Series 18, Episode 6 - Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Justin Bieber
Maggie Smith, making her first British chat show appearance since 1973, and commenting on the 42-year gap, says, "I never thought this day would come! It's a long time since the last one. I was with Kenneth Williams and he didn't draw breath so I just sat there."
Talking about Downton coming to an end, she says, "I'm glad it's over, I really am. By the time we finished she [the Countess of Grantham] must have been about 110. It couldn't go on and on, it just didn't make sense.
"It's only since Downton that people seem to recognise me. That's television for you. I was in Waitrose the other day and a little boy was at the checkout with his mother and he kept looking at me. When I asked him, 'Can I help you?' he said, 'No, it's alright, it'll come to me in a minute.' It was so lovely."
Asked if she's watched the series, Maggie pauses, and intimating 'no' with a shake of her head, says, "I've got the box set."
Not giving anything away about the Christmas episode, she says, "I pleaded for something to happen to me! Asked if she will be in the proposed movie she says, "I can't. What age would she be?"
Asked if The Queen is a fan, she says, "I was told that she watches it, but then a gentleman at the palace told me she likes Midsomer Murders - I didn't take it badly!"
Talking about the use of 'Dame' on credits she says, "I'm not that when I'm working because you don't use it professionally," Adding jokingly, "Unless you are Sir King Bensley that is!"
Asked about working with Lawrence Olivier in the 1960s, Maggie says, "I was in awe of him, he had great authority. When we doing Othello he was a bit cross with me and hit me very hard one night. I fell to the floor and Edward Petherbridge who was playing a Venetian gentleman apparently said, 'Oh Mags!' I don't remember because I went out - I definitely saw stars at the National Theatre!"
Talking about being in Harry Potter, she says, "It changed my life. There were a lot of small people who said hello, which was nice. A whole different lot of people know me because of it. It was like I'd never existed before. One child asked me, 'Were you really once a cat?' and I heard myself say, 'Pull yourself together, how could I have been!'"
Alex Jennings, talking about Lady In The Van, in which he plays Alan Bennett alongside Maggie's character, he says, "I play two different versions - the writer who is observing Alan Bennett and Alan Bennett himself." Maggie interjects, "Alex is more convincing as Alan Bennett than Alan Bennett! And when Alan Bennett was on set it was creepy because there were so many of them!"
Talking more about playing the two characters, Alex says, "For American audiences they had to do some re-writes to explain it, just in case they thought the two versions were twins!"
Bradley Cooper, talking about his new film Burnt, in which he plays a top chef, admits he got a little queasy while preparing food, "There was one scene with all these grouse and I'm leaning against the counter because I thought I was going to faint, actually pass out. I had to cut the heads off the birds and my hands were shaking. It was actually very intense."
Asked if he has retained the skills he learnt preparing for the film with the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White and Marcus Wareing, he says, "A lot of things go in and out for me. You train a lot and you can do it for that time and then it's gone."
Talking about Clint Eastwood, who he work with on American Sniper, he says, "I had put myself on tape for every one of his films since Flags Of Our Fathers because he doesn't like meeting actors he just watches them on tape. It's kind of smart of him. Because he's an actor, he just can't bear being in the room with someone to give bad news."
Sienna Miller, talking about working on American Sniper, admits to being intimidated by Clint Eastwood, "I couldn't speak much at the beginning but he's very warm, loving, sweet and calm. He's completely disarming."
Sienna, asked about her own new found cooking skills since co-starring in Burnt, says, "I can cook fish quite well because I must have cooked about 500 pieces of it during filming. And I learnt to fillet a turbot, which sounds pretty inane until you see what it is. It's like a rhinoceros that has been flattened so it's a pretty impressive thing to be able to do. I went off to the farmers' market the other day and bought a whole turbot, I got it home and then just hacked at it. It was awful and I froze this mangled piece of fish."
Justin Bieber performs What Do You Mean live in the studio and joins Graham for a quick chat.
Talking about his single being number one, he says, "It's great that people accept my music and not make it about my personal life. That's why I started in the first place and it feels really good. I'm growing up and my music is growing up and it feels fun."
Asked if his song is a cry from the heart to the women of the world, Justin says, "Yep, because I never know what they mean. We boys needed an anthem!"
- Friday 30th October 2015
- BBC One
- 50 minutes
Cast & crew
|Graham Norton||Host / Presenter|
|Jon Magnusson||Series Producer|
|Graham Stuart||Executive Producer|
Maggie Smith discusses being recognised by fans of Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.