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

The Graham Norton Show

  • TV chat show
  • BBC One / BBC Two
  • 2007 - 2022
  • 453 episodes (29 series)

Comic chat show presented by Graham Norton. The biggest names in showbiz join the host on his sofa.

Episode menu

Series 21, Episode 1 - Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Jack Whitehall, Gemma Whelan, Take That

Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman rule out retirement, Jack Whitehall talks about an unlikely encounter with Steven Seagal, Gemma Whelan says being in Decline And Fall was a hoot and Take That perform live in the studio.

Preview clips

Further details

Michael Caine, revealing that his own pronunciation of his name once landed him in hot water, says, "I was at a party in the Philippines and the hostess was looking at me rather nastily and finally she beckoned me over and said, 'Are you a drug dealer? When I said, 'No, why do you ask?' she said, 'Why is everyone calling you My Cocaine?' You know that story is true because you couldn't make it up."

Morgan Freeman, talking about his own distinctive voice says, "I am constantly asked to do answering machine recordings but I won't do any more unless I can charge for it!" Asked whose voice is on his own answering machine, he says, "The man that installed the equipment. If you don't know me and you get that voice you're going to hang up!"

Talking about their new movie Going In Style, in which they star as ageing criminals, and asked if they might consider retiring, Michael says, "Actors don't retire, the movie retires them. Some people get retired after their first movie." Agreeing, Morgan adds, "Very few of us retire."

Asked about playing roles older than his real years, Morgan says, "I've been playing 'old' for a long time." Adding, "I had a drama teacher once that told me that no one old has un-broken movements and that I should imagine that my testicles were glass balls - that's how I go about - I just walk very carefully!"

Michael, talking about the upcoming Hatton Garden Robbery movie, in which he plays one of the gang, says, "In that one I play young - a 73 year old. I'll have lots of make up for that!"

Talking about Alfie and the huge international success it had, Michael says, "It went everywhere except France and when I asked a French friend why that was, he said, 'Because we can not imagine an Englishman could make love to 10 women.' I said, "Well actually it was 11 and two of those were French!"

Morgan, talking about Shawshank Redemption and the reasons it is everyone's favourite film despite being a box-office flop, he says, "It tanked and the simple reason is that the only real marketing a movie gets is word of mouth. You can promote it all you want but if the first few audiences come back and can't say the title of the film - people would say, 'Shanksham' or 'Shimshock' and one woman said to me, 'I saw you in the Hudsucker Reduction! Michael interjects, "That's why Alfie did so well!"

Jack Whitehall and Gemma Whelan join Graham for a chat.

Jack, revealing a rather strange encounter, says, "It was the weirdest situation. I was in a Thailand hotel restaurant with my mum and dad and Steven Seagal was there. His manager came over and said, "We saw you on The Graham Norton Show and you were very funny. Would you like to join us for lunch?' So we had lunch with them and it was like a weird Come Dine With Me - at one point Steven was telling my mother how she could kill an attacker with a Samurai sword!"

Talking about starring in Decline And Fall, Jack says, "I was bragging about my sex scene with Eva Longoria and then it was cut. I was very upset but it wasn't the best sex scene. I was wearing pyjamas and double sided tape had been used on them and as Eva ripped my top off it pulled out my chest hair and I was literally in tears."

Michael interjects advising Jack to stop doing nude scenes, "An actor controls the audience and the moment you take your clothes off you have lost them. I have never done nudity and I never would."

Gemma, talking about the series, says, "I felt like a competition winner being in it. It was a fantastic thing to be part of - it was such a hoot."

Take That perform an exclusive version of Wonderland live in the studio before Gary, Howard and Mark join Graham for a chat.

Talking about their upcoming tour and the amazing spectacle they produce, Gary says, "It is the highlight of our year." Howard adds, "I can guarantee that even someone that doesn't like our music would love the tour. Interjecting, Mark says, "I think the scale of the show comes from a place of insecurity - having so much stuff around us makes us look good!"

Asked about the upcoming musical The Band, Gary says, "We are very proud of the show and the band themselves - we feel maternal towards them." Mark adds, "Who'd have thought we would be here doing this 25 years on."

Broadcast details

Friday 7th April 2017
45 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Monday 10th April 2017 11:45pm BBC1

Cast & crew

Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Jack Whitehall Guest
Gary Barlow Guest
Mark Owen Guest
Howard Donald Guest
Gemma Whelan Guest
Michael Caine Guest
Morgan Freeman Guest
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Christine Rose Writer
Production team
Nikki Parsons 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
Mandy Furlonger Make-up Designer
Chris Rigby Lighting Designer
Jonathan Whitehead (as Trellis) Composer


Michael Caine name mistake

Michael Caine talks about how his name can be misheard.

Featuring: Graham Norton & Michael Caine.

Gemma Whelan horse scene

Gemma Whelan talks about filming an awkward scene on a horse.

Featuring: Graham Norton.


After a tiny rest stop, a new series of well-rehearsed and lightly promotional chat begins. Jack Whitehall, very much the gift that keeps on giving on the red sofa, returns yet again - this time to discuss his current, and slightly underwhelming, starring role in BBC One's Decline and Fall. Operating at about the same level of old pro is the duo of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, here to plug pensioner heist movie Going in Style.

John Robinson, The Guardian, 7th April 2017

Share this page