Beloved by fans for her work on The Great British Bake Off and one half of the dynamic TV duo Mel and Sue, south London comedian Sue Perkins is heading to Kingston on her latest tour, Live! In Spectacles.

Sue gave us the low-down on what audiences can expect…

What prompted you to hit the road with your new tour, Live! in Spectacles?

It’s a good time to look back on my life so far. I fully intend to live to the age of 92, so this is half-time. Essentially this tour is handing out the orange segments.

Tell us more.

Writing a memoir begins a process that doesn’t necessarily end with publication. You begin to think about family life and stories and relationships, and those are ongoing.

Once the book was published, I thought, “There is so much more still to say without necessarily writing another book. Why not animate the book with a live tour?”

It’s like a companion volume, I guess. A big, technicolour puke of thoughts. Perhaps I should put that on the poster…

What do you particularly like about interacting with the audience?

It enriches me. Performing live challenges you to be more engaged. And the great thing is, each venue is completely different.

What I have done lately has been TV-based, so I haven’t had the same feedback as I get live, and that’s what I love.

I adore the raw surprise someone of asking a question you would never have expected. I love the spontaneity of it.

I don’t encourage hecklers, but sometimes a heckler is the funniest person in the room - why not embrace that? The audience is a big pool of fun you can swim around in. But remember - no petting.

You will be giving each ticket-holder a copy of your book, Spectacles.  What’s the thinking behind that?

It gives me the opportunity to meet the whole audience one by one afterwards during the signings.

A gig is a two-way street. It’s not about me broadcasting. It’s not, “This is what I’ve got to say about this.”

It’s as much about how people respond to the material.

My memoir is a story of family and childhood, and everyone has had one of those.

Mine is not the definitive version of childhood, but it’s a great way to start a conversation.

I love it when someone says, “It’s weird. I lived next to an electricity substation for 20 years as well.”

Or, “We had a cat that dragged our turkey across the room at Christmas and we had to eat boiled eggs for our lunch instead.”

The book is a recorded history of my life so far, but the tour brings extra stuff to it. The audience adds so much on top of that. It’s important to have that double act thing going on with them.

So what subjects will you be covering in the show?

Births, deaths, lemon drizzle and getting fondled by a Cambodian hermit. 

I’ll talk a lot about the catastrophising that went on in my family.

There was always a sense that something awful, that imminent doom, was around the corner. It came from my mum – she’s a worrier. Everything was a potential trip to A & E!

I believe you will also be showing some slides…

Yes, there will be lots of slides. There is only one picture of me in the book and I have this horrific haircut in it. People say, “Surely that was just one bad haircut day.” But I’m afraid I have 150 slides of myself at different ages, all with the same haircut! My mum had someone round to cut my hair who, it transpired, had only done dog grooming before. So I had a low Dougal-style fringe that was perfectly straight. It swayed like a trimmed, bearded collie! A bowl for all seasons.  Perhaps that should be the title of the second volume…

Sue Perkins plays The Rose Theatre, Kingston, on Monday, September 5. Go to

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