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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 18, Episode 17 - Sir Elton John, Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz

Elton John hints at retirement to spend more time with his children, and Jack Black says he embarrasses his kids. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Penelope Cruz give a Blue Steel master class.

Further details

Elton John, asked about rumours of retirement, says, "I'm gradually going to wind down because I want to see my boys grow up. What's the point of having children if you don't spend time with them. At the moment I see a lot of them but I don't see enough of them so we're getting to the point, over the next few years, when we'll be winding down. I've had so many years on the road and so many concerts but the most important thing in our life are our children and I don't want to leave them behind and it's not as if I am mid career - I'm like the Gracie Fields of rock!

"They are so beautiful and so funny and I don't want to miss it. I would hate to do that and I want to be there for them. You can have any hit record you want, any great tour, and any great success but it doesn't compare to one second with your kids."

Asked by Jack Black if he is actually gearing up for the farewell tour, Elton says, "I'm gearing down but I'm not stopping yet. I'm not quite old enough, but there will be a time when that will happen."

Talking about his new album, Wonderful Crazy Night, he says, "It's happy. I wanted to write an upbeat record because I am in a good place in my life at the moment and I haven't done a rock and roll album since the 70s. Sometimes things don't work out but this turned out brilliantly." Asked why the song about his children didn't make it to the final album, he says, "It just didn't fit with the others. It was really sweet but it was a little bit twee."

Asked about being a hands on dad and keeping life normal for his children, he says, "I do the school run, of course I do, and then on Saturdays we go to Pizza Hut and then to Waterstones to buy books. It's all very normal. It's hard to keep things real because we don't really live real lives. We live in a rarified atmosphere so they have to learn the importance of earning their pocket money by doing chores. I'm already planning for when they grow up and they get an old Vauxhall. They are not getting a brand new car."

Asked about building bridges with Madonna, he says, "I said something horrible about her that you should never say. I was in a restaurant in the south of France a couple of years ago and she walked in so I sent her a note saying, 'You'll probably never speak to me again but I am really sorry and ashamed of myself and can I buy you dinner?'. She was very gracious and accepted and we talked. We are fine - it was just me and my big mouth." Jokingly adding, "I can't say it won't happen again," swiftly adding, "but not with Madonna!"

Jack Black, talking about his children, says, "I was able to put on a special screening of Goosebumps at my kids' school, which was pretty thrilling for them. It was cool but they didn't want to sit with me. It just goes to show that no matter how cool your dad is, it's still very embarrassing to sit with them."

Asked if he is a strict father, says, "I am where schedules are concerned. I like the boys to be in bed on time so they get up for school on time. I may seem like a slacker but I have a weird phobia about being late."

Admitting he went a bit crazy in his attempts to get his children into a good school, Jack says, "We wanted to get them into this Hebrew school and it was a tough competitive situation. The schools in LA are impossible to get into and we had been rejected from one so when we were invited in for an interview I wanted to make a good impression and went a little overboard. I was saying, 'I am so Jewish, I remember all the Passovers from when I was a kid,' and then I started singing a Passover prayer. I'm not a practising sort of guy and haven't been to the synagogue for over 30 years but we got in so it was worth the singing audition!"

Arriving straight from the premiere of Zoolander 2, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Penelope Cruz join Graham for a chat about the movie.

Ben, talking about the slow burning success of Zoolander, says, "When it first came out it was the opposite of 'immediate hit', but over the years it's developed this sort of cult following. We would probably have done a sequel straight away but no one wanted it. The first time around the fashion world didn't know what we were doing but over the years they have taken to it so the second time around it was great to have real fashion icons as part of the movie."

Owen interjects, "Over the years it sort of developed and people would come up and mention it but it wasn't really until we did the Valentino catwalk in Paris that we thought, 'wow, there really is some excitement for the characters.'"

Talking about writing Penelope's part especially for her, Ben says, "She is a beautiful person and an amazing actor and I just wanted to hang out with her."

Penelope, talking about her role in the movie says, "I was a huge fan of the first film. I had seen it six or seven times and was one of those people that memorise the dialogue so when Ben called me I was so happy to hear there was going to be a second one and on top of that, I was going to be in it!"

Asked about having to learn English when she arrived in Hollywood, she says, "When I first arrived I spoke so little and basically just knew my lines. I used to freak out because I didn't know what the actors and director were saying - it was very frustrating. I even embarrassed myself at the hairdresser when I asked for a blow job."

When Ben demonstrates Zoolander's signature look, Blue Steel, Elton quips "It's just like Victoria Beckham."

Ben and Owen try to recreate the premiere's record-breaking selfie with Graham and his audience with disastrous results.

Elton performs Blue Wonderful live in the studio.

Broadcast details

Friday 5th February 2016
50 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Jack Black Guest
Elton John (as Sir Elton John) Guest
Ben Stiller Guest
Owen Wilson Guest
Penelope Cruz Guest
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Dan Gaster Writer
Production team
Steve Smith Director
Jon Magnusson Series Producer
Rina Dayalji Producer
Pete Snell Producer
Vicky Taylor Producer
Graham Stuart Executive Producer


Crazy Celebrity Selfie

This stick sets a new Guinness World Record.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Jack Black, Sir Elton John, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz.

Jack Black Can't Remember The Words

Jack Black tries too hard to remember the words to Elton John classics.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Jack Black, Sir Elton John.

Blue Steel

Ben Stiller teaches Elton John how to 'Blue Steel'.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Sir Elton John, Ben Stiller.


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