Graham Norton: ‘I don’t want a statue of me!’

Graham Norton will be hosting the BAFTA TV Awards live from Festival Hall on London’s South Bank on Sunday (BBC1). We caught up with the Irish chat show star to discuss what he’s been watching this year and why he’d move tables if the cast of Made In Chelsea sat next to him at a restaurant..

How many years have you hosted the BAFTA TV Awards now?
“I’m not sure! I did it a long time ago and then had a bit of a break, because it used to alternate between BBC and ITV. I think this is my seventh. I was going to do it last year, but it clashed with Eurovision!”

Is it true you fell over and broke your rib after having too much to drink one year?
“Three ribs thank you very much! That was the last time I did it at Festival Hall and I was very drunk at the time, but I’ve been drunk on those stairs a lot! I didn’t do it at the venue though, I did it at home after the ceremony…”

You’ve won a few BAFTAs in years gone by, where do you keep them?
“They’re on a shelf because I am proud of them! They are prestigious and it does mean something if you win one so I think it is a bit disingenuous to hide them away in the attic or something. They’re not lit though!”

You’ve been nominated again this year in the Best Entertainment Performance category. How do you rate your chances against Ant and Dec, Sarah Millican and Alan Carr?
“It’s such a strong field isn’t it? Personally I’d give it to Ant and Dec because I don’t think they were up for it last year and didn’t win it. This year’s I’m A Celebrity… was so good. They’re the best in the business so they probably deserve the prize.”

Is there a rivalry between you and fellow chat show host Alan Carr?
“Well there’s always a bit of rivalry because there are only so many guests for our shows and they’re hard to get! We all film in the same studios as well so we sometimes bump into each other and ask ‘who have you got tonight?'”

Which one of your guests have you been most excited about recently?
“Tom Cruise was pretty good – I still can’t believe he showed up! Everyone wants him to be horrible or weird, but he’s just not. If it’s an act then it’s a very good act – I wish all our guests were Scientologists, because him and Will Smith are brilliant!”

What’s your favourite thing on TV at the moment?
“Recently I’ve been obsessed by Broadchurch. It’s so good! David Tennant’s got his mojo back and Olivia Colman – who’s got two nominations this year – is great. I’m sort of in love with her. I interviewed her on the radio and she’s so lovely and a fantastic actress!”

Do you still get nervous about presenting it? It must be tricky presenting a live award ceremony?
“Yes it is, a couple of years back there was a bit of a technology malfunction! You have a mic in your ear so the producer can speak to you, but some mad presenters have it set so you can hear EVERYTHING that’s going on in the production room. You can hear the director calling the camera shots, people discussing things and everything else.

“Why anyone would want to have it like that is beyond me – but there you go. Anyway, one year mine got stuck in that mode and it was terrible! There’s no way of telling them to turn it off once it’s started, so I was going through it with this cacophony going on my ear!”

What’s been your favourite show of the last 12 months?
“The Great British Bake-Off has become so big and I love it. It’s one of those great hits that are just inexplicable. I couldn’t tell anyone why it’s such a great show! I don’t bake myself, but I love it.”

America’s had a bit of a golden age when it comes to TV, do you think British television is having a resurgence?
“I do! We’ve have some great things on TV of late and in a way I think Sky have helped by making everyone raise their game, because they’re investing in new writing. Downton helped as well, because it showed that if you spend money on something then you’ll be rewarded because you can sell it around the world.”

Do you watch TOWIE or Made In Chelsea?
“I occasionally dip into TOWIE, but Made In Chelsea is unwatchable. If you were in a restaurant, you’d move tables, so why would you invite them into your home by having them on your television?”

I hear they’re putting up a statue to you in your hometown in Ireland…
“They haven’t made one yet thank god. Thank you for reminding me – I must write to them and beg them not to. It’s such a waste of money and it would look hideous!”

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