Series / The Graham Norton Show

The Graham Norton Show is a BBC chat show initially running on BBC Two from 2007, then on BBC One from 2009. Airing late on Friday evenings, it is hosted by Graham Norton (b 4 April 1963), famous for having played Fr. Noel Furlong in Father Ted, and currently as the British commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest (2014's winner, Austrian bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, is even one of his guests).

The show has a freewheeling style, with all guests coming on at the same time and talking with each other as much as Graham. The fun is helped along by Graham's affability, a research department that is exceptionally adept at digging up little details that even the guests have forgotten about, and a healthy amount of alcohol to loosen tongues.

The last part is occasionally responsible for sending shows off the rail, such as when Mark Wahlberg showed up drunk to one taping, more or less hijacked the proceedings, and made entertainment news headlines.

Most shows are capped with "Stories From The Red Chair", where audience members tell stories in the eponymous chair. If the story is uninteresting, or if Graham or guest simply takes a disliking to the person in the chair, the unfortunate individual is ejected thanks to a handy lever Graham keeps at his side.

The show itself is a successor to Norton's previous chat shows: So Graham Norton (1998—2002) and V Graham Norton (2002—2003) shown on Channel 4; and The Graham Norton Effect (2004), shown on Comedy Central.


Tropes associated with the show:

  • Accidental Innuendo: When Gerard Depardieu guest starred, he was given an interpretor called Aurelie. Midway through the show, Graham invoked this by asking "have you enjoyed Gerard, Aurelie?"note 
  • Actually Pretty Funny: These are the reactions of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender when they're shown some of the Rule 34 fan art of themselves.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Graham affectionately calls Robert De Niro 'Bob'. When he appeared with Tom Hiddlestone, the latter kept asking if he could call him that as well.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: After noticing James Corden had been flirting with both Jessica Biel and Bradley Cooper, Sarah Millican had this to say.
    "I've just realised I'm the only one on this couch you haven't hit on. Do something now!
  • Audience Participation:
    • Norton usually talks to audience members who have submitted stories (usually embarrassing) beforehand. Often, the person telling the story is a huge fan of one of the guests on that particular episode.
    • The audience is usually involved somehow with Norton's opening skit before the titles.
    • The "Story in the Red Chair" at the end of each episode, where a few members of the audience sit in the eponymous chair backstage, telling an embarrassing story about themselves to Norton and the guests through his computer screen. If the story is good, they are allowed to walk off but if it is bad or boring, Norton pulls a lever beside him and they are tossed backwards.
    • When Jennifer Aniston guest starred, Graham casually said "so no one told you life was gonna be this way" and the crowd did the synchronised clap from the Friends theme song. Jennifer was genuinely moved by the gesture. And they did it whenever someone else said that line throughout the episode.
    • When Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx appeared to promote The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Graham got several members to demonstrate their 'special abilities'.
  • Big Eater: Jessica Biel confessed to being one. She was on a strict diet for Total Recall but on her cheat day, happily describes herself as getting twenty four donuts from Dunkin' Donuts along with two large pizzas - and stuffing her face completely.
  • British Accents:
    • Micky Flanagan got Hayden Panettiere to do a rather convincing cockney accent - after she admitted not understanding half of what he was saying.
    • Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx were taught how to pronounce things in a cockney accent.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Hayden Panettiere parodied this when Graham remarked she didn't seem like a typical New Yorker. She proceeded to quote Goodfellas.
  • Butt Monkey: If Olly Murs appears, expect him to get an especially hard ribbing. Eddie Redmayne got roasted quite a bit as well.
  • Camp Gay: Graham Norton himself; he doesn't come off as flaming but his clothes and some of his mannerisms convey the theme. This apparently led to Stanley Tucci modelling his portrayal of Caesar Flickerman off him (as he related when he appeared on the show).
  • Canine Companion: Carrie Fisher brought her dog on with her.
  • Corpsing: Sometimes Graham has been reduced to hysterical laughter by a guest's story, or a Red Chair story.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The research department is able to discover some truly obscure and embarrassing facts about guests and have evidence prepared to back up their claims (such as somehow finding Melissa McCarthy's original headshots when she was convinced she had the only copies left). The show even has contingencies in place for if a guest takes the lever away from Graham to prevent him from flipping people in the Big Red Chair (he just has to mime cranking the lever to signal the booth to play the sound effect and activate the chair).
  • Even the Guys Want Him: James Corden describes his bromance with David Beckham as this. Apparently his girlfriend can tell when David sends him a text, from the giddy smile on his face.
  • Funny Foreigner: When Gérard Depardieu appeared on the show in 2012 and ended up telling Olly Murs that he would "look like bullshit" when he is older and calling Damian Lewis 'William'.
  • Furry Fandom: Turns out Eddie Redmayne is one, or was when he was younger. He confessed to having a distinctive crush on Nala and Maid Marian. He also agreed when Bradley Wiggins mentioned Cheetara. Anna Kendrick also admitted to fancying Disney's Robin Hood.
    Anna Kendrick: In Eddie's defence, they draw them really sexy.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Parodied when Michelle Pfeiffer censors herself, and claims the curse word was going to be 'hell'.
  • In Vino Veritas:
    • Practically every guest on the show is provided with alcohol before and during tapings which helps the wacky and loose style of the show. Mark Wahlberg once infamously came on completely soused and practically hijacked the show with his antics and rambling. Graham's response: "I've probably done worse."
    • The episode involving the three stars of The Monuments Men (Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Hugh Bonneville) also became infamous for this (since the three of them downed every glass served to them), with the antics being taken up a notch when Paloma Faith joined them on the couch. To quote their co-star George Clooney when he appeared in a later episode:
      George Clooney: They left the premiere, I left them drunk. And they got here, and they got drunker!
    • Hayden Panettiere had also had a few when she appeared alongside Dan Stevens and Micky Flanagan.
  • Insult Backfire: On an episode with Mila Kunis, Jude Law, Judi Dench and Olly Murs, Graham pulled up an tweet old Olly's - asking which celebrity he'd love to have babies with...and it was Mila Kunis. Olly buries his face in his hands, but Mila coos and says she's flattered.
  • Its Pronounced Tro Pay: Anne Hathaway admitted on the show that she used to pronounce 'orgy' with a hard g.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Graham Norton Show is considerably tamer and less sexual than his previous shows.
  • Mundane Utility: Kate Winslet confesses to keeping one of her Oscars in her bathroom - to allow anyone to play with it when they go in.
  • Odd Friendship: Sometimes, even the oddest guest combinations hit it off and produce the most interesting and funny episodes. In fact, a panel comprised of the major cast of one movie can normally be classified a bland episode—unless the cast hits off really well precisely because of their disparate backgrounds.
  • Oh Crap!: Liam Neeson when he meet his first confirmed fan in one episode. At first, he thought she was someone else...
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Discussed with regards to Olly Murs and Mila Kunis - Graham saying they wouldn't work as a couple because their names wouldn't lend themselves to this. Mila still suggested 'Ollala'.
  • Self-Deprecation: Bradley Cooper described seeing a paparazzi photo of himself and Ryan Gosling. He noted Gosling looked like he'd just come from a photo shoot, "while I look like that neighbour that never leaves his house."
  • Separated by a Common Language: Anna Kendrick trying to explain to the British audience what power bars and trail mix are.
  • Skewed Priorities: Parodied by Dominic West when he mentions defending himself in an online forum.
    "You may think I'm talentless but I'm not fat."
  • Spiritual Successor: To Norton's previous shows mentioned above.
  • Studio Audience: Always filmed in front of one, and Norton interacts with them at least once per show.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Emma Stone meant to say she was in China and saw a woman using a toilet on the floor. What she actually said: she saw a woman pooing on the floor.
  • Time Passage Beard: Many people were surprised when Graham came back from hiatus with a full beard in Series 17 (which he's kept since). He explained that he didn't have much to do during the break and got bored.
  • V Sign: Daniel Radcliffe did this to Norton good-naturedly after being ribbed by Norton about the hair extensions he was wearing at the time.