Liza Tarbuck appears in the Kaleidoscope episode, which is her fourth time on QI. The first time all three guests were women, it turned out to be one of the funniest – and filthiest – recordings we’ve ever made, much of that due to Liza’s warmth and sauciness.
Liza is a RADA-trained actress who first came to prominence in Granada’s long-running comedy series Watching in which she took a starring role for six years from 1987. Her career since has been divided between presenting on TV and radio and building an impressive reputation as a character actress. She played the eponymous heroine in Linda Green for two series, appeared in four of Ricky Gervais’s Extras and had memorable cameos in The League of Gentleman, French & Saunders, as a rock chick in Saxondale and Mrs Jellyby in the 2005 BBC adaptation of Bleak House. She’s even done two episodes of Time Team.
As well as appearances on the usual round of panel shows (Have I Got News for You, Room 101, 8 Out of 10 Cats), for 18 months she made a wonderful foil to motormouth Johnny Vaughan on The Big Breakfast. Part of their easy rapport came from the fact that they were old friends: Johnny had looked after her Lisa’s chronically flatulent Staffordshire terrier while she filmed Watching. He later claimed the dog produced an odour that would ‘rot nasal hair’.
Liza has also been Radio 2’s go-to stand-in presenter, covering for Steve Wright and Simon Mayo, and now she has her own show taking over from Alan Carr in the early Saturday night slot.
In an industry that runs on bitchiness, no one has a bad word to say about Liza Tarbuck. She doesn’t play the celebrity game (she much prefers DIY) and she refuses to indulge in the snide put-downs and bluster that characterise too many TV panel shows. As she once remarked to an interviewer who told her everyone said she was lovely, ‘Oh I am! Just put that in a really big font.’