgers, a member of the American disco pop music group Chic.
In 2011, Perkins featured in the BBC travel adventure show World's Most Dangerous Roads: Alaska. She and Charley Boorman, her companion for the trip, drove the Dalton Highway. She then appeared with Liza Tarbuck in Series 2 Episode 2 of World's Most Dangerous Roads: Ho Chi Minh Trail, shown in 2012, driving in Vietnam and Laos. In November 2014 she returned to South-East Asia, travelling from the Mekong delta up to Tibet in The Mekong River with Sue Perkins, produced by Indus Films for the BBC. In September 2015, she presented a one-off show Kolkata with Sue Perkins on BBC One.
On 26 February 2013, the first episode of Perkins's self-penned sitcom, Heading Out was broadcast. Produced by Red Production Company and Square Peg TV, Perkins also portrayed the show's lead, Sara.
In 2016, she began hosting the BBC Two panel show Insert Name Here and commentated on the BBC game show Can't Touch This. She co-presented The Big Spell, a weekly game show for Sky1 alongside Joe Lycett and Moira Stuart.
Following her success in Maestro, Perkins guest-conducted the London Lesbian/Gay Symphony Orchestra on 11 October 2009, at St Anne's Church Garden in Soho. She conducted two pieces, the Simpsons Theme by Danny Elfman, and the William Tell Overture by Rossini, the latter for the first time.
As part of A Band for Britain, Perkins conducted the Dinnington Colliery Band at the DW Stadium playing the National Anthem for a Four Nations rugby match, and also conducted them together with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band at Sheffield City Hall.
Perkins is a panel member on Radio 4's The News Quiz and has made regular appearances on Radio 2's It's Been a Bad Week. She is also a frequent panellist on another popular Radio 4 show, Just a Minute: in the 2012 television version, she appeared in four out of the 10 episodes (more than any other panellist except Paul Merton who appeared in all 10) and won on all four occasions.
She was the chairman of Radio 4's The 99p Challenge until the show finished in 2004. Perkins appeared every day in the last half hour of Mark Radcliffe's afternoon radio show on Radio 2, when he sat in for Steve Wright.
Since 2006, Perkins has been a panellist on a Radio 4 show, The Personality Test, a quiz show about the host, presented by a different host each week. Past hosts include Gyles Brandreth and Rick Wakeman, and other panellists include Robin Ince, Lucy Porter and Will Smith. Perkins is a regular cast member of Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show.
Perkins was also chairman of the Radio 4 panel game Dilemma, in which four humorous guests discussed moral conundrums she provided for them. The first series ran for six episodes on Sunday evenings from 13 November to 18 December 2011. Another series of this programme ran in February 2013.
On 9 July 2017 Perkins was the guest celebrity on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.
Perkins was a judge for the 2009 Man Booker Prize. Perkins's memoir, Spectacles, was published in October 2015. In October 2018, she released an autobiographical travel book East of Croydon: Blunderings Through India and South East Asia, which was shortlisted in the ‘Autobiography of the Year’ category at the 2018 National Book Awards.
Edinburgh Festival appearances
Perkins has performed two stand-up comedy solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Spectacle Wearer Of The Year 2006 in 2005, and The Disappointing Second Show in 2006.
In August 2012, Perkins appeared on Tatler's list of high-profile lesbians in London. She was outed as a lesbian in 2002 by her ex-girlfriend Rhona Cameron during Cameron's appearance on ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! She has said that “being a lesbian is only about the 47th most interesting thing about me”.
In April 2015, Perkins was the victim of cyberbullying on Twitter after bookmakers made her the favourite to fill the vacancy on the BBC's Top Gear programme left by the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, despite Perkins saying that rumours about her imminent appointment to the show were "fabricated". She temporarily quit the social media site, but returned in August 2015.
In September 2015, Perkins revealed that she was diagnosed with prolactinoma, which is a benign growth on her pituitary gland. Perkins received the diagnosis eight years previously. The side effects prevent her from having children.
|1997–1998||Light Lunch||Co-presenter||4 series; with Mel Giedroyc||Channel 4|
|1998||Late Lunch||With Mel Giedroyc||Co-presenter|
|2002||Celebrity Big Brother||Housemate||Series 2|
|2006||Celebrity MasterChef||Contestant||Series 1||BBC One|
|2007||Edwardian Supersize Me||Co-presenter||One-off programme; with Giles Coren||BBC Two|
|2008||The Supersizers Go...||Co-presenter||1 series; with Giles Coren|
|....And Proud||Narrator||1 series||Virgin 1|
|The Supersizers Eat...||Co-presenter||1 series; with Giles Coren||BBC Two|
|2009||What the Dickens||Team captain||2 series||Sky Arts|
|2010-16||Qi||Regular panellist||18 appearences||BBC Four/BBC Two/BBC One|
|2010–2016||The Great British Bake Off||Co-presenter||7 series; with Mel Giedroyc||BBC Two (2010–13)|
BBC One (2014–16)
|2011||All Roads Lead Home||Presenter||1 series||BBC Two|
|Don't Scare the Hare||Narrator||1 series||BBC One|
|2013||Heading Out||Sara||Also created and wrote the series||BBC Two|
|2014||Cooks' Questions||Presenter||1 series||More4|
|The Mekong River with Sue Perkins||Presenter||1 series||BBC Two|
|2015||Mel & Sue||Co-presenter||1 series; with Mel Giedroyc||ITV|
|Sue Perkins' Big Night Out||Presenter||One-off programme||BBC Two|
|Kolkata with Sue Perkins||Presenter||One-off programme||BBC One|
|2015—||Thronecast||Co-presenter||3 series||Sky Atlantic|
|2016—||Insert Name Here||Presenter||4 series||BBC Two|
|2016||Can't Touch This||Commentator||1 series||BBC One|
|2017||The Big Spell||Co-presenter||1 series; with Joe Lycett and Moira Stuart||Sky1|
|Let's Sing and Dance for Comic Relief||Co-presenter||1 series; with Mel Giedroyc||BBC One|
|British Academy Television Awards||Presenter|
|Land of the Giants||Narrator||Documentary||BBC One Wales|
|The Ganges with Sue Perkins||Presenter||Documentary series||BBC One|
|Mary, Mel and Sue's Big Christmas Thank You||Co-presenter||One-off special; with Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry|
|2018||Sue Perkins and the Chimp Sanctuary||Presenter||One-off documentary||BBC Two|
|2018—||The Generation Game||Co-presenter||1 upcoming series; with Mel Giedroyc||BBC One|
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We're out-and-out proud to present seven of London's smartest and loveliest lesbians in our August issue!
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