Dominic Lawson


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Think of The Moral Maze on acid. No, don't. Dilemma, like the best panel shows, is based on a simple premise. "The show where we explore the big moral and ethical questions [that's The Moral Maze bit] by asking silly questions [that obviously isn't at all like The Moral Maze]".

The premise put me in mind of the board game Scruples that called for you and your chums to consider moral dilemmas: things like whether you would go unwashed for a year in exchange for a million pounds... and, no, you couldn't tell people you were stinky for cash. I forget how the rules worked, and with Sue Perkins's Dilemma, the rules don't seem to matter much either - but it doesn't matter because this first programme is very funny.

Sue Perkins has a nifty introductory script ("If Piers Morgan's house was below sea level, would you still care about climate change?") but really shines when she plays devil's advocate with the panellists as they calibrate their moral compasses.

Richard Herring opens by wrestling with the idea of selling his grandfather's war memorabilia to a Nazi sympathiser. Perkins's pushing turns questions with seemingly obvious answers into a fun debate. Everyone on the panel sparkles, but for me Dominic Lawson is the stand-out with a series of naughty interjections. His slide-rule of racism is hilarious (Perkins: "Well, that's racism sorted out"). When he "became" Amanda Holden, I wondered whether the BBC lawyers would allow it to be broadcast.

Acidic, and not in the way I mentioned at the start. A non-irritating, hilarious panel show.

Eddie Mair, Radio Times, 13th November 2011

Dilemma (Radio 4, 7.45pm) is a new panel show, hosted by inescapable Sue Perkins, a sort of Moral Maze for the lace-loosened, in which comedians Dave Gorman and Richard Herring, actress and writer Rebecca Front and pithy columnist Dominic Lawson discuss such questions as "Would you provide an alibi for someone you hate?" Sketch show comedy and topical satire have so far not exactly flourished in this slot. Management fingers will be crossed for this, hoping that the audience hasn't already scuttled off to other channels.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 11th November 2011

The News Quiz] (Radio 4, Friday) returned for a 75th series last week, its host Sandi Toksvig and contestants Dominic Lawson, Jeremy Hardy, Andy Hamilton and Fred MacAulay keen to get at what must be one of the richest current affairs harvests in living memory. As ever, Hamilton had the best lines, noting that the name of Libyan diplomat Moussa Koussa "sounds like an ABBA track" and comparing the all-party select committee responsible for grilling Rupert and James Murdoch to "a panel comprised of Sherlock Holmes, Perry Mason, Dale Winton, Jim Bowen and Sooty". (Listeners were left to guess which MP most closely resembles a small glove-puppet bear.)

The format may now be as well worn and familiar as an old cardigan, but it's no less welcome for that.

Pete Naughton, The Telegraph, 13th September 2011

The comic who dares to be middle class and not coarse

Heard the one about the comic who dares to be middle class and not coarse or cruel?

Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail, 18th November 2009