I knew from an early age I wasn’t cut out for sport. I successfully managed the carb loading, so I was 50 per cent of the way of the way there, but the bit after that, the running and jumping bit, just bored the tits off me.
Spectacles is Sue Perkins’ memoir covering her life so far from the day she popped out (her mum made notes during labour) through to her time filming shows such as The World’s Most Dangerous Roads (she was told it was Interesting Roads when she agreed) and some baking show called The Great British Bake Off.
Sue on paper is pretty much the same as Sue on TV and she comes across as a genuinely lovely, if self-deprecating, person. I’m pretty sure Bake Off wouldn’t have been such a hit without her and Mel. If you’re hoping for loads of behind the baking scenes gossip, this isn’t that book. One chapter deals with Bake Off, which Sue initially turned down (this is a recurring theme in her life), but mostly covers the first series. Following on from this we’ve gone and downloaded series one from BBC Store and the show has come a long way. There’s also a few tongue-in-cheek bits, where Sue answers some FAQs and gives a fake sneak peak of next year’s show.
The production company was used to making award-winning, intense and provocative documentaries on multiculturalism and poverty, and took this journalistic ethos right into Bake Off.
I’ve been a fan of Sue since the days of Light Lunch and I’ve recently re-watched the wonderful Supersizers where she and Giles Coren eat their way through history and get thoroughly drunk. I wasn’t aware she started out as a comedy duo with Mel and this book covers their early days.
It also has a lot about Sue’s childhood but told in a rather entertaining way. There’s some sad bits too. I nearly cried on the bus reading the letter she wrote to her dead dog. Yup, this book needs a Death of Dog Warning. But she also made me laugh in the very same letter. That’s a skill. I particularly liked the part where Sue tries to report a hate crime to the police…well you’ll just have to read it to find out.
First rule of Cheese Swap, you don’t talk about Cheese Swap.
I would like to think I’d get along with Sue if I met her. If you’re intent of buying people celebrity autobiographies for Christmas, you could do a lot worse than Spectacles. Unless maybe they’re expecting Jeremy Clarkson’s…
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