Sue Perkins is the latest celebrity to trace their ancestry in the BBC's beloved documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? and has opened up about the heartbreaking reason why she signed up for the programme.
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Starring in the first episode of the new series, Sue revealed that she had been "thinking about" joining the show after the death of her father, Bert Perkins, who passed away after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.
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Speaking at a recent press event, Sue told RadioTimes.com: "I guess I've been thinking about it since I lost my dad."
She continued: "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."
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Sue's father, who passed away in 2017, had previously recovered from treatment for colon cancer back in the 1990s. Speaking to The Telegraph in 2015, the comedian revealed that his first cancer diagnosis had left him feeling depressed for a decade.
Sue Perkins' parents, Bert and Ann
"Some people don't survive [cancer] well, and the model that a person returns home and their hair grows back and they go around the world doesn't work," she said. "I thought 'Dad'd do that', but after so much chemo, so many CAT scans, he just wanted to stay at home. It just overwhelmed him."
While chatting about Who Do You Think You Are recently, the 52-year-old also shared her thoughts on why the series is so successful. "For me, the success of the programme is that it's a whydunnit, it's not a whodunnit," she explained. "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?"
Sue is the first celebrity to appear in the new series
The new series of the show features a star-studded line-up, including Death in Paradise actor Ralf Little, Line of Duty's Anna Maxwell Martin, Great British Bake-Off's Matt Lucas and former Pointless co-host Richard Osman.
Who Do You Think You Are? season 19 airs on Thursday 26 May on BBC One at 9pm.
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