Strictly Come Dancing 2017 celebrities: Susan Calman
Strictly Come Dancing code name: Thalia
Best known for: being a comedian on Radio 4 shows The News Quiz and I Guess That’s Why They Call It The News.
Points from the Paso-Doblethon: 1 out of a maximum of 7
Dance: American Smooth to Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin
The judges’ verdict: Asked if Susan had done enough to stay away from the bottom of the scoreboard, Craig said: “Probably not. There was gapping, your feet never closed darling, there were some timing issues getting onto and off of the bench, your legs had a mind of their own…but as an entertainment piece, I thought it was quite sweet.”
Darcey thought there was a “glimmer” of Hollywood films in the routine and that she could’ve created “longer, more sweeping lines” but she really enjoyed the scissored lifts. Shirley loved the entertainment factor but she could have liked to see more technique in her performance.
“Iceberg ahead!!” screamed Bruno, who thought Susan was “saved by the bench” and that at this point he thought she was “beyond criticism”. “You’re not quite as advanced as you could be at this stage,” he added. Sadly, it was to be Susan’s final week of Strictly.
Dance: Paso Doble to Scott and Fran’s Paso Doble
The judges’ verdict: Bruno described the dance as “Penelope Cruz meets Craig in panto” with “great intensity” – but he warned to “keep the shaping big in your body, it looked like it had shrunk in the wash”. Craig wasn’t a fan, saying “it needed more of everything, too soft and wafty but I loved the flamenco stamps”. Darcey said: “you were trying to catch up, needed to travel and step out”. And Shirley’s assessment “keep shaping tighter but you covered the floor well”.
Dance: Tango to Firework by Katy Perry
The judges’ verdict: Shirley said that Susan was “feeling those emotions” because she tried to put them in the Tango, and that she “danced with her heart” today. Shirley also said she had “lovely footwork” but had to “keep working” on her frame. Bruno loved the way in which Susan travelled, and reckoned it was like “watching Suranne Jones in Doctor Foster”. Craig, however, pulled Susan up on her posture and said that her face “did look in pain” at points throughout the performance. Darcey loved the “focus and drama” that she brought to the dance.
Dance: Jive to This Ole House by Shakin’ Stevens
The judges’ verdict: Shirley praised the pair’s improvement on last week, saying: “You are back.” Bruno thought the dance had a “great pumping rhythm”. Craig echoed Shirley, saying it was a “vast improvement on last week” but did concede that it was a “little flat-footed”. Darcey concluded that Susan had a lot of “bounce and energy” and she also loved the facial expressions.
Dance: Foxtrot to Killer Queen by Queen
The judges’ verdict: Shirley said: “I love you but it lacked grace, flow and elegance.” Bruno described it as “nuts”, saying that he “loved the madness of it all” but there were many mistakes. Craig said that his lawnmower has more grace than Susan. And Darcey concluded that “the style didn’t last”.
Dance: Cha Cha to Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix
The judges’ verdict: Although the performance saw Kevin ripping up a photo of Craig, that wasn’t Revel Horwood’s top quibble: “I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits,” he said. “I’m still crying, darling, and it’s not with laughter”. Ouch indeed. Darcey, however, was a tad kinder: “It was packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter. Not your best but you sold it”.
Dance: Quickstep to Bring Me Sunshine by The Jive Aces
The judges’ verdict: Shirley thought Susan’s performance was a great way to close the show – and she was “very excited” by the performance. Bruno described her as a “box of delights” and that he loved the tribute to Morecambe and Wise in the Quickstep routine. “But it was a full-on, proper Quickstep. It wasn’t messing around. You did it, and you did it well!” he said. Craig said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing and even went so far as to describe it as a “personal best”.
Dance: Samba to Wonder Woman
The judges’ verdict: Susan had Bruno Tonioli spinning during her routine, which Craig said “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like that” but that he thought the routine was fun for everyone watching at home. “But you do need to have bounce in this,” he added. Darcey said that she “went for it” and that it was “100% performance”. Shirley, meanwhile, praised Susan’s timing and her commitment to the dance.
Dance: Charleston to If You Knew Susie
The judges’ verdict: Craig picked up Susan on her lack of swivel, while Darcey Bussell said: “I think you made this dance your own”, despite also agreeing with Craig. “You brought so much light to it – I loved watching you every minute,” added Darcey. Meanwhile Shirley said she “loved it” and Bruno Tonioli found Susan “guilty of having much much much too much fun”. Which we think is a good thing.
Dance: Viennese Waltz to Mad About The Boy by Dinah Washington
The judges’ verdict: Shirley loved the “cheeky character” of the dance, and was “pretty impressed” with her fleckerl. Bruno, on the other hand, said it was “weird but wonderful” and that it was “very, very funny” and that he loved it. Craig thought it was a bit “skippy”, and that her leg “sprang up like a mushroom”!
Radio Times spoke exclusively to Susan Calman:
Why are you doing Strictly?
“You don’t turn it down! I don’t think I’ve ever turned down work in my life. Ideally I’d be at home in my pyjamas, but giving up my job as a lawyer to be a comedian was the best thing I’ve done, and I need to keep challenging myself.”
Any advantages over the other celebs?
“Definitely not my dancing — my wife says I’ve got concrete hips! But I’ve got a photographic memory. I remember everything.”
How do you feel about your Strictlification?
“I usually wear very androgynous clothes, so this is completely different, but I’m embracing it all — apart from the shoes. They’re horrific.”
Hear more from Susan and Kevin in our exclusive interview below:
What is Susan Calman famous for?
Born in Glasgow, Calman started her professional career in law, studying the subject at the University of Glasgow before working in corporate law for seven years.
After developing stand-up routines in her evenings, Calman left the profession and turned to comedy, becoming a finalist in the Funny Women competition in 2006.
She earned her next big break with her acting work on Channel 4 sketch show Blowout, which won a Scottish Bafta in 2007. Her other TV work includes Fresh Meat, where she played therapist Nadine, and as a regular panellist on CBB shows The Dog Ate My Homework and Top Class, alongside hosting BBC1 quiz The Boss.
She’s also appeared on Have I Got News for You, QI, Mock the Week, Go 8 Bit, Countryfile, The One Show, Pointless Celebrities, Alan Davies As Yet Untitled, Dara O’Briain’s School of Hard Sums, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Would I Lie To You.
And last year she wrote about her own mental health in bestselling book Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate.
However, Calman is probably best known as a regular voice on Radio 4, where she’s heard on The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth, Now Show, her own sitcom Sisters, Dilemma, So Wrong it’s Right and presenting Woman’s Hour and Listomania.
Last updated 22nd September 2017