Graham Norton reveals all about the new series of his chat show moving to BBC One and the rumours of him replacing Paul O'Grady on Channel 4 So, Graham, how do you feel about your show moving to BBC1? "It's one of those odd things. Obviously it's nice as it's a pat on the back and people are saying they love the show, so it's seen as a promotion. But to me it's still a television show that's available in everybody's home so in practical terms I don't know what's changed. "We've kept the show fairly much the same. Well apart from my army of Barbie girls which sat behind me has gone. I'm a little annoyed as they were my idea but they asked my permission before they took them away!" Have you been shopping for new snazzy suits? "Most of them are off the peg and the shops are full of very dull suits at the moment. My poor stylist is pulling her hair out trying to find gaudy, bright numbers for me. I was in men's magazine's all-time top ten worst suit wearers list, which I took as a compliment!" Do you have a say in choosing guests? "I have a hand in saying no to people rather than saying yes! There are some people who I think just aren't going to work. Even if they're a good tabloid name, I have to think: 'Will the audience like them?'" How do you manage to attract high-profile stars? "I'm easy and not going to ask them hard questions or grill them. I want everyone to have a nice time. It's not a confessional. Piers Morgan does a really good job on his chat show – and I loathe Piers Morgan so that takes a lot for me to say!" With so many presenters also wanting A-List celebs, has it become harder to get guests? "It'll always be a competition. Even if you're the only chat show in town, there will still be people you want that you don't get. All you can offer people is a bit of money and exposure, but the guests you want are very famous and rich so actually you can offer them nothing! It's a miracle any of us get any guests!" Who have been your favourite interviewees? "I adored Dolly Parton and Dustin Hoffman was great. More recently – Glenn Close and Barry Manilow. I've always wanted Madonna but I’m sure I’ll never have her on now. I would wet myself if she did!" Is there any truth in rumours you're taking over Paul O’Grady’s teatime slot on C4? "No, is the short, dull answer to that. C4 said it to us – they were sniffing round lots of people for that slot but we didn't sniff back because, well, we'd be crazy as we're just moving to BBC1." We're very excited you're presenting Andrew Lloyd Webber's new talent search for his stage version The Wizard of Oz next year! "I have a job for the new year – woo-hoo! It’ll be great and I'm so glad Andrew still wants me to do. I'm so fond of Andrew; he's one of the good people. I've been to see Connie Fisher, Lee Mead and Jodie Prenger on stage and it was thrilling seeing them in their respective shows – I felt really proud of them!"
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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