Liza Tarbuck

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Liza Tarbuck
Born (1964-11-21) 21 November 1964 (age 59)[1]
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Occupation(s)Actress, television and radio presenter
Years active1986–present
Parent(s)Jimmy and Pauline Tarbuck

Liza Tarbuck (/ˈlzə/ LEE-zə; born 21 November 1964) is an English actress, comedian, and television and radio presenter.

Early life[edit]

Liza Tarbuck was born in Liverpool and grew up near Kingston upon Thames.[2] She is the daughter of comedian Jimmy Tarbuck and his wife Pauline, with an older sister, Cheryl, and a younger brother, James.[3] She trained at the National Youth Theatre and RADA[3] graduating in 1986 alongside Clive Owen, Rebecca Pidgeon, and Mark Womack.


Tarbuck's first big break came in 1987 when she landed a starring role in the Granada Television comedy series Watching, opposite Emma Wray.[3] She stayed with Watching for its entire seven-year run. She also appeared as Angie in the 1988 Falklands War drama Tumbledown, which starred Colin Firth, Paul Rhys and David Calder.[3]

In 1989, Tarbuck played Dana in the first of the six Victoria Wood penned anthology comedy plays Mens Sana in Thingummy Doodah, presented on BBC1 in the series Victoria Wood.

In 2001, she took the title role in Linda Green, which ran for two series, ending in 2002.[3]

She guest starred on the Ricky Gervais comedy Extras and appeared in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries as DI Fiona Knight.

In 2004, she appeared in Series 6 of the BBC One comedy French & Saunders, as a fictionalised version of herself, where she had the role of producer for Saunders & French Productions with Christopher Hague-Moody.

In 2005, she appeared as Mrs Jellyby in the BBC One serial Bleak House,[3] and in 2006 she appeared in episode six of the sitcom Saxondale, as a full-figured rock chick.

In 2007, she provided a voiceover for the animated Doctor Who adventure The Infinite Quest.[4] 2007 also saw her starring in the ITV1 comedy drama Bonkers.[5]

In 2009 she starred as Tina in her first role in a feature film, in The Be All and End All, and since 2016 she has played the part of Anne Hathaway in the BBC Two comedy series Upstart Crow.

In 2019, she starred in How Europe Stole My Mum. This Channel 4 comedy documentary, presented by comedian Kieran Hodgson and also starring Harry Enfield, examines how Brexit came about and how the divided country might be put back together.


She presented the fashion programme She's Gotta Have It in 1998[3] and The Big Breakfast with Johnny Vaughan, Sara Cox and Richard Bacon.[3] In 2001, she teamed up with her father for a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?[3] In the early 2000s, she hosted the Sky One game show Blockbusters and has been a guest presenter on Have I Got News for You. In 2003, she hosted Channel 4's Emmy Award winning panel-discussion/gameshow Without Prejudice?.[3]

She hosted a late-night edition of Win, Lose or Draw, and has presented Britain's Top Dog, as well as narrating the last series of the documentary Airport in 2005.

She presented a one-off quiz for Five called I Blame the Spice Girls to celebrate Five's tenth birthday. She has also appeared in advertisements for the supermarket Asda.

She signed a deal with Sky One to present a show called Pet Nation alongside Huey Morgan in 2010.

She narrated the Channel 4 dieting show Supersize vs Superskinny since 2008.

In 2015, Tarbuck narrated the Animal Planet series Meet The Orangutans.


BBC Radio 4[edit]

Tarbuck played Helen Golightly in the BBC Radio 4 programme Clare in the Community from series 5 to series 9, taking over from Gemma Craven.[6][7] She has also appeared in other shows for BBC Radio 4, such as Just a Minute and a story about Jayne Mansfield. In December 2016 she presented Remembering Ronnie Corbett, a tribute to the late comedy star. In October 2017 she appeared on Front Row with Harry Hill. In December 2017 she was a guest on Radio 4's Saturday Live. In January 2018 she was a guest on Great Lives, talking about the Serbian American scientist Nikola Tesla.

BBC Radio 2[edit]

During September 2007 Tarbuck co-presented the weekday afternoon show on BBC Radio 2 with Mark Radcliffe, whilst Steve Wright was on leave. In December 2007 (and again in January and March 2008), she once more hosted the show, this time as a solo presenter. In July 2008 she once again co-presented with Radcliffe.

In December 2008 and January 2009, she presented the Saturday morning slot on BBC Radio 2 with Martin Freeman whilst Jonathan Ross was away from the station, and again in August 2009 alongside Huey Morgan of Fun Lovin' Criminals. The pair presented the show again in November 2009.

For a week in March 2009, she stood in for Sarah Kennedy's popular Dawn Patrol show.

Tarbuck stood in for Simon Mayo on his BBC Radio 2 Drivetime Show for three weeks in July/August 2010 also covering the show on 18–22 April in 2011, 1–19 August in 2011, 4–8 June 2012, 14–18 February 2013, 15 July 2013, 26–30 May 2014, 6–10 April 2015 and 14 June 2016. On 9 October 2018, she presented the Drivetime show (5pm–8pm) with Simon Mayo while Jo Whiley was away from the station.

On 25 December 2009, she presented a four-hour show on BBC Radio 2 called Liza Tarbuck's Christmas, from midnight until 4am.

In 2013, she presented a BBC Radio 2 special celebrating the career of the British comedian Ken Dodd called How Tickled I've Been.

In 2015, she visited Mary Berry at her home for a BBC Radio 2 Christmas Eve special.

On Sunday 8 October 2017, she stood in for Michael Ball on his 11 am – 1 pm show.

On Wednesday 25 December 2019, she presented a Christmas day special called 'Family Rhythms', 6 pm – 8 pm. Guests included film director Richard Curtis, Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Pritchard, Love Island star Curtis Pritchard, and Spandau Ballet brothers Martin Kemp and Gary Kemp. Tarbuck presented another Christmas Day special in 2020.

Since May 2012 she has presented her own radio show on BBC Radio 2, between 6pm and 8pm, on Saturdays, replacing Going out with Alan Carr presented by Carr and Melanie Sykes.[8][9]

UK Radio Aid[edit]

UK Radio Aid was a charitable event in the United Kingdom held on Monday 17 January 2005 to raise money for the DEC appeal for the victims of the Asian tsunami. The event consisted of a twelve-hour radio show broadcast on 268 radio stations with an audience of over 20 million. Tarbuck presented the 16:00–18:00 slot with her former Big Breakfast co-host Johnny Vaughan.


I An Distracted By Everything [sic], written by Tarbuck, was published in November 2017.[10]-Tarbuck described the one-off publication as "an annual for grown-ups".[10]

Film and television appearances[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1987–1993 Watching Pamela Wilson/Lynch 53 episodes
1988 Tumbledown Angie TV drama film
1989 Victoria Wood Dana 1 episode - "Mens Sana in Thingummydoodah"
1991 Chimera Girl on coach TV mini-series
1998 Blankety Blank Herself 1 episode
1999–2000 The Big Breakfast Presenter
2000–2001 Blockbusters Presenter
2000 The League of Gentlemen Donna 1 episode - Christmas special
2000–2001 Time Team Herself 2 episodes
2000–2006 Have I Got News for You Herself 3 episodes
2001 Room 101 Herself 1 episode
2001 Parkinson Herself 1 episode
2001–2002 Linda Green Linda Green 20 episodes
2002 V Graham Norton Herself 1 episode
2002 Tractor Tom Farmer Fi (voice) 26 episodes
2002 The Hound of the Baskervilles Mrs Barrymore
2003–2004 Without Prejudice? Presenter 5 episodes
2004 Friday Night with Jonathan Ross Herself 1 episode
2004 Win, Lose or Draw Late Presenter 20 episodes
2004 French and Saunders Herself 5 episodes
2004 The Big Fat Quiz of the Year Herself 1 episode
2005 Airport Narrator 5 episodes
2005, 2007, 2011 8 Out of 10 Cats Herself 3 episodes
2006 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries DI Fiona Knight 1 episode - "Natural Causes"
2006 Saxondale Janet 1 episode
2006 Britain's Top Dog with Liza Tarbuck Host 7 episodes
2006–2007 Extras Rita 4 episodes
2006, 2009-10,
2012, 2014,
2018 & 2020
QI Herself 6 episodes (Series D, G, J, K, O & R)
2007 Bonkers Helen Barker 6 episodes
2007 The Paul O'Grady Show Herself 1 episode
2009 Queens of British Pop Narrator 2 episodes
2009 The Be All and End All Tina
2010 Liza & Huey's Pet Nation Co-presenter
2011 The Boat That Guy Built Narrator
2011 Mount Pleasant Kate 8 episodes
2011 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Head Nurse Karen Comedy-drama film
2012 Skins Anita Hardbeck 1 episode
2012 World's Most Dangerous Roads: Ho Chi Minh Trail Herself 1 episode with Sue Perkins (Series 2, Episode 2)
2012 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Guest presenter 1 episode (Series 26, Episode 11–10 December 2012)
2014 Psychobitches Miss Muffet & Witch
2015 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Herself 1 episode
2015 Miranda Registrar 1 episode (New Year's Special)
2015 Mel and Sue Herself
2015 Let's Play Darts Contestant 1 episode
2015–present Eat Well For Less? Narrator
2016 Silent Witness DI Pamela Rankin
2016 Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled Herself 1 episode (Series 4 Episode 4)
2016 Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Contestant 1 episode
2016–2018 Upstart Crow Anne Shakespeare 20 episodes
2017 The One Show Herself 1 episode (October 2017)
2018, 2022 Taskmaster Contestant Series 6 - May 2018, Champion of Champions II
2018–2019 Celebrity Game Night Presenter 6 episodes
2019 How Europe Stole My Mum Mum 1 episode (31 October 2019)
2019 Joe Lycett's Got Your Back Herself 1 episode - "Liza Tarbuck, Housing & Letting Agents"
2019 Hypothetical Herself
2020 Comedy Game Night Herself Presenter
2023 Wonders of the World I Can't See Herself Episode 4[11]
2023 The Change Siobhain TV series[12]


  1. ^ Hogan, Michael (12 August 2023). "Why Liza Tarbuck is the funniest person on radio". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  2. ^ Bell, Photographs Jason (13 October 2001). "Interview: Liza Tarbuck". the Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Drama Faces – Liza Tarbuck". BBC. 21 November 1964. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  4. ^ "Doctor Who – News – The Infinite Quest". BBC. 5 November 2007. Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  5. ^ "Bonkers | Primetime | What's on TV – Top TV listings guide, plus soaps, news, prizes and previews". 17 January 2008. Archived from the original on 18 February 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  6. ^ "Clare in the Community". BBC Studios. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Clare In The Community characters". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Liza Tarbuck gets Radio 2 Saturday nights". Radio Today. 8 March 2012. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  9. ^ Millar, Paul (8 March 2012). "Liza Tarbuck to replace Alan Carr on BBC Radio 2 'Going Out' show – Media News". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  10. ^ a b Tarbuck, Liza. I An Distracted by Everything. Retrieved 19 October 2021. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  11. ^ "Wonders of the World I Can't See". 11 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Bridget Christie comedy reveals cast". 5 July 2022.

External links[edit]