Polly Perkins was born Gillian Arnold to theatrical parents Dickie and Mitzi, who both had a successful career performing a cabaret/vaudeville act. Her step mother Dottie Arnold was also a successful variety performer. Perkins has two children, film producer/director Toby Tobias and singer songwriter Tim Arnold . In 1985, Perkins moved to Spain.
Throughout the ’70′s, Perkins was the leading lady in many West End cabaret clubs including The Gaslight, The Directors Lodge, The Gargoyle, The Piano Bar and Madam Jo-Jo’s. She became a much-loved figure in Soho clubs for her smoky rendition of Edith Piaf‘s Je Ne Regrette Rien. As a recording artist, she has released three albums.
Perkins was cast as Trish Valentine, a washed-up nightclub singer, in the BBC soap opera Eldorado in the mid-90s.
In April 2011, she returned to the London stage in the debut performance of songs from her son’s new musical Secrets of Soho at The Phoenix Artist Club.
In May 2011, it was announced by that Perkins would be joining the cast of BBC soap opera EastEnders as Rose, the estranged sister of Dot Branning. Speaking of her casting, Perkins said “I am thrilled to be joining the cast of EastEnders, the show is a real British institution with an extraordinary creative team. I’m really looking forward to working with June again, who I have been friends with for over 30 years.