The Graham Norton Show. Graham Norton. Copyright: So Television.

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, Episode 19 - Celia Imrie, Sean Penn, Ross Noble, Kelly Clarkson

Sean Penn reveals his parenting skills, Celia Imrie says she was shocked at her big-screen appearance, Ross Noble says he's practicing hard for his stage role, while Kelly Clarkson performs live in the studio.

Further details

Sean Penn, talking about his fans and asked whether, given his usual onscreen persona, he intimidates people, says, "In the street some shout macho language that isn't appropriate for this show! It tends to be that people are either civil with me, which means they say nothing, or they have something not kind to say." In response to the audience's sympathy he adds, "I like it!"

Talking about his new film The Gunman, he says, "It's by the same director as Taken so it's a geriatric gunman movie!" Adding, "It has an exceptional cast including Mark Rylance - he is extraordinary and I've wanted to see him in movies more and to work with him for a long time, but dragging him off the stage into a movie was challenging and worthwhile. I love him."

Revealing fight scenes don't pose a problem for the physically fit actor, Sean says, "It's easy when you are working with people that are very skilled, but it's tricky because you can hurt each other - of course you try not to do that and still have energy. I enjoy doing it - it's an exercise of a skill set." Asked if he keeps in shape in the gym or really just by surfing, he says, "There's a lot of fighting so I did a lot of that and I stopped smoking for a while."

On his mother's disapproval of his early career, he says, "She wasn't encouraging. She came to the first thing I did in the theatre and thought it was awful and started to talk about what I should fall back on. And there wasn't an awful lot to talk about there!" Asked if she is happy now he's turned that around, he says, "With some performances she feels that way but she still maintains her opinions!"

Talking about his own parenting skills, and asked if he was a relaxed father where his daughter's dating was concerned, he says, "She was sixteen when the first one [suitor] came to the door so that was 16 years of waiting for that moment. I ordered her to her room because it was my night! I was very nice but said, 'You need to get my daughter home early and if you don't, whatever you do with her while you are out, I will do to you when you get her home!' I thought his laughter was nervous laughter but it was laughing at me. It turned out he was a three-times mixed martial arts champion and he found the whole threat pretty humorous."

Sean reveals himself to be unlikely prankster on his film sets, "In I Am Sam there was a scene where Pfieffer's character and mine took their affection for each other too far and we had to kiss. I wanted her to know that I was kissing her as my character and not as me, so I stripped off to reveal I was wearing an adult diaper. It was definitely an icebreaker!"

Talking about a very early role as an extra in Little House on the Prairie, in which he took method acting to extraordinary lengths, he says, "It was the first time I was on a set as an actor and I was wearing a very heavy woollen suit in 106 degrees. When everyone broke for lunch I didn't think it was appropriate to break out of the story we were telling to go to a catered lunch so I stayed in character in the sun. After lunch they came back and said, 'action,' and I found I could do an Irish jig and then fall right down - neither of which were scripted but my feet started doing that because I had sunstroke. So I've been going to catered lunches ever since!"

Celia Imrie, talking about appearing in Star Wars says, "The bizarre thing was that the casting director happened to see me in a very serious play with Harold Pinter. I got to kiss him every night in my nightie and the casting director obviously took one look at me and thought I would make a good fighter pilot in Star Wars! The thing is, I had no idea who I was fighting, whether I won, whether I survived or who I was shooting at, but I did have a rather gorgeous costume. I hadn't got a clue. I do remember I got told off for wearing too much makeup. George Lucas sent a message down saying, 'Get that girl to take her lipstick off! Obviously I disobeyed him."

Talking about the rather harsh lighting while filming The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India, she says, "We didn't have any fancy lighting or anything. It was just the bright, bright heat of the sun. First of all, I think I am 26 still but I'm not and at the screening we all looked at ourselves and came out in absolute shock. The director caught us all stunned and asked what the matter was and when we told him we all looked so old he just roared with laughter."

Revealing it was once suggested by a Hollywood agent that they would expect her to have some work done, she says, "The shocking thing is that I was thinking I would have to have something done, but I didn't. I think the pressure Hollywood actresses are under is very unkind. Let them be I say."

Revealing that the famous scene in Calendar Girls, in which she posed naked apart for some strategically placed iced buns, still haunts her, Celia says, "I was in Paris walking down the Champs Elysees and along comes this rather good looking man with a bit of twinkle in his eye. He stops and looks me right in the chest and said, 'Aha, le grand gâteaux!'"

Ross Noble, talking about joining the cast of The Producers, where he has to sing and dance, says, "It's a bit weird. When I walked into the rehearsal room and it's straight out of kids from Fame, they've all got their leg warmers on and I amble in and say, 'Right then, shall we get dancing?'" Asked if he is good, he says, "Well, I'm enjoying it! I've got a while and put it this way, I'm practising hard."

Kelly Clarkson performs Heartbeat Song live in the studio before joining Graham for a chat.

And finally, Graham, with more than a little help from Sean, pulls the lever on more foolhardy audience members brave enough to sit in the Red Chair.


Richard Gere was originally billed to appear in this episode.

Broadcast details

Friday 20th February 2015
60 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Ross Noble Guest
Celia Imrie Guest
Sean Penn Guest
Kelly Clarkson Guest
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Steve Smith Director
Jon Magnusson Series Producer
Rina Dayalji Producer
Pete Snell Producer
Adam Read Producer
Graham Stuart Executive Producer


Ross Noble's lessons in parenting

Ross Noble jokes about using his kids to scare people.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Ross Noble.

Sean Penn on his daughter's first date

Sean Penn talks about his daughter's first date.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Sean Penn.

Sean Penn and the red chair

Sean Penn enjoys using the lever on the red chair.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Sean Penn.


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