Who is Ricki Lake? Everything you need to know about the guest judge on Let It Shine

She’s a left-field choice, but the US chat show host is joining the BBC1 show for one night only


When Ricki Lake was confirmed as a guest judge on BBC1 talent show Let It Shine, it left many people scratching their heads.


Well, you need scratch no longer. Here’s everything you need to know about the former chat show host.

Name: Ricki Lake

Age: 48

Twitter: @RickiLake

Best known for: Hosting a Jeremy Kyle-style US chat show between 1993 and 2004, and then again between 2012 and 2013, where families aired their dirty laundry in public.

Hair pulling, screaming and all sorts took place on the series that featured straplines such as ‘I’ve slept with your man…and I’ll do it again and again!’. Charming.

Bio: Born in New York, Ricki was originally an actress and played Tracy Turnblad alongside Debbie Harry in the 1988 movie version of Hairspray, written and directed by John Waters.

Following the film’s mild success, she then won roles in the likes of Melanie Griffith movie Working Girl and TV series Gravedale High.

But it was in 1993, aged just 24, when she gained worldwide fame as the youngest person to host her own chat show – the eponymous series went on to run for 11 years before ending in 2004.


She made a comeback to the genre in 2012 with The Ricki Lake Show, but it ended after one season despite winning her an Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host.

Outside her chat shows, Ricki has popped up on plenty of other TV shows, either acting or as herself. She played Stephanie Heffernan in six episodes of The King of Queens and was a ghost in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as well as playing one of Mr Pinky’s girls in the TV musical version of Hairspray Live!


She also took over from Sharon Osbourne as host of Charm School for a season in 2009, which was imaginatively titled Charm School with Ricki Lake. And she put her best foot forward for Dancing with the Stars in 2011 when she was partnered with Derek Hough, reaching the finals and coming third in the series.