Sue Perkins talks machete-wielding tribes and unexploded bombs
The star of World’s Most Dangerous Roads loves Doctor Who, cries at Casper and would delete Celebrity Big Brother from her CV
What do you wake up to?
Today. Then I make a cup of tea and walk my dogs. Late at night, I love listening to the World Service because you suddenly realise how microscopically irrelevant the UK is.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
The Cube. Don’t tell anyone.
What makes you blush?
I’m fairly impervious. I can happily eat a full spaghetti bolognese while watching Embarrassing Bodies, invasive surgery, animals giving birth, exploding uteruses…
What makes you reach for the hankies?
I’m ashamed to say: the 90s kids’ film about a friendly ghost, Casper. I watched it with a friend one Christmas and we were on all fours, sobbing. I nearly threw up I was crying so much.
What makes you shake your fist at the TV?
The endless proliferation of sub-category attic shows. I love Antiques Roadshow but it’s as if they’ve photocopied it a billion times and it’s so pale you can’t really recognise it.
What film can you watch again and again?
Together, a life-affirming Swedish film directed by Lukas Moodysson. It’s about sexual politics, football, communism, communes, relationships - but lightly, brilliantly done. It’s also pant-wettingly funny and the only film that can make total sense of Abba.
Who was your first crush?
Buck Rogers as played by Gil Gerard - and even more embarrassingly - I quite fancied Jan-Michael Vincent, the guy from Airwolf for a while. There’s no accounting for taste when you’re pre-pubescent.
Any other childhood favourites?
Doctor Who. I’d scream and scream in terror at the brain of Morbius and Davros and all the other baddies, but I was compelled.
What to do you tune into while you’re driving?
I’m not Jeremy Clarkson so I don’t have a driving CD. I put the radio on and move through all the gears. I remember one trip to Cornwall, I went from listening to Rob da Bank on Radio 1 to Robin Lustig on the World Service. I’m not snobby.
You described the first series of World’s Most Dangerous Roads as a "near-death experience". So why did you get back behind the wheel for series two?
The world is rapidly becoming the same everywhere you go – the same hallmarks, the same big brands – so I felt jaw-droppingly privileged to be somewhere genuinely unspoilt…
It was pretty interesting! Liza Tarbuck and I were the first women to self-drive the Ho Chi Minh Trail in that part of Laos. We met machete-carrying tribes who had never seen a Western woman or a car, and we knew that if we drove a metre off-road we could detonate because those mountains and jungles are littered with unexploded bombs dropped during the Vietnam War.
What would you delete from your CV?
Celebrity Big Brother. I look back and think: “God, I must have been at a low ebb to have ever agreed to do that.” But seen through the telescope of history, it was just a tiny thing and I’ve done so many interesting things since. So I can chew it up and be philosophical about it, I hope.
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1. Jamie Oliver or Nigel Slater?
2. TOWIE or Made in Chelsea?
I'd rather dip my head into a sheep's intestines than watch either.
3. Graham Norton or Alan Carr?
4. Jeremy Kyle or Clarkson?
Jeremy Clarkson. I think with him you get a slightly better class of misogyny.