Sue Perkins

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Sue Perkins
Birth nameSusan Elizabeth Perkins
Born(1969-09-22) 22 September 1969 (age 45)
East Dulwich, London, England
Notable works and rolesMel and Sue
The Supersizers Go...
The Supersizers Eat...
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This article is about the English comedian. For Miss America 1978, see Susan Perkins.
Sue Perkins
Birth nameSusan Elizabeth Perkins
Born(1969-09-22) 22 September 1969 (age 45)
East Dulwich, London, England
Notable works and rolesMel and Sue
The Supersizers Go...
The Supersizers Eat...

Susan Elizabeth Perkins (born 22 September 1969) is an English comedian, broadcaster, actress and writer, born in East Dulwich, London, England. 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.[1]

Perkins was ranked 10th in the Independent on Sunday's 2013 Pink List and has been included in the list every year since 2008.[2][3][4][5][6]


Perkins was educated at Croham Hurst School, an independent school for girls in Croydon in South London, at the same time as the BBC Breakfast News presenter Susanna Reid.[7] She later studied English at New Hall at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 1990. While at Cambridge, she was a member of the Footlights, where she met Mel Giedroyc.[8] She was Footlights president during the academic year 1990/91.[9]

Mel and Sue[edit]

Perkins, alongside friend and creative partner Mel Giedroyc, took her 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 2002 she appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in the 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.[10]

She would also provide the voice for Messenger Bird, in Dinotopia produced for Hallmark Entertainment.[11]

In 2003 Perkins joined Channel 4 morning television programme RI:SE.[12] In the same year, Perkins also provided additional written material for BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.

She has appeared on several established BBC TV shows, including Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, QI, Room 101, Celebrity Weakest Link, Question Time and Newsnight. Perkins has also commented that the BBC pay her a regular wage for "blabbering on random shows".[citation needed] She has also made notable appearances as a 'field reporter' for Armando Iannucci vehicle The Saturday Night Armistice.

Perkins also hosted the second series of Good Evening, Rockall, a short-lived news orientated panel game shown on BBC Choice. In 2006 she also 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 basic premise of "Edwardian Supersize Me" was replicated and focused on other periods throughout history.

The first episode saw them survive 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 Seventies, the fifth the Elizabethan period and the sixth the Regency period.

In August and September 2008, Sue 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.[13] During the series, Perkins conducted three pieces, two of them with soprano soloist Lesley Garrett.[14] Perkins would go on to win the series.[15]

In 2008 Perkins narrated the series ....And Proud on Virgin 1.

Perkins also appeared in a second 'Supersizers' series called The Supersizers Eat... with Giles Coren which aired on BBC Two in June and July 2009.[16] 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.[17]

In March 2010, Perkins appeared in a three part mini-series broadcast on BBC Two A Band for Britain in which she attempted to revive the fortunes of the Dinnington Colliery Band.[18][19]

In 2010, Perkins again alongside Giles Coren, presented Giles and Sue Live the Good Life, a celebration of the 1970s BBC series The Good Life. In the programme Perkins and Coren were challenged to live a self-sufficient lifestyle.[20]

Later in the same year, Perkins was joined by Mel Giedroyc to present The Great British Bake Off.[21] 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 enjoying its fifth season.

Perkins narrated the 2011 game show Don't Scare the Hare. In October 2011 she also 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.[22]

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

Periodically she has presented The Culture Show,[23] 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. Charley Boorman was her companion for the trip and it saw them drive the Dalton Highway.[24] 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.[25]

On 26 February 2013, the first episode of Perkins's self-penned sitcom, Heading Out was broadcast.[26] Produced by Red Production Company and Square Peg TV, Perkins also portrayed the show's main lead Sara.[27]

She was a team captain in series 2 and 3 of What the Dickens?, hosted by Sandi Toksvig and broadcast 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 ever Comedy Prom at the Royal Albert Hall during 2011 Prom season.[32]


Perkins is a panel member of Radio 4's The News Quiz and has made regular appearances on BBC 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 of that series, 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.[33]

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

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 also chairs 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 has run in February 2013.


Perkins was a judge for the 2009 Man Booker Prize.[36]

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]

Perkins lives in London and Penzance, with her two dogs.[1]

In August 2012 she appeared on Tatler's list of coolest lesbians in London.[37] She was revealed to be 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!.[38] She had a relationship with Emma Kennedy for five years.[39] Perkins also had a four-year relationship with artist Kate Williams, until early 2012.[40]


  1. ^ a b "The Tatler List". Tatler. 
  2. ^ "The Independent on Sunday's Pink List 2013". The Independent on Sunday (London). 13 October 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "The IoS Pink List 2012". The Independent on Sunday (London). 4 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Herbert, Ian (23 October 2011). "The IoS Pink List 2011". The Independent on Sunday (London). Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "The IoS Pink List 2010". The Independent on Sunday (London). 1 August 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "The IoS pink list 2008". The Independent on Sunday (London). 22 June 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  7. ^ BBC Breakfast interview with Sue Perkins on 25 July 2005
  8. ^ "How We Met: Mel Giedroyc And Sue Perkins". The Independent (London). 10 January 1999. 
  9. ^ "Footlight alumni 1990-1999". 
  10. ^ "Sue gets Big Brother shove". BBC. 28 November 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Full cast and crew for "Dinotopia"". Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  12. ^ Deans, Jason (16 January 2003). "Mel and Sue join RI:SE". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Profile: Sue Perkins". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Sue Perkins takes Hyde Park by Storm". 13 September 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "Congratulations to Sue Perkins!". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  16. ^ "Press Office - BBC Two Spring/Summer 2009: Programmes O-S". BBC. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  17. ^ "Huw Wheldon Lecture 2009: Wit's End? British Comedy at the Crossroads". BBC. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  18. ^ "A Band for Britain: Episode guide". Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  19. ^ West, Naomi (5 March 2010). "Sue Perkins on a Band for Britain". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "Giles and Sue Live The Good Life". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "Judges and Presenters". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  22. ^ "All Roads Lead Home". BBC. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  23. ^ "Sue Perkins The Culture Show". BBC. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  24. ^ "BBC World's Most Dangerous Roads series 1". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  25. ^ "BBC World's Most Dangerous Roads series 2". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  26. ^ "Heading Out New six-part comedy for BBC Two penned by Sue Perkins". BBC. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "Sue Perkins to star in self-penned sitcom for BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  28. ^ "LIVE MUSIC: Sue Perkins and the Gay & Lesbian Symphony Orchestra". Diva. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  29. ^ "The Year’s Last, Loveliest Smile". Livin' La Vida London. 12 October 2009. 
  30. ^ "engage Super League website". Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  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". 
  37. ^ Tatler's coolest lesbians in London shoot
  38. ^ White, Jenny (7 November 2003). "Thank you, reality TV". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 31 December 2007. 
  39. ^ Kay, Richard (30 May 2013). "How Bake Off star Sue's love crumbled...". Daily Mail (London). 
  40. ^ Kay, Richard (5 January 2012). "Supersizer TV presenter Sue Perkins is on her own after splitting from long-term partner". Daily Mail (London). 

External links[edit]

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