Susan Calman

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Susan Calman
Susan Calman LGBT rights.jpg
Calman in 2013
Birth name Susan Grace Calman
Born (1974-11-06) November 6, 1974 (age 42)
Glasgow, Scotland
Medium Stand-up
Nationality British
Notable works and roles

Susan Grace Calman (born 6 November 1974) is a British comedian and panellist on BBC Radio 4 topical shows The News Quiz and I Guess That's Why They Call It The News. She appeared in Channel 4 sketch shows[2] and was one of the relief presenters for Fred MacAulay on his BBC Radio Scotland show MacAulay and Co which ran until March 2015.[3] She has also appeared in Rab C. Nesbitt. Calman is a regular at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and at The Stand Comedy Club. Other television work includes presenting the CBBC programme Extreme School[4] and providing the comic voiceover on the CBBC series Disaster Chefs. She played the "sandwich lady" frequently throughout Series 5 of Dani's House, and presented a quiz show called The Lie on STV. She is currently a team captain on the BBC Northern Ireland comedy panel show Bad Language.[5] Since 2016, she has hosted the children's game show on CBBC, Top Class. In 2017, Calman will host the BBC One game show, The Boss.[1]

Education and legal career[edit]

Calman went to a fee-paying independent school, The High School of Glasgow,[6] and then went on to study law at the University of Glasgow, winning a Judge Brennan scholarship and a three-month stint in North Carolina working with criminals on death row.[7] During her seven-year career in corporate law, she gradually became dissatisfied with working as a specialist in freedom of information and data protection and developed her stand-up comedy during evenings, eventually giving up her job with Dundas & Wilson to develop her career in comedy.[7]

Comedy career[edit]

Calman reached the semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Awards in 2005 and was a finalist in the Funny Women competition in 2006.[7] The Channel 4’s sketch show Blowout won a Scottish BAFTA in 2007, with Calman amongst the cast. In 2009, she won Best New Scottish Comedian at the Real Radio Variety Awards.[7]

Between 2011 and 2013, Calman played therapist Nadine in the comedy Fresh Meat. Her debut Radio 4 solo series, Susan Calman is Convicted won the 2013 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards for 'Best Radio Comedy'. She also featured in the 2012 sitcom Dead Boss for BBC Three.

In 2013, Calman wrote about receiving online abuse after joking about the Scottish independence referendum on the Radio 4 satirical comedy programme The News Quiz, including accusations of betraying her country, and of being "racist" towards other Scots.[8][9]

Since, 2014, Calman is a regular panellist on the CBBC panel show The Dog Ate My Homework, Calman appears in 10 episodes of the show.

In July 2014, Calman appeared in the BBC Scotland one-off stand-up/sketch show Don't Drop the Baton which featured sketches about the 2014 Commonwealth Games and narrated the BBC Three dating show Sexy Beasts.

In 2016 she appeared on the first episode of Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit.

Personal life[edit]

Calman is the daughter of Sir Kenneth Calman, chancellor of the University of Glasgow and former chief medical officer for England and Scotland.[7] Her mother is Anne Wilkie. She has a sister and brother.

Calman came out as a lesbian in 1993 at the age of 19 and has spoken of her difficulties growing up gay in Glasgow. "It wasn't easy, not at all. Glasgow is a lovely city, but when I was growing up there was one lesbian bar, and there was a club for men, but there was no internet, there was no way of finding out [about other people]."[10] The Times commented in 2009 that Calman's "status as a diminutive lesbian — she is 4ft 11in — gives a certain grist to her mill but, her Hobbit-like stature aside, what strikes you about her is her chirpy, optimistic level-headedness."[7]

After nine years together, Calman and her partner (a fellow lawyer) had a civil partnership ceremony in 2012.[10] They got married in 2016. [11]

Stand-up DVD releases[edit]


  • 2016 - Cheer Up Love: Adventures in depression with the Crab of Hate, Published by Two Roads (ISBN 978-1473632004)


  1. ^ a b BBC - Dan McGolpin welcomes Susan Calman to BBC Daytime as new commissions for 2017 announced - Media Centre
  2. ^ Kettle, James (6 March 2010). "This week's comedy previews". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  3. ^ "Susan Calman sits in". BBC Radio Scotland. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  4. ^ Tim Clark (2012-12-11). "Susan Calman to present CBBC's Extreme Schools". Such Small Portions. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  5. ^ BBC One - Bad Language
  6. ^ "So would you heckle a lawyer? - The Scotsman". 2006-08-01. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Bowditch, Gillian (26 July 2009). "Susan Calman: the lawyer who became our pint-sized new comic pin-up". The Times. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  8. ^ "Susan Calman finds that Scottish independence is no joke", "The Guardian", 7 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Susan Calman: Death threats for independence satire", "The Scotsman", 2 May 2013.
  10. ^ a b Saner, Emine (3 March 2012). "Saturday interview: comedian Susan Calman". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ The One Show, 26 October 2016

External links[edit]