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'Strictly Come Dancing' Star Susan Calman: 9 Facts In 90 Seconds

Including her surprising past career and a word of warning for the judges.

15/08/2017 14:53 BST

With ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ bosses seemingly casting their net further and wider than ever before, it’s inevitable that one or two of this year’s celebs might not already be well-known to everyone.

Among the lesser-known contestants on this year’s show is Susan Calman, whose place on the programme was confirmed on Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 show on Tuesday (15 August) afternoon.

The Glaswegian star has been making a name for herself in the world of comedy for a number of years now, but just in case she’s less familiar to you than other stars like The Saturdays singer Mollie King and ‘EastEnders’ actor Davood Ghadami, here’s everything you need to know about Susan in our handy 9 facts in 90 seconds guide...

BBC
Susan Calman

1. Susan’s comedy career began after quite a u-turn...

Until the age of 30, Susan had been making big money as a corporate lawyer, but packed it in to become a comedian when she realised she didn’t find it satisfying.

She told the Telegraph: I felt suddenly frustrated by the confines of being in a suit.

“My childhood self would have thought: ‘What are you doing, Susan? Surely by now you should be in Hollywood. Not sat at a desk doing corporate diligence.’”

She hasn’t left the world of law behind completely, though, as her wife is a lawyer, which as she told The Guardian involves “a lot of hard negotiation”.

“When I’m not away, she comes home from work and I get some time with her,” she added, “She’s a lawyer and so was I, so you can imagine a lot of our conversations are like this.”

2. ...but she didn’t have the easiest start in her new career

Despite being high up the corporate ladder by her late twenties, Susan had to start all over again when it came to comedy.

She recalled: “The other day I passed a broken down Megabus and it reminded me of when I started out and I didn’t have enough money for a train ticket. I gigged in appalling places to appalling people.”

BBC
Susan on the set of 'The Boss'

3. Nowadays, she’s best known for her radio work, but you may have seen her on TV too

Susan fronts the power-centric daytime quiz show ‘The Boss’, which puts just one of its players in charge of who should be answering which questions.

In addition to her quiz hosting, Susan co-wrote the sitcom ‘Sisters’ and regularly makes appearances on panel shows including ‘QI’ and ‘Mock The Week’, previously naming Jo Brand as someone whose career she hopes to emulate, as she’s been able to try so many different things.

4. With all the doom and gloom in the world, Susan says it’s important for her as a comedian to look on the bright side

“Kindness and positivity” are two keywords related to her recent ‘Calman Before The Storm’ tour, telling the Ipswich Star: “[When] I talk about topical things, I know people come for a nice night and don’t want to be bombarded with politics. I’m not going to talk about Theresa May all night.”

Probably a good thing she’s signed up for one of the most light-hearted shows on the box, right?

5. That said, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and tackle the important issues either

In 2013, Susan revealed that she’d received death threats on social media, over her satirical take on the then-upcoming Scottish independence referendum.

She lamented in a blog shortly afterwards: “Nothing, and I mean nothing, has ever created such a shitstorm of aggression than when I’ve talked about Scottish Politics.”

6. Susan has spoken candidly about her own struggles with her mental health

In fact, her autobiography ‘Cheer Up Love’ had the irreverent subheading. ’Adventures In Depression With The Crab Of Hate’.

Yes, while many refer to the ‘black dog’ of depression, Susan has created a far more colourful character to help visualise her mental illness, explaining to the The Telegraph: Out of the blue, the Crab climbs up my back, pinches both of my earlobes and whispers gently to me things I don’t want to hear: ‘No one likes you. No one would miss you if you weren’t here. Why do you even bother? Everyone laughs at you when you leave the room. You’re useless. And you smell.’

“I’ve told my wife about him – and it is a him – and now all I need to say to her is that the Crab’s about and she knows what I’m going through.”

7. Craig Revel Horwood might want to check himself before he goes in too harshly on Susan

Tim P. Whitby via Getty Images
Amazing

It seems a career in comedy has given Susan a thick skin when it comes to negative critiques, and she’s more than capable when it comes to dealing with hecklers.

As she told the Ipswich Star: I won’t stand there silently [when men heckle] – the older I get the less tolerant I am. I have a four-year-old niece and it’s one of my tasks to make the world a better place for my niece.”

8. She’s professed to have only recently found her fashion stride thanks to Marlene Dietrich and a new love of tweed suits

In a piece for The Guardian, she wrote: “Yes, it’s taken me 20 years longer than most people to find out what I want to look like, but I know now. I finally feel comfortable with myself.

“I don’t mind when people laugh at me in my tweed suits. And I don’t care that a woman of my stature should probably wear heels. I’m sticking with my brogues.”

All we can say is we can’t wait to see a spangly version of this on the ‘Strictly’ dance floor

9. Her fans should probably have guessed she was doing ‘Strictly’ by now

At the end of July, Susan announced out of the blue that she was cancelling her autumn tour, which would have seen her appearing in venues around the UK in September and October, for due to TV commitments.

Yeah, that probably should have been a red flag, shouldn’t it?

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ returns to BBC One this autumn.

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