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, Episode 6 - Ben Affleck, Sir David Attenborough, Matt Smith, Claire Foy, Sting

Ben Affleck reveals he didn't recognise the royal children, Claire Foy says she was idiotic to try and breast feed while playing The Queen, Matt Smith says Prince William gave him only one tip on playing Prince Philip, David Attenborough jokes about a near death experience and Sting says he owes his career to the Queen Mother.

Preview clips

Further details

Ben Affleck, talking about having his children with him in London whilst filming Justice League, says, "We did all the sights and I wanted them to be cultured. Now if it was in America - and I hate to admit this - you'd get a VIP pass, you'd get back stage and they would accommodate you. So I got a tour guide thinking this guy will accommodate me but that wasn't the case! He took us to the middle of the street but we were so far away not only couldn't we see the guard, we couldn't see the fence! We were surrounded by 50,000 tourists looking for selfie opportunities and we never saw the guards change! It was a disaster!

"Despite going to Windsor Castle, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace," Ben explains, "We didn't see one royal. Then when it was raining I took my youngest to one of those kids' indoor play parks. It was pretty empty and then I noticed this weird vibe from the other grownups. They were all very well dressed and they had earpieces and I thought, 'For a kids' place this is tight security!' I was the very last person to realise that Prince George and Princess Charlotte were in there playing with my kid. I can now tell him that he got a cold from the King of England!"

Asked if he understands the mathematics in his new film The Accountant, he says, "No, not at all. I'm pushing my luck with my daughter's 5th grade homework. The director insisted the numbers were exactly right and I defy any one person to solve the maths in that movie!"

Talking about By Night, a film he describes as a passion project, he says, "It's my love letter to all those old Warner Brothers' gangster movies of the 30s and 40s, when it was all about the set, the costumes and the production values. I hope it has that sweep and I hope there are some old people left that are still interested in, and remember, those movies."

Revealing that he plays a small part in the film, he says, "I appear only briefly. The embarrassing thing is that the character in the book is 20 years old. The director had to make some adjustments to the story to accommodate my geriatric status!"

Talking about Armageddon and revealing exactly why director Michael Bay told him to shut up, Ben says, "It was early on in my career and I didn't realise you have to be political about this kind of thing and not criticise the movie you are in. I pointed out to him that the entire premise of the movie was based on the idea that it's easier to teach drillers to be astronauts than it is to teach astronauts to drill a hole in the ground!" Adding, "I worked with him again in Pearl Harbour where I single-handedly won the Second World War!"

Claire Foy, talking about having a Received Pronunciation accent as the Queen in the new TV series, The Crown, in which she stars with Matt, says, "They are properly posh and as the filming went on our accents got more ridiculous!"

Talking about accepting the role when she was pregnant, she says, "I was an idiot - such a huge idiot! I was a lunatic trying to breast feed and be the Queen. It was an odd thing to do." Revealing that she expressed milk for the baby while being made up on set, she says, "Every morning I'd be hooked up to the pump and without fail someone would say, 'Someone's phone is going!'"

Matt Smith, talking about meeting Prince William, says, "I met him briefly in a line up at the polo and the woman who was doing the introductions said. 'This is Matt and he is about to play Prince Philip, have you got any advice for him?' and I thought, 'Oh God, I'm going to die of embarrassment.' And all he said was, 'He's an absolute legend.'"

Revealing he nearly died during the filming of the series, Matt says, "We were in South Africa and these horses were being a bit frisky. We were meant to get on them and trot off and have this lovely love scene, which didn't even make the cut! In my stupidity I got on the horse and cantered around and then it just went. I tried to grab a branch and everyone was shouting, 'Oh, my God, don't grab the branch!' So I went under the branch and then down a ravine. I was so scared. As it galloped towards a herd of zebra a huge man grabbed it by the reins and saved my life." Claire interjects, "You were nearly a goner!"

Asked about Doctor Who and whether there were times when he read the script and just thought, 'Really?' says, "Like every day! And it's complete gobbledygook. People tried to talk to me about the science all the time, about the TARDIS and the logic of time travel, whether Zygons exist - all of it. When I first got the job all people would do was shout at me, "Don't break Doctor Who!' I was too young and everyone hated me."

David Attenborough, talking about his many years of adventure in the natural world, and asked if he had ever been in danger, he says, "Not very often. I suppose the occasion I thought things weren't going too well was when I was with a very great expert on big game travelling in a Land Rover through Africa. We were driving along happily when I heard this strange noise. He said 'That was a Rhino charging us, a dummy charge, that's what they do. It's no bother at all.' Suddenly there was this noise again only this time it ended with a boom as the Rhino hit the vehicle. The Land Rover was picked up from the back end and shaken and I saw the chap's hands gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. Then it went 'boom' again and this time it was under the wheels and it almost destroyed the Land Rover and all we did was sit there. Eventually it retreated and I turned to the big game expert and said, 'That was a hell of a dummy charge!'"

Sting, talking about how a member of the Royal Family inadvertently played a part in his success, he reveals, "I come from Wallsend where we used to build big ships. The only celebrities we ever saw were Royals when they came to launch them. I was eight years old and I was standing there with my Union Jack and down the road comes this Rolls Royce at a stately pace with outriders. It's the Queen Mother and as I am waving my flag she some how catches my eye and has this amazing effect on me. I thought, 'I actually don't want to be in this street and I don't want to end up in the shipyard, I want to be in that car. I want a bigger life,' so she fired my ambition."

Continuing the thought, he says, "I had no idea how to do it so I became a teacher. I didn't find success until I was 26 and I had a real life before this crazy one happened. It gave me a perspective and to be very grateful."

Talking about the inspiration for his new album, he says, "When you are a young rock star you write about your girlfriend, your car or your shoes. Now I am more interested in what is going on in the world; current affairs, climate change, the refugee crisis and the death of some of my contemporaries."

Sting performs I Can't Stop Thinking About You live in the studio.

Broadcast details

Friday 4th November 2016
60 minutes
  • Tuesday 25th October 2016, 18:45 at The London Studios


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Tuesday 8th November 2016 12:10am BBC1
Tuesday 8th November 2016 12:20am BBC1 Wales
Tuesday 8th November 2016 12:40am BBC1 Scot

Cast & crew

Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Matt Smith Guest
David Attenborough (as Sir David Attenborough) Guest
Ben Affleck Guest
Claire Foy Guest
Gordon Sumner (as Sting) 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
Perry Widdowson Editor
Chris Webster Production Designer
Lesley Hamon Make-up Designer
Jonathan Whitehead (as Trellis) Composer


Sting got stung by a bee

Sting talks about being stung and how an early royal visit by the Queen Mother inspired him to seek fame.

Featuring: Graham Norton & Sting.

Ben Affleck's son played with Prince George & Princess Charlotte

Ben Affleck talks about visiting a soft play centre with his son and realising that Prince George and Princess Charlotte were also there.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Matt Smith, Ben Affleck & Claire Foy.

Matt Smith spoke to Prince William about playing his Grandfather

Matt Smith spoke to Prince William about portraying his Grandfather on TV and Claire Foy talks about how she dealt with early motherhood when filming.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Matt Smith, Ben Affleck & Claire Foy.

Ben Affleck was a kids' TV presenter

Graham shows Ben Affleck and the guests some highlight's from Ben's early career as a children's TV presenter.

Featuring: Graham Norton, Matt Smith, Ben Affleck & Claire Foy.


Following famously fatuous blockbuster Batman v Superman, the more tantalising proposition of Batman versus Attenborough becomes semi-reality as Ben Affleck hits the Norton sofa to promote action thriller The Accountant, while David Attenborough arrives to discuss keenly anticipated natural history sequel Planet Earth 2. Elsewhere, Claire Foy and Matt Smith reveal the truth behind playing the Queen and Prince Philip.

Mark Gibbings-Jones, The Guardian, 4th November 2016

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