‘Sue Perkins’ Big American Road Trip’: release date and everything we know about the travelogue

Sue Perkins in Sue Perkins' Big American Road Trip.
Sue Perkins gets behind the wheel for 'Sue Perkins' Big American Road Trip' on Channel 4. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Sue Perkins’ Big American Road Trip sees the comedian and former host of The Great British Bake Off driving through the USA on an epic adventure. 

In the two-part Channel 4 series, airing this January, Perkins takes to the open road in a motorhome – or RV as it's known in the US – and later a retro campervan to explore the increasingly popular concept of ‘van life’ and see whether it’s really for her.

So here’s everything we know about Sue Perkins’ Big American Road Trip

When is the release date for ‘Sue Perkins’ Big American Road Trip’?

The first episode of Sue Perkins’ Big American Road Trip airs on Sunday 16 January at 9pm on Channel 4 and will be available on All4 afterwards. The concluding instalment airs the following week. We will update if there's a US or worldwide air date.

What is ‘Sue Perkins’ Big American Road Trip’ about?

In the wryly comic but eye-opening travelogue, Perkins journeys through California and Colorado. Along the way, she meets some of the one million Americans who have ditched the constraints of a nine-to-five existence to become van dwellers. 

“More and more people are starting to question why they should pursue the norm,” says Sue Perkins. “I feel ready to get into the RV life. I like the idea of freedom. We do beauty in the UK but in America, everything is supersized, it’s explosive and unbelievable. You feel like you’re king of the road, which you don’t get on the A1!”

Who does Sue Perkins meet on her travels in ‘Sue Perkins’ Big American Road Trip’?

Sue Perkins and Alexandria in Sue Perkins' Big American Road Trip

Sue Perkins tries rock climbing with YouTuber Alexandria in Sue Perkins' Big American Road Trip. (Image credit: Channel 4)

In the opening episode exploring California, she chats with young YouTubers Blix and Bess who are are recent converts to ‘van life’, while fellow YouTuber Alexandria has been travelling around America in a van for seven years as it is cheaper than paying rent, and she teaches Perkins how to scale boulders and even dig her own toilet in the woods!

Later in the episode, Sue Perkins meets veteran traveller Bob Wells, who is revered among fellow ‘nomads’ as he shares advice with thousands online and at rallies on how to survive without a roof over their heads. He also played himself in 2020’s Oscar-winning film Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand. 

“Bob’s unique and special, he’s a legend and has a cult status. He has got a set view but it works for him and it works for the people he has really helped. I enjoyed being part of the church of Bob,” says Perkins.

Meanwhile in the second episode, which centres on Colorado, Perkins meets Justin and Juby and their toddler, who reveal the highs and lows of family life on the move, while YouTuber Jamie explains how an effective nomadic community can be forged on the road, before Perkins gets fully immersed in ‘van life’ at the annual 'Gutted' festival in the Colorado desert.

She admits she has come away with a broader understanding of what a life on the road entails.

“People watching might think to themselves, ‘Oh I can do that, what a great lifestyle choice’, but without exception those I have met didn't do this out of choice," she reflects. "They did this because something profound happened in their lives and I admire the fact that they can emerge from difficult times with strength.”

Sue meets Bob Wells who was in the hit movie 'Nomandland'.

Sue meets Bob Wells who was in the hit movie 'Nomandland'. (Image credit: Getty)

Sue Perkins in Sue Perkins' Big American Road Trip

Sue Perkins contemplates 'van life' in Sue Perkins' Big American Road Trip. (Image credit: Channel 4)

What other travelogues has Sue Perkins presented?

The presenter has been on a range of televisual travels over the years. In 2014 she headed to Asia for The Mekong River with Sue Perkins on BBC2, while 2015’s Kolkata with Sue Perkins on BBC1 saw her explore the Indian city and she returned to the country in 2017 for BBC1 special The Ganges with Sue Perkins.

In 2019’s Japan with Sue Perkins on BBC1, she explored the Land of the Rising Sun and in 2020, BBC1’s Sue Perkins: Along the US-Mexico Border saw her investigate the stark divide between the two countries.

Is there a trailer for ‘Sue Perkins’ Big American Road Trip’?

Not yet! But we will add it here as soon as it’s released.

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.