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.

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Series 20 - Graham Norton's Big Red Chair

The Graham Norton Show. Graham Norton. Copyright: So Television
Graham Norton goes behind the scenes of TV's most famous comfy chair to meet the people who have entertained the nation with their stories. Sometimes.

Preview clips

Further details

Graham Norton goes behind the scenes of his award-winning chat show to tell the story of his famous Big Red Chair. He meets again some of the people who entertained the nation with their tales and shares the secret of how not to get flipped.

Conceived in 2009 as a tribute to one of Graham's favourite guests of all time, the late Ronnie Corbett and his famous seated monologues, the Big Red Chair became an instant hit with audience members who queued up to tell their funny, and not so funny, stories.

Celebrating the history of British television's most famous piece of furniture, the programme reveals how this extraordinary chair came to be a universally loved feature of The Graham Norton Show and relives classic anecdotes from the 500 stories broadcast so far.

Who can forget Aileen from Derry and her ill-fated leap into the wrong car wearing a scarf over her face screaming "go, go, go!" which understandably terrified the driver?

Aileen became an overnight Internet sensation and says of her Big Red Chair experience, "I never expected so many people to see it. People would stop their cars to get a photograph with me, I was messaged me from all over the world and I had a few marriage proposals! I never thought how much of an impact my story would have!"

Or Howie Moon from New York whose trip to the gynaecologist as interpreter for his Chinese mum resulted in him finding out that his elderly parents had a very active sex life. Considerably more active than his own...

Talking about the reaction to his revelations, Howie says, "When she found out I had told the story my mum thought I was crazy and said, 'Why didn't you tell the story about how we struggled to come to America?' My dad was pretty proud though and said, 'How do I find this on YouTube so I can show my friends!'"

And, Graham relives the sad story of Thomas from Durham whose failed final attempt to fix a date with audience member Jessica live in the studio resulted in the ultimate failure. He is now the number-one hit on YouTube as a man rejected on national television.

Graham also looks back at the Big Red Chair sitters who didn't make it to the end of their stories and some of those who didn't even reach the beginning. He also celebrates the Big Red Chair role with some the show's 'A' list celebrity guests, including Tom Hanks, Russell Crowe, Matt Damon, Madonna, Adele, and Tom Cruise.

Broadcast details

Friday 6th January 2017
60 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Tuesday 10th January 2017 12:15am BBC1

Cast & crew

Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Production team
Adam Read Producer
Graham Stuart Executive Producer
Jon Magnusson Executive Producer
Daniel Gulley Editor
Jonathan Whitehead (as Trellis) Composer


Graham Norton's Big Red Chair

Graham Norton goes behind the scenes of TV's most famous comfy chair.

Featuring: Graham Norton.


Whether you love it or loathe it, the last 10 minutes of The Graham Norton Show - where muggles tell the nation an anecdote and risk the indignity of being flung backwards on the whim of the host - is a distinctly British talkshow tradition. There have been a whopping 500 red-chair stories, and this behind-the-scenes special sees repeats of Graham's favourites, and interviews with those who have faced the infamous flip.

Grace Rahman, The Guardian, 6th January 2017

Big Red Chair: tales that "changed lives"

The Big Red Chair is the ultimate advocate of over-sharing, and a one-off special in its honour tonight is well worth a watch, says Ellie Harrison.

Ellie Harrison, Radio Times, 6th January 2017

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