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The Graham Norton Show

BBC One and BBC Two chat show hosted by Graham Norton. 433 episodes (28 series), 2007 - 2021. Stars Graham Norton.

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Series 16 - Eddie Redmayne, Bradley Wiggins, Liam Neeson, Anna Kendrick, Conchita

Graham is joined by Eddie Redmayne, surrounded by Oscar buzz for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins, talking about the thrills and spills of winning Olympic gold and the Tour de France; Hollywood star Liam Neeson talking about new thriller Taken 3; Oscar-nominated actress Anna Kendrick talking about new musical Into The Woods; and Eurovision winner Conchita, singing Rise Like A Phoenix. Plus the funniest red chairs from the year.

Further details

In an hour-long New Year's Eve special, Graham brings 2014 to a close with Hollywood star Liam Neeson, hot rising star Eddie Redmayne, Oscar-nominated actress Anna Kendrick, Olympic gold cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins and Eurovision-winner Conchita.

Liam, talking about his slightly reluctant decision to do Taken 3, says, "I said the second one wouldn't happen and I said I wouldn't do a third one if someone got taken. It's insulting to an audience as well as me. It's a good storyline and I'm the hunted instead of the hunter." Discussing the trailer for the film, he adds, "I hate trailers, they give everything away. There's no mystery anymore."

Revealing the franchise may not have been the best advertisement for international travel among Americans, Liam says, "Just the other day I got a letter from a school teacher in Texas who had tried to take 60 students to Europe and the families of 40 of them got the kids out of it because they had seen Taken 2. And then this year she wanted to take 20 of them and the parents all said, 'No, because we've seen that movie!'"

Asked what it is like playing an action hero at his age, he says, "I have a great stunt double. We have done 16 films together and he is younger than me. He does all the stunts but I do like to do the fighting scenes but he does all the serious stuff."

Revealing what happened when he met his own all time hero, Liam says, "When I met Muhammad Ali for the first time I had shaky, wobbly knees and almost lost control of my bowels. He was my idol, he still is. There he was standing in front of me and it's like this god, this athlete and he's looking at me and for a moment I thought I was going to lose it."

Anna, talking about her new movie Into The Woods, and describing the stellar cast as, "A bit intimidating," says of Stephen Sondheim, "He was there for most of the filming, which was incredible but totally terrifying because it's his work, he is a genius, and he is not a man that would mince his words. He does not suffer fools and he's really intense. He was re-writing some of the lyrics to my song so he was there for the recording session and was coming in handing me new lyrics to try and every time he would leave I was like, 'Look at me collaborating with Stephen Sondheim.' And every time he came back in I was like, 'Yes sir, yes sir, anything you want!' It was a confusing day for me emotionally. There were highs and lows."

Asked if she ever thought the old lyrics were better than the new, she says, "The trouble is, he's so clever that the old lyrics are so good and the new lyrics are so good it was an embarrassment of riches, from a very, very grumpy man!"

Talking about the resurgence of musicals, she says, "I feel really grateful that I'm living in this moment when movie musicals are getting made and I can't stop myself from jumping on every boat that will have me. I feel quite greedy at the moment!" Asked if the Wicked movie will happen, she says coyly, "What movie? I don't know, I don't think so. I've no idea."

Asked about having to audition for roles she says, "I have sometimes auditioned for something and got the casting notes that say, 'Anna Kendrick type'. It should be flattering that I'm a shoe-in, but it's so much worse if I don't get the part - that I am so bad at playing my own type of character! That has happened."

Eddie, talking about his new Golden Globe and SAG Award nominated movie The Theory of Everything, says, "You chase around pretending to be really confident to get the job and you persuade people that they should hire you. Then you get the call to say they have hired you and you have a moment of euphoria followed by a sucker punch of fear because you are playing someone real and they are going to see the film. I didn't sleep for nine months!"

Revealing his first meeting with Stephen Hawking didn't go quite as he had planned, "I'd spent four months researching everything about him - he'd gone from icon to full on idol status. When you meet him there is this very unique rhythm in talking to him with long, long pauses. I have a hatred of silences and I proceeded to spew forth information about Stephen Hawking to Stephen Hawking! It was catastrophic. It was a bad start.

"He was born on Galileo's birthday 300 years on. So I said, 'You were born on 8th January and I was born on the 6th of January, that means we are both Capricorns.' He looked at me and six minutes later - six minutes is a very long time - he said in his iconic voice, 'I am an astronomer, not an astrologer.' The thought that Stephen Hawking thinks the guy that is playing him in a film thinks he is Mystic Meg is too much to bear. It still makes me sweat!"

Asked if there might be an Oscar in the offing, Eddie says, "When Felicity Jones and I were cast in this we both got an amazing sense of privilege but also a sense of utter retching fear because we knew Stephen and his family would see the film. And when they saw the film and they were kind about it, for us that was just the greatest reward. The fact that people seem to be enjoying it means the world, but I think if you listen to all the buzz that's where madness lies."

Talking about another retching experience, Eddie reveals that being taken ill at the BAFTAs had lasting effects, "If that wasn't bad enough, randomly a couple of years later I was at a charity tennis match and Samuel L Jackson walked past and I introduced myself and I said hello to his friend and she said, 'We've actually met before. We met at the BAFTAs when you vomited on my shoes. I've never been able to wear them since.' It continues to haunt me!"

Bradley, asked if he is nearing retirement, says, "I love what I do. I absolutely love it. The Olympic games is the ultimate and if I'm going to finish my career another Olympics is the way to go out. I may then call it a day. Yes, I think so. I started 15 years ago with an Olympic games so why not go to Rio and end it there."

Talking about winning the grueling Tour de France, he says, "You do something for three weeks day in and day out and you get to the end in Paris and you almost don't realise what you've done. In some ways you just want to get home. For me it wasn't an enjoyable experience. When I look back now is was incredible but doing it, I wasn't overjoyed every day. The biggest moment wasn't standing on the podium in the Champs Elysees, it was leading out one of my best friends and world champion, Mark Cavendish - it was one of my dreams."

Preferring the Olympics, he says, "You have four years to enjoy it, for it to sink in and you can have a good time in four years! With the Tour [de France] you've got 11 months before it all starts again."

Confirming it's true that his wife carries his luggage when traveling for fear of him building his upper body strength, Bradley jokes, "My wife's a bit of a panel beater, she's a strong girl!"

Conchita performs Rise Like A Phoenix live in the studio and Graham introduces some of the year's funniest Red Chair stories.

Broadcast details

Wednesday 31st December 2014
60 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Liam Neeson Guest
Eddie Redmayne Guest
Bradley Wiggins (as Sir Bradley Wiggins) Guest
Anna Kendrick Guest
Thomas Neuwirth (as Conchita Wurst) Self
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Steve Smith Director
Jon Magnusson Series Producer
Rina Dayalji Producer
Pete Snell Producer
Graham Stuart Executive Producer


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