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

The Graham Norton Show

BBC One and BBC Two chat show hosted by Graham Norton. 432 episodes (28 series), 2007 - 2021. Stars Graham Norton.

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Series 20, Episode 15 - Trainspotting Special

The stars and director of T2 Trainspotting join Graham. Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor discuss their 10 year feud; Jonny Lee Miller talks about his reluctance to do Elementary; Robert Carlyle says he thought The Full Monty was a load of rubbish; and Ewen Bremner says the success of the first film was overwhelming; while Izzy Bizu performs live in the studio.

Further details

Danny Boyle, talking about the filming of the new movie and one particular scene where Spud falls off a tower block, says, "A guy in the other block of flats was watching us film all morning and eventually he caught my eye and said, 'This new film better not be shite Danny!' The biggest anxiety you have is that you follow up a really great success with shite!"

Asked how much he wanted the film to stand alone and how much he wanted it to be referential to the original, Danny says, "You couldn't just repeat it. And if you do, you have to do it straight away with a sequel. The 20 years that have passed stand as the main element. You unfreeze the characters in time but the occasional glimpses of their youth are very moving. Ageing is something we all face, whether we are aware of it or not. It's in the post for everyone!"

Ewan McGregor, talking about the 20-year hiatus, adds, "There is a nostalgia that exists that wouldn't have if we'd made it sooner. It's taken 20 years to have this beautiful weight of looking back at our youth through these characters."

Ewen Bremner jokes, "The special effect of us ageing for the film is amazing." Ewan McGregor interjects, "We put a lot of work into it!"

Robert Carlyle, talking more about reviving the characters says, "I was emotional when I got the script. It's hard to explain, but you grow so attached to the guys and I've lived with Begbie for the last 20 years - everywhere I go, every week someone shouts his name at me. I often wondered where he is and where he's been. So when the script arrived it wasn't just Begbie, all the guys were where I expected them to be. It was a moving experience. I'd never had it happen before and I get hundreds of scripts - I was genuinely moved." Adding, "In the original script for the new film Begbie was dead so I thought, 'Wait a minute, there's no chance of a T3.'"

Ewan McGregor, asked if he was reluctant to do the second film, says, "There was hesitation years and years ago - we didn't want to do anything that damaged the reputation of the original film. There is an idea that a script had been around for years that we didn't want to do but that's not true. The script was written two years ago and it was blinding so there was no hesitation. Once we had read it we were all in."

Asked about the huge success of the first film, Ewen Bremner says, "I had been working on the stage play originally and every night we were getting this phenomenal response from audiences so I knew the material was hitting a nerve. I was confident the film was going to be a strong piece and that people were going to respond to it but none of us had any conception of the scale and profound effect it would have on the culture. It was overwhelming."

Talking about the more gross elements of the original film, Danny says, "It's only British films have toilet scenes - in America they are baffled by them." Ewan McGregor adds, "The original scene was lovely to do - it was my first experience of shooting underwater - it was very nice, quiet and peaceful. I was alone with a cameraman and no one could talk to you!"

And, on the iconic poo scene in the first film, Ewen Bremner reveals, "It was a hugely well researched mixture of jelly, fudge, chocolate and water - it had to have the right consistency to give the beautiful spatter effect! In the new film I projectile vomit into Renton's mouth, which nearly ended badly - the special effect was a work in progress and I ended up being water-boarded by tomato and vegetable soup, which stayed in my sinuses for the rest of the week!"

Asked about the 10-year falling out between him and Danny, Ewan McGregor says, "It was a misunderstanding and a mishandling of a situation. It's a bit regret of mine that is went on for so long and a real shame we didn't work together all those years."

Explaining further, he says, "I had been in Danny's first three films and then I wasn't asked to be in his fourth - The Beach - but it wasn't really about the film, it was about our friendship. Not being in the film made me a bit rudderless and I didn't quite get it. You can only fall out with someone you love."

Danny adds, "I handled it very badly and I've apologised to Ewan. I feel a great shame about it that is difficult to explain. He handled it with enormous grace and courage. Someone asked him to present an award to me for Slumdog Millionaire and he did it and made this amazing speech and I was in tears back stage. I'm very grateful to him."

Revealing there may have been a moment for the perfect reconciliation a few years ago, Ewan McGregor says, "We had both been in Shanghai for some awards and were returning on a flight together. Danny, my wife and I were the only three people in first class. Eventually my wife went to sleep and I saw Danny up ahead with his light on and I thought, 'This is it, this is the moment we get it all out.' But we couldn't so we both just sat there with our lights burning."

Asked if any of the other cast members had tried to interceded on Danny's or Ewan's behalf, Robert jokes, "I felt so bad about it I did The Beach with Danny!"

Robert, talking about The Full Monty, which was released just after Trainspotting, says: "I didn't expect it to be a hit. I thought it was a load of rubbish. It was a very tough shoot and it was so horrible that the studio said it should go straight to video - that's how bad it was. They re-cut it and it went from terrible to taking £400m and being an Oscar winner. It was astonishing."

Jonny Lee Miller, talking about Elementary and his original reluctance to take the role, says, "I said no because Sherlock is a great show and I am big fan of it. I didn't think the world was ready for another. Then I thought, 'Who am I to turn down a network show' and was persuaded by the differences so decided to give it a go."

Ewan McGregor reveals he was also reluctant when it came to accepting a role in the hit franchise Star Wars, "I just didn't think is was for me as I thought of myself as a urban, indie, grungy actor. I spoke to my uncle [the actor Denis Lawson] who had been in all three films who said, 'Don't do it if you want a career after you're 30!'"

Asked about celebrating getting the role, he says, "I was at a neighbour's party with Noel Gallagher and at eight in the morning we were battling with plastic light sabers at the end of the garden!"

Danny interjects, "Oasis's music wasn't featured in the original film because they said they didn't want to be in a film about trainspotters!"

Talking about directing the opening of the London Olympics, Danny says, "I was so proud. It was a massive privilege to do it but I think people were surprised I agreed to do it. As a director I am not known for behaving dominantly but on that occasion I had to - I couldn't let anything get in the way."

Asked about The Queen's involvement, he says, "We had the idea and were intending to use a stunt double. As a courtesy we ran it past The Palace, thinking for sure that they would say no but then we got word that she wanted to do it herself. When we arrived to film she said, 'I'm not in a good mood as I've just been to the dentist but what do you want me to do?' It hadn't been planned for her to say anything but she decided to improvise her line. She was so sharp and noticed everything." Looking at the actors on the sofa, he cheekily added, "There were no continuity errors with her!"

And on turning down his knighthood, he says, "It's just not my cup of tea. My dad would have spun in his grave if I had accepted. I get plenty of other rewards with my work."

Izzy Bizu performs Talking To You live in the studio before joining Graham for a chat.

Broadcast details

Friday 27th January 2017
60 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Ewan McGregor Guest
Danny Boyle Guest
Jonny Lee Miller Guest
Robert Carlyle Guest
Ewen Bremner Guest
Izzy Bizu Guest
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Christine Rose Writer
Production team
Steve Smith Director
Jon Magnusson Series Producer
Rina Dayalji Producer
Pete Snell Producer
Vicky Taylor Producer
Graham Stuart Executive Producer


Robert Carlyle thought The Full Monty would fail

Robert Carlyle admits he thought The Full Monty wasn't very good while he was making it.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner.

Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle argued

Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle discuss why they didn't speak for many years, and how they have since made up.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Ewan McGregor, Danny Boyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle.

Trainspotting poster

Graham takes on the role of Diane as he and the Transporting cast recreate the film's iconic poster.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Ewan McGregor, Danny Boyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner.


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