The Graham Norton Show. Graham Norton. Credit: So Television, Christopher Baines
The Graham Norton Show

The Graham Norton Show

  • TV chat show
  • BBC One / BBC Two
  • 2007 - 2024
  • 494 episodes (31 series)

Comic chat show presented by Graham Norton. The biggest names in showbiz join the host on his sofa.

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Series 14, Episode 12 - Idris Elba, Olivia Colman, Lena Dunham

Idris Elba talks about Nelson Mandela, Olivia Colman says winning two BAFTAs was a bit overwhelming, Lena Dunham reveals she's not great at sex scenes and Keane confirm the band is taking a break.

Preview clips

Further details

Idris Elba, talking the timing of the premiere of his film Long Walk to Freedom and the death of Nelson Mandela, says, "It was crazy. I was in Leicester Square for the biggest moment of my life and the night ended with the announcement that Mr Mandela had passed. It was bitter sweet. The audience was stunned into silence, it was weird."

Revealing he almost turned down the role, he says, "I thought it was a joke and that my agent was taking the mickey. I was like, 'Come on, Morgan Freeman must be available. Why are you calling me?' And then I was really nervous about taking the role. I thought, 'If I mess this up, it's curtains for Idris.' I didn't turn it down, I just took my time to answer."

On perfecting his accent for the role, he says, "My father's voice was like Mr Mandela's, at least in my head. It's an interpretation of his voice and I don't think it's perfect. Because I don't look like him, I wanted to give the audience something they could hold on to and the voice was it."

Talking about spending a night in a cell on Robben Island to prepare for the role, he says, "It was terrible, it's haunted."

Asked if a movie of Luther is on the cards, he says, "We're trying to make it and I think it would live well on the silver screen. It's a long process, but I think we are getting there."

Reminded he was hailed as the second sexiest man alive by People Magazine, and asked why he hasn't done many sex scenes, Idris says, "I tend not to do them very often as I don't get offered romantic leading men roles."

Revealing a recent tweet, in which he appeared semi-naked, was sent in error, he says, "I was sending it to a chick and by mistake I tweeted it. It was a horrible moment but it could have been worse!"

Olivia Colman, on winning two BAFTAs last year reveals she sloped off from the awards early, "It was very exciting but a bit overwhelming and a bit much. So after dinner I said to my husband, 'I want to go home, put my socks on and have a cup of tea.' And we snuck off."

Asked why she isn't reprising her role alongside David Tennant in the US version of Broadchurch, she says, "I'm not in it but I'm busy doing other things." Asked if she would liked to have done it, she says jokingly, "I would quite liked to have had the option to say 'no.'"

Revealing her somewhat unorthodox preparation for playing Carol Thatcher in The Iron Lady, she says, "I should make something up, but actually I watched I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here."

Lena Dunham, talking about her hit show, Girls, says, "I play a version of myself, not my exact self." Asked about her apparent lack of vanity in the show, she says, "Maybe I should have more vanity - maybe life would be better - but it all just adds to the effect of what we are doing."

On doing one particularly long take for a sex scene, she says, "We had been shooting for about five hours and I wanted to get out of there but the director said, 'You need to do it one more time because you look like you are being murdered and you need to look like you might be enjoying it just for one minute!"

Keane perform Everybody's Changing before joining Graham for a chat. Confirming the band is splitting, Tom Chaplin says "We're going to take a bit of a break. It's over for a while."


Michael Fassbender was originally billed as appearing on this episode.

Broadcast details

Friday 17th January 2014
50 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Tuesday 21st January 2014 12:05am BBC1
Tuesday 21st January 2014 12:45am BBC1 Wales

Cast & crew

Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Olivia Colman Guest
Idris Elba Guest
Lena Dunham Guest
Tom Chaplin (as Keane) Guest
Tim Rice-Oxley (as Keane) Guest
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Nikki Parsons Director
Jon Magnusson Series Producer
Rina Dayalji Producer
Pete Snell Producer
Alan Thorpe Producer
Graham Stuart Executive Producer
Perry Widdowson Editor
Chris Webster Production Designer
Jonathan Whitehead (as Trellis) Composer


Flirty text messages

Graham talks to an audience member about flirty text messages and then the guests write a response.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Olivia Colman, Lena Dunham & Idris Elba.

Idris Elba on sex scenes

Graham chats to Idris Elba about his lack of sex scenes.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Olivia Colman, Lena Dunham & Idris Elba.

Olivia Colman's bad audition

Graham chats with Lena Dunham about clubbing and Olivia Colman about her bad audition.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Olivia Colman, Lena Dunham & Idris Elba.

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