Susie Dent Interview

Susie Dent Interview


Posted 2022-11-02 by Tony Collinsfollow

Thu 23 Mar 2023

She is taking time out from her regular seat on TV quiz Countdown and its comedy spin-off, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, to tour the country with her one-woman show, The Secret Life of Words. Weekend Notes caught up with Susie Dent ahead of her 18 March 2023 appearance at the Lichfield Garrick theatre.

Q: What can audiences expect from your show?A: I'll be bringing some of my favourite word stories – why do we steal someone's thunder, or lick something into shape? – as well as some surprising facts about aspects of our brilliant language like swearing and American English. Plus of course a few anecdotes from my 30 years in Dictionary Corner.

Q: Do you find it daunting to be on a live stage on your own?A: I actually love touring – not only do I get to wax lyrical about my favourite subjects, but my audience is also so keen to share their own questions and stories about words. I have a Word Surgery section at the end of each show where people can ask me anything they want!

[b]Q: How did your role on Countdown come about?[/b]A: I worked at Oxford University Press which had a relationship with Countdown whereby they provided word referees for the game, and my boss at the time must have mooted the idea three or four times before I said yes! Now of course I'm so grateful to him, but any sort of career in TV was not on my radar at all.

Q: Any special memory or highlight from your time in Dictionary Corner?A: So many! I literally have the best seat in the house, sitting next to hundreds of wonderful people and hearing their life stories. My abiding memory though will be one of friendship – the Countdown team, from the camera crew to the producers, is one big family and sitting in the Corner is my second home.

Q: What was your reaction to news of the 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown spin-off?A: I was nervous, of course, but also so chuffed to be part of such a brilliant comedy programme, which began as part of a wider C4 mash-up evening in which presenters from one show were suddenly plonked in another, and predictably all hell broke loose. I soon learned I am not there to be funny, and Rachel and I are both trusty stooges for the comedy whilst getting on with the jobs we love. We both adore the show.

Q: Do you ever mind being on the receiving end of Jimmy Carr's comments towards you?A: The audience is always so sympathetic when Jimmy flings his opening gambits at me – I always hear a big 'awwww' sent my way, but it's genuinely all part of the fun, and I just need to hone my revenge comebacks! Mind you, the next time Jimmy makes fun of my books I can make it open season on him, as he has one out too!

Q: How many books have you actually written and are there more in the offing?A: I must have written about 16 of them now, all of them very different. My current one is An Emotional Dictionary, which aims to give you words to express exactly how you feel – it has light and dark and quite a few smiles in between. And next year I have a word book for children coming out, which I'm really looking forward to sharing, as this are such a special audience to write for.

Q: Finally, what plans or ambitions for the future?
A: More of the same please! I'm so lucky to have a job I adore that is giving me so many other opportunities too. Beyond Countdown I'll keep doing my podcast with Gyles Brandreth, Something Rhymes with Purple, my writing, and my programmes with Why Now where I get to talk to other people about their love of words. I really couldn't ask for more.

Susie Dent will be appearing at the Lichfield Garrick theatre on 18 March 2023. Tickets priced £25.50 are available by visiting or by calling the Box Office on 01543 412121.

!date 23/03/2023 -- 23/03/2023
70798 - 2023-01-26 01:49:27


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