Sue Perkins

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This article is about the English comedian. For Miss America 1978, see Susan Perkins.
Sue Perkins
Birth name Susan Elizabeth Perkins
Born (1969-09-22) 22 September 1969 (age 46)
East Dulwich, London, England
Nationality British
Genres Comedy
Partner(s) Anna Richardson (2014–present)
Notable works and roles The Supersizers Go...
The Supersizers Eat...
The Great British Bake Off
Mel and Sue

Susan Elizabeth "Sue" Perkins (born 22 September 1969) is an English comedian, broadcaster, actress and writer, born in East Dulwich, London. 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 TV presenter, notably of The Great British Bake Off.

Perkins was ranked sixth in The Independent on Sunday‍ '​s 2014 Rainbow List and has been in the list every year since 2008.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Perkins was born on 22 September 1969 in south London, where she grew up with her two younger siblings and parents. Her father worked for a local car dealer and her mother was employed as a secretary.[2] She was educated at Croham Hurst School, a nearby independent school for girls in Surrey, at the same time as the former BBC Breakfast News presenter Susanna Reid.[3] She later studied English at New Hall (now Murray Edwards College) at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 1990. While at Cambridge, she was a member of the Footlights, where she met Mel Giedroyc.[4] She was Footlights president during the academic year 1991/92.[5]

Mel and Sue[edit]

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.[6][7] In August 2015, it was announced that Mel and Sue had been cancelled by ITV.[8]


In 2002, Perkins appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in aid of four charities, Centrepoint, National Missing Persons Helpline, Rethink and Samaritans. During the series, she had some notable moments, some of which were with series winner Mark Owen from Take That, others being with TV presenter Les Dennis. Perkins was evicted from the house on Day 9.[9]

She provided the voice for Messenger Bird in Dinotopia, produced for Hallmark Entertainment.[10]

In 2003, Perkins joined Channel 4 morning television programme RI:SE.[11] In the same year, Perkins also provided additional written material for BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.

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".[citation needed] She has made notable 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 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.[12] During the series, Perkins conducted three pieces, two of them with soprano soloist Lesley Garrett.[13] Perkins won the series.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16]

In March 2010, Perkins appeared in a three part mini-series on BBC Two, A Band for Britain, in which she attempted to revive the fortunes of the Dinnington Colliery Band.[17][18]

In 2010, Perkins and Coren presented Giles and Sue Live the Good Life, a celebration of the 1970s BBC series The Good Life, where they were challenged to live a self-sufficient lifestyle.[19]

Later that year, Perkins was joined by Mel Giedroyc to present The Great British Bake Off.[20] The series is a cookery competition with each episode looking at a different aspect of baking. It has been repeatedly re-commissioned and is now in its sixth season.

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.[21]

On 30 December 2011, she presented and performed Mrs Dickens's Family Christmas, a sixty-minute documentary for BBC Two, which examined the marriage of Charles Dickens through the eyes of his wife, Catherine.

Periodically, she has presented The Culture Show,[22] 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 BBC travel adventure show World's Most Dangerous Roads: Alaska. She and Charley Boorman, her companion for the trip, drove the Dalton Highway.[23] 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.[24] 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, while another series, Himalaya with Sue Perkins, will follow later in the year on BBC Two.

On 26 February 2013, the first episode of Perkins's self-penned sitcom, Heading Out was broadcast.[25] Produced by Red Production Company and Square Peg TV, Perkins also portrayed the show's lead, Sara.[26]

From 4 August 2014, she presented Cooks' Questions on More4.[27]

Perkins was a team captain on the second and third series of What the Dickens?, hosted by Sandi Toksvig on Sky Arts.


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.[28] [29]

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,[30] and also conducted them together with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band at Sheffield City Hall.[31]

Perkins again conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra at the first comedy Prom at the Royal Albert Hall during 2011 Prom season.[32]


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 panelist 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 panelist except Paul Merton who appeared in all 10) and won on all four occasions.[33]

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 panelist 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 panelists include Robin Ince, Lucy Porter and Will Smith. Perkins is a regular cast member of Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show.

Perkins presented a Radio 4 documentary on the Lake District's competition the "World's Biggest Liar", which she won.[34]

In December 2008, she was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.[35]

Perkins is 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.


Perkins was a judge for the 2009 Man Booker Prize.[36] Perkins's memoir, Spectacles, was published in October 2015.[37]

Edinburgh Festival appearances[edit]

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.

Personal life[edit]

In August 2012, Perkins appeared on Tatler's list of high-profile lesbians in London.[38][39] 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!.[40] She had a relationship with Emma Kennedy for five years.[41] Perkins also had a four-year relationship with artist Kate Williams, until early 2012.[42] In December 2014, Perkins confirmed that she was in a relationship with presenter Anna Richardson.[43] She has said that “being a lesbian is only about the 47th most interesting thing about me”.[2]

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".[2] She temporarily quit the social media site, but returned in August 2015.

In September 2015, Perkins revealed that she had been living with a benign brain tumour for the past eight years, and as a result cannot have children.[44][45]

Perkins lives in London and Cornwall,[46] with her beagle, Parker. Her other beagle, Pickle, died in January 2014. Perkins wrote her a letter, published in her book Spectacles. [47]


Year Title Role Notes
1997–1998 Light Lunch Co-presenter With Mel Giedroyc
1998 Late Lunch Co-presenter With Mel Giedroyc
2002 Celebrity Big Brother Housemate
2002–2003 RI:SE Presenter
2006 Celebrity MasterChef Contestant Series 1
2007 Edwardian Supersize Me Co-presenter One-off programme; with Giles Coren
2008 The Superziers Go... Co-presenter With Giles Coren
2008 ...And Proud Narrator
2008 The Supersizers Eat... Co-presenter With Giles Coren
2009 What the Dickens Team captain Series 2–3
2011 All Roads Lead Home Presenter
2011 Don't Scare the Hare Narrator
2013 Heading Out Sara Also created and wrote the series
2014 Cooks' Questions Presenter More4 cookery series
2014 The Mekong River with Sue Perkins Presenter BBC Two documentary series
2015 Mel & Sue Co-presenter With Mel Giedroyc
2015 Sue Perkins' Big Night Out Presenter One-off BBC Two programme
2015 Kolkata with Sue Perkins Presenter BBC Two documentary series
2015 Can't Touch This Commentator Upcoming BBC game show


  1. ^ "Rainbow List 2014, 1 to 101". The Independent on Sunday (London). 9 November 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Anthony, Andrew (19 April 2015). "The Observer Profile: Sue Perkins – Bake Off host under fire". The Observer. p. 34. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  3. ^ BBC Breakfast interview with Sue Perkins on 25 July 2005[dead link]
  4. ^ "How We Met: Mel Giedroyc And Sue Perkins". The Independent (London). 10 January 1999. 
  5. ^ "Footlight alumni 1990-1999". 
  6. ^ "Great British Bake Off stars clinch ITV chat show". the Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Mel & Sue's daytime chatshow has been dropped by ITV - TV News - Digital Spy
  9. ^ "Sue gets Big Brother shove". BBC. 28 November 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Full cast and crew for "Dinotopia"". Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Deans, Jason (16 January 2003). "Mel and Sue join RI:SE". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Profile: Sue Perkins". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Sue Perkins takes Hyde Park by Storm". 13 September 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Congratulations to Sue Perkins!". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "Press Office - BBC Two Spring/Summer 2009: Programmes O-S". BBC. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  16. ^ "Huw Wheldon Lecture 2009: Wit's End? British Comedy at the Crossroads". BBC. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  17. ^ "A Band for Britain: Episode guide". Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  18. ^ West, Naomi (5 March 2010). "Sue Perkins on a Band for Britain". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "Giles and Sue Live The Good Life". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  20. ^ "Judges and Presenters". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "All Roads Lead Home". BBC. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  22. ^ "Sue Perkins The Culture Show". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  23. ^ "BBC World's Most Dangerous Roads series 1". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  24. ^ "BBC World's Most Dangerous Roads series 2". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  25. ^ "Heading Out New six-part comedy for BBC Two penned by Sue Perkins". BBC. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  26. ^ "Sue Perkins to star in self-penned sitcom for BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  27. ^ Lazarus, Susanna (4 August 2014). "Sue Perkins on Cooks' Questions: "I've got none of David Dimbleby's sense of cool"". Radio Times (Immediate Media). Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  28. ^ "LIVE MUSIC: Sue Perkins and the Gay & Lesbian Symphony Orchestra". Diva. Retrieved 1 October 2010. [dead link]
  29. ^ "The Year’s Last, Loveliest Smile". Livin' La Vida London. 12 October 2009. [dead link]
  30. ^ "engage Super League website". Retrieved 30 September 2010. [dead link]
  31. ^ Williams, Andrew (22 March 2010). "A Band For Britain doesn't hit the right notes". Metro. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  32. ^ "BBC Proms: Tim Minchin, Kit and the Widow, Beardyman, BBC Concert Orchestra". 14 August 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  33. ^ "Just a Minute! Television Season 4". Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  34. ^ Comedienne crowned biggest liar, BBC News Online, Cumbria, 17 November 2006. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  35. ^ BBC Radio 3
  36. ^ "Man Booker 2009 judges". [dead link]
  37. ^ Sue Perkins (8 October 2015). Spectacles. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-1-4059-1857-2. 
  38. ^ "Tatler Film: Behind the scenes of our lesbian shoot". Tatler. Condé Nast. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2015. We're out-and-out proud to present seven of London's smartest and loveliest lesbians in our August issue! 
  39. ^ Edmondson, Nicholas (4 July 2012). "Tatler Backs Seven High-Profile Lesbians with Special Issue". International Business Times. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  40. ^ White, Jenny (7 November 2003). "Thank you, reality TV". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 31 December 2007. 
  41. ^ Kay, Richard (30 May 2013). "How Bake Off star Sue's love crumbled...". Daily Mail (London). 
  42. ^ Kay, Richard (5 January 2012). "Supersizer TV presenter Sue Perkins is on her own after splitting from long-term partner". Daily Mail (London). 
  43. ^ Carpenter, Louise (13 December 2014). "When Anna met Sue". The Times. (subscription required (help)). 
  44. ^ Quinn, Ben (2 September 2015). "Sue Perkins, star of Great British Bake Off, tells of eight-year brain tumour". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  45. ^ Fallon, Bernadette (2 September 2015). "Sue Perkins: living with a brain tumour". Good Housekeeping (UK edition). London. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  46. ^ "The Tatler List - 153". Tatler. 
  47. ^ "The Huffington Post UK - Sue Perkins' Open Letter To Her Dog, Pickle, Is Guaranteed To Have You In Tears". The Huffington Post UK. 

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Henry Naylor
Footlights President
Succeeded by
Dan Gaster