C5’s new Cruising With Susan Calman is set to be LGBT+ Britain’s best TV guilty secret
Lesbian comic Susan Calman is to take over from Jane McDonald as host of Channel 5’s travel show formats.
The shows will be renamed as Cruising With Susan Calman and Holiday With Susan Calman.
And we predict it’s going to be a camp spectacular.
LGBT+ ally Jane McDonald won the 2018 BAFTA Award for Best Feature for Cruising With… – a first for a Channel 5 show.
But McDonald, 56, announced her departure last week from the formats which she has presented for nearly half a decade. The singer, who first made her name on cruise ships, wants to dedicate more time to her music.
And today she handed over the baton to Calman.
McDonald tweeted: ‘I’m so delighted that @SusanCalman is taking over Cruising and Holidaying.
‘She is going to be fabulous! Wishing you the best of luck ever Susan. I’m sure you will have a ball. I certainly did.’
And Calman replied: ‘I have a signed photo of you in my living room @TheJaneMcDonald and have always adored you. Thank you so much. You’re magnificent in every way and will always be the best cruiser ever.’
Meet Susan Calman
Scottish comic Calman lives in Glasgow, Scotland with her wife Lee and an unspecified number of cats.
She is also a mental health advocate. In a 2018 podcast she admitted she was ‘desperately unhappy’ as a teenager, self-harmed and attempted suicide at 16. But now she openly discusses her experience with depression in interviews as well as in her books.
Channel 5 already has Calman as a presenter of its series Secret Scotland With Susan Calman.
Now she will be ‘exploring the high seas and popular holiday destinations’ via Cruising With Susan Calman and Holidaying With Susan Calman.
She said: ‘I can’t wait to go on exciting voyages and incredible journeys and take the wonderful viewers with me. It’s the start of a magnificent chapter.’
Could Calman put the dancing into cruising?
Calman is well-known as a panelist on radio comedy shows I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and The News Quiz as well as TV’s QI.
But in 2017 she came to the attention of new audiences when she competed in Strictly Come Dancing, the UK version of Dancing With The Stars.
Some criticized Calman for not insisting on a same-sex dance partner for Strictly Come Dancing.
But the 45-year-old, who has been out since the age of 19, rejected the comments.
She said at the time: ‘No one is holding me hostage in this room, making me wear a dress and dance with a man. I want to learn how to dance… I have protested, I have picketed, I have fought, I have been spat on, I have been punched – and I want to dance.’
Now Ben Frow, director of programming at Channel 5, pledges that Calman will be encouraged to bring her own style to the shows.
He said: ‘I have encouraged her to make both shows uniquely hers and I am genuinely excited to see how she evolves them in her own, inimitable style. The world is, literally, her oyster.’
And she has already joked she may make her dancing part of the shows.
When someone on Twitter asked if she would be singing like McDonald, she replied:
‘The world has not yet seen my musical talents. For a reason. I think perhaps a dance would be more appropriate.’
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Author: Tris Reid-Smith