One of those Radio 4 series that's just a comedian talking to an audience for half an hour each week - Susan Calman sustains this potentially saggy format much better than most. She chooses something she's passionate about, texturing her forthright opinion with anecdotes and utilising her ability to put laughs in the places you don't quite expect.Jack Seale, Radio Times, 23rd February 2013
It's a staple of the Crime and Investigation channel, Death Row inmates describing their terrible crimes and inexorable fate. And there are many countries besides the USA that execute their felons.
Here in Britain, to the relief of many who deemed it alien, antediluvian and barbaric, capital punishment was abolished in 1965 - though there'll always be those flying in the face of consensus, lobbying for its return. Forthright Glaswegian comedian Susan Calman was already convinced of her anti-stance, and here she tells how her time working on Death Row in a North Carolina penal institution only served to strengthen her abhorrence.Chris Gardener, Radio Times, 19th February 2013
Stand-up Susan Calman is mostly noted for her appearances on The News Quiz. However this new late-night show, Susan Calman is Convicted, gives the Scottish comic her own platform to get on her soap box.
In the first episode, Calman looks at civil partnerships and gay marriage. Calman is gay herself and in a civil partnership, not that she calls it that as she constantly refers to herself as being married. She talks about her sexuality, how she wants to be able to get married, and the problems she had with her own civil partnership, which included the fact that marriage couldn't be mentioned during the entire ceremony for legal reasons. Come to think of it, this opening episode couldn't have been better timed for Calman, following the vote on legalising gay marriage being passed in the House of Commons.
But concentrating on the show itself, there's a lot of it I liked, most of which wasn't really concerned with the theme. There were all sorts of odd tangents, like when she talks about her love for her three cats, which includes dressing them up and giving each of them their own jingle.
The problem programmes like this and Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation (which starts its ninth series at the end of the month) is that there's a danger of them getting too preachy. It's true that these kinds of shows won't be for people whose politics are right-wing, but in my experience right-wing people tend to be more "laughed at" than "laughed with", which is why there's never been a right-wing equivalent of Mark Thomas. The problem's that people think that those who are "laughed at" are electable (see Boris Johnson).
If you don't mind the preachy nature of these kinds of programmes, however, you'll get a lot of enjoyment from a performer like Calman.Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 18th February 2013