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.

Episode menu

Series 14, Episode 4 - Elton John, Judi Dench, John Bishop, Jeremy Paxman

Elton John says it's all about his children now, Judi Dench talks about the pressure of playing a living breathing person, Jeremy Paxman says politicians are odd, and John Bishop reveals he was flummoxed when he first met Judi.

Preview clips

Further details

Elton John, talking about his 31st studio album, says, "It's a simple album and it's one of my favourites. I don't really see the point of making a record if you don't try and make it better. There's no point in carrying on otherwise. I'm singing better and playing better, it's very relaxed and I'm very happy with it," Adding jokingly, "My record company wanted me to do a Christmas album but that is so silly. I'll leave that to Rod Stewart. Having said that, his album is doing better than mine!"

Now fully recovered, Elton says of his recent illness, "I did nine concerts and 24 flights with a burst appendix. I don't know how I did it. It was huge when it came out! I am very lucky to be here."

Talking about the perils of instant fame, he says, "The type of celebrity that television shows give you these days, without the experience of playing live, means you are just thrown to the wolves. Getting experience by being in a band and earning very little from what you love doing gives you the backbone, mettle and experience you will need later in life. I don't dislike the people on these shows but feel sorry for them, they win the show, make their record and the next year it's someone else."

On changes in his life and being a father of two, he says, "Every where I go they come with me. I love having them with me and I can't bear not having them there. They come back stage at 6.30 for tubby time (bath time) and a story from daddy and papa, that's the ritual and then they go back to the hotel and I go on stage covered in bubbles."

Talking about what will happen when Zachery goes to school next year, he says, "I will take him and pick him up. I'm going to make sure I am around. My touring schedule and my whole life will change. It has to because it's all about my children and I want to give them a life with their parents. I'm 66 now and I don't have to tour. Having the children has changed my life and the way I think. I have never felt love like this. There's not a word in the dictionary that describes that love. Those kids have given me more pleasure in three years than I have had in the rest of my life."

On the movie his production company is making of his life, he says, "I didn't want it to be a flippant film. It's based on fact but there is a lot of fiction in it because I don't want just the usual biopic and my life has been so surreal. I've spent a lot of time with Tom [Hardy] already and we get on like a house on fire. We are very much alike - you wouldn't think so and certainly not physically. I wanted a serious actor and I'm so thrilled he is doing it."

Talking about is royal fans, Elton says, "Princess Margaret and I became friends. I took her to the cinema once at the Odeon Kensington. We had a lovely time and then we went out to dinner and I took her home. Nothing happened of course! I also once danced with Princess Anne at Prince Andrew's 21st Birthday and The Queen came over and said, 'May I join you', we danced to Bill Hayley's Rock Around the Clock. I was one of the most surreal moments of my life. Having been born in a council house in Pinner the chances of dancing with The Queen at Windsor Castle were pretty long."

Judi Dench, recalling her own royal story, says, "I was at a party with Ian McKellen at Buckingham Palace. I can't remember why we were there but we slipped into a room to change and we were feeling around in the dark and he suddenly felt something and said, 'Good grief, this is a very high chair, with a great tall back,' I think we were sitting on a throne!"

Talking about her new film, Philomena, she says, "The thing I am most thrilled about is that it is about somebody that is alive, a very remarkable person. When you are making a film about someone that is living and breathing with a great story, you have a huge responsibility for it to be truthful and honest about the story. Once she liked it that was fine for me."

John Bishop, talking about meeting Judi before, says, "We were introduced at a party but I was flummoxed and all I could say was, 'I've seen Skyfall twice and I've seen you die twice and I didn't want it to happen. You were lovely and said, 'Where are you from, Newcastle?'"

Jeremy Paxman pops in for some questioning and when asked about that beard and was he aware of the fuss it would cause, says, "No, it's stupid, but I didn't. We'd been on holiday and I was going back to the office and about to shave but thought, 'Why should I?' So I kept it and reckoned without the silly season. There was nothing else to write about apart from Simon Cowell's baby and fracking. It was a bit of a no-brainer had I thought about it."

Talking about the news he says, "I think the public are fed up with posturing politicians, they realise we have loads of difficult intractable problems and politicians saying they are going to solve things is rubbish. People are wise, they understand how difficult it is."

Asked by John if he is ever tempted to tell politicians to shut up and what they are talking about is a load of rubbish, Jeremy says, "The thought has crossed my mind."

Asked about his questioning technique and reminded that he asked Michael Howard the same question 12 times, he says, "It is frustrating. I have no constitutional entitlement, all I have is opportunity and if you ask a question you must try and get an answer or you get to the point where it is abundantly clear there is no answer. That is the only function of an interviewer."

John interjects, "They are not normal people. You should not be allowed to be a politician unless you've had a least one job." Agreeing, Jeremy says, "They should have done something else in the world. They are not all charlatans, some of them are good people but it is an odd thing to want to do."

Jeremy puts questions to Graham and his guests in a very special University Challenge before Elton performs Voyeur live in the studio.


Jay Z was originally scheduled to be in this episode, but the booking was changed in mid-October.

Broadcast details

Friday 1st November 2013
50 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Monday 4th November 2013 11:50pm BBC1

Cast & crew

Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
John Bishop Guest
Judi Dench (as Dame Judi Dench) Guest
Elton John (as Sir Elton John) Guest
Jeremy Paxman Guest
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Steve Smith 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


Sir Elton John danced with the Queen

Sir Elton John tells a story of dancing with the Queen and royal family at Windsor Castle.

Featuring: Graham Norton, John Bishop, Dame Judi Dench & Sir Elton John.

Dame Judi Dench goes clubbing

Graham jokes with Dame Judi Dench about going clubbing.

Featuring: Graham Norton, John Bishop, Dame Judi Dench & Sir Elton John.

Graham's guests play University Challenge

Graham swaps seats with Jeremy Paxman and plays University Challenge with the other guests.

Featuring: Graham Norton, John Bishop, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Elton John & Jeremy Paxman.

Share this page