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Sue Perkins wanted to do Who Do You Think You Are? after father's death

The presenter and comedian said the show helped her put together the jigsaw puzzle of her life after losing her father.

Sue Perkins on Who Do You Think You Are?
BBC/Wall To Wall Media Ltd/Stephen Perry
Published: Thursday, 26th May 2022 at 9:00 am
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Sue Perkins is the next celebrity set to take part in Who Do You Think You Are?, BBC One's fascinating ancestry programme.


The show returns for its new season tonight (26th May), with the likes of Death in Paradise's Ralf Little, Line of Duty's Anna Maxwell Martin and House of Games' Richard Osman taking part – but first up is the former Great British Bake Off host.

Speaking to and other press, Perkins opened up about why it was the right time to trace her family's history.

"I guess I've been thinking about it since I lost my dad," she said, before explaining how the loss affected her.

She added: "I think when you lose a parent or a family member, it feels like a hot air balloon that you've been flying in and suddenly someone's snipped one of the cables. And so there's a sense of precariousness. And in order for me to sort of recalibrate, I wanted to find out a bit more about my past but also about him."

Perkins also shared why the series is so poignant and resonates with so many, stating: "For me, the success of the programme is that it's a whydunnit, it's not a whodunnit. It's often like, why am I the person I am? What impact has my ancestry had on my emotional peccadilloes, my ways of thinking, my patterns of behaviour?

"I guess that was really the core interest, having lost somebody, to go back and find out about his antecedents – almost on his behalf as much as my own.

"In particular, as you'll see from the show, I didn't know very much at all about my granddad. In fact, I didn't think he was particularly nice because my dad didn't speak about him and I made the mistaken assumption that was because he was a wrong'un."

Sue Perkins
Sue Perkins

The comedian went on to say that her experience on the show was "just amazingly helpful".

"They help you put together the jigsaw puzzle of your life," she added. "I guess that would be the better metaphor. So we've gotten away from hot air balloons to jigsaw puzzles, and the jigsaw puzzle is the better metaphor!"

Who Do You Think You Are? airs on Thursday 26th May at 9pm on BBC One. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Entertainment hub for the latest news.


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