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Cover interview: Sue Perkins

We chat with the Heading Out star

Jane Czyzselska

Mon, 18 Feb 2013 12:39:44 GMT | Updated 3 years today

There's a hilarious scene in Heading Out where Sue Perkins appears as an ersatz sex therapist to a dog who - his haughty Russian owner says - is "wrong in penis". Flicking through a breeder's manual in the surgery, neurotic vet Sara (Perkins) offers the impotent borzoi a date with everything from a sexy whippet to a buxom basset hound. If Sara finds a suitable canine playmate for the preposterously-named Sergei Illyanovich the Third, the truculent Russian (Mel Giedroyc) promises to make a sizeable deposit of readies in the boot of her car.

Meanwhile in reception, Sara's practice partner and nemesis Daniel is sorting through customer documents in a sadistic filing system, based on a pain spectrum ranging from mild laceration to decapitation. I'm guessing the Russian might end up somewhere between the two. If this all sounds bonkers, it's merely an amuse-bouche to the eccentric comedy entrée that also features appearances from Eastenders' June Brown, Dawn French and The League of Gentlemen's Steve Pemberton.

Created by Perkins, Heading Out follows Sara, a vet so skilled, she can spay a tortoise one-handed. She's successful and popular; there's just one problem: she's too scared to come out to her parents. On the evening of her 40th birthday, Sara's friends give her an ultimatum: either she tells her parents when they come to visit in six weeks' time, or they will. To help Sara achieve this goal, they've saved up to buy a series of sessions with Toria, the eccentric and questionably-qualified lifestyle coach, and so the countdown begins.

When we meet, Sue has just come from a shoot "in character" so she's dressed in blue vet scrubs, a pair of Shoreditch brogues and an anorak. "You might think the show's bonkers but for me it's totally normal," she explains pushing a bag of air-dried beetroot crisps toward me. "That looks like something Mark Quinn might make into a head," I suggest. "Yes," she responds gamely, "it is blood fruit, isn't it?" Once we've broken the ice with quips about the Turner Prize-winning artist's blood sculpture, we get stuck in.




Read the rest of this interview with Sue Perkins in the March issue of DIVA, on sale from 28 February 2013.


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