Series 26 - Tom Hanks, Motsi Mabuse, Stephen Graham, Matthew Rhys, Florence Pugh, Anthony Joshua, Melanie C
Together on Graham's Hogmanay sofa: double Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, starring as American children's TV host Mr Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, with his co-star, Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (The Americans); Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse; top British actor Stephen Graham (Line Of Duty, Rocketman) in new drama White House Farm; rising British star Florence Pugh (Midsommar, The Little Drummer Girl), in the new movie version of Little Women; and boxing champion Anthony Joshua, fresh from regaining his world heavyweight titles. Plus, music from Melanie C featuring Sink The Pink, performing their current single High Heels.
Tom, asked how he spends New Year's Eve, says, "I'm not a big fan. It's an odd holiday if you ask me. You're normally together with some perfect strangers and as you get older, you're in bed at 12.02 or 12.05 and you're like, 'Happy New Year everybody, dad's going to bed!'"
Talking about his new movie, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, in which he stars as US television icon Fred Rogers, he says, "The original show has a timeless quality, and it taught kids how to be decent people, but I was 11 when he first came on and I thought, 'This show is stupid. What is this? Change the channel, I want to see Batman! I want to see someone punching someone out and solving problems that way!" Adding, "Rogers just wanted kids to talk about their feelings - he said it was good to talk."
Singing Fred's song 'It's good to talk, it's good to talk' in character, Tom adds, "Every married man should have that in their pocket because when you are having a fight at three o'clock in the morning and your vocabulary is very limited, you can be as angry as you like with the love of your life and end it very calmly with, 'Do you know what? It's good to talk, it's good to say the things you feel.' That's a victory!"
Matthew interjects, "I had done that several times, but it gets it gets to the fourth or fifth time when you take that inhalation, 'It's good...' and she says, 'If you sing that song one more time...' Four times in a day might be overuse!"
Asked about filming in Pittsburgh, where the original series was made, Tom says, "Everyone in town knew we were shooting Mr Rogers, which is kind of like playing Paul McCartney in Liverpool. I was going up in the elevator in my hotel and a Pittsburghian got on and said, 'Mr Hanks, how's filming going?' I said, 'Pretty good thank you.' He then said, 'Are you enjoying your time in Pittsburgh?' to which I replied, 'Yeah, it's a pretty great town.' He then said, 'Glad to hear it. Good luck with the rest of your filming, I hope it goes well.' As he got out, he turned and said to me, 'You know we take Mr Rogers very seriously here in Pittsburgh' and he had this kind of look on his face that scared the living daylights out of me!"
Matthew, who also stars in the film, adds, "There was a lot of suspicion about what we were doing because Fred Rogers is revered there. There were lots of taxi rides during filming and one driver asked what we were doing in Pittsburgh and when I explained, he said, 'Are you trying to dig dirt on Mr Rogers? Because I will throw you out of this moving car if you are."
Talking more about the film, he jokes, "It is my character's story. I know Tom Hanks is in it, but it is ultimately my story! At least that is how I have pitched it to everyone!"
Motsi, talking about the festivities, reveals she's doesn't dance at New Year's Eve parties, "I avoid it, but I love to watch other people dancing. It really is the most entertaining thing on the planet and as they take in more alcohol the better it gets!"
Asked about becoming a judge on Strictly, she says, "When Darcey left I was in Germany and called my sister to ask what was happening and we were joking that they should call me. And then they did! At first, I was like, 'I am so honoured, this is such amazing news,' and then I was like, 'I don't want to do it, this is too much,' then I was like, 'I want to do it.' Then, when they called me again and told me I was still in the race, I asked them to send me a text and not call again because I couldn't handle the pressure. They didn't send a text, they actually came and said, 'Welcome to the BBC.'
Asked if she is coming back to Strictly, she says, "They haven't said anything to me. I'm waiting for that call - again!"
Talking about her sister Oti winning this year's Strictly, she says, "On the last show I was like Mother Christmas handing out '10s' and as viewers vote I thought, 'Let the UK decide.' I really didn't think she would win to be honest. Because you don't know what will happen, I prepared her. I said that I would come for one day to the UK if she won and if she lost, for two days with my baby to console her. The baby would make her feel better."
Florence, talking about her new film Little Women, says, "With such a great writer, director and cast every day was a 'pinch me' moment."
Asked about her character Amy March, she says, "She's had a bad reputation and when I got the role, I told my friend who said, 'Oh, I hate her!' Amy does some terrible things when she is young, and everyone hates her for the rest of her life so Greta (Gerwig) has pulled out more from the book about Amy and given the audience a moment to understand her. People are shocked by it."
Stephen Graham joins Graham for a chat. Talking about his new ITV project, White House Farm, he says: "I have to be careful how much I say so I don't get in trouble. All I can say is that I wanted to make my character really horrible and aggressive and a real bully - a little unlikeable man - so that's who I am."
Chatting about Line Of Duty and his character's death scene, he says, "It was kind of a shock wasn't it. The weird thing about it is when you work on a death scene you want to do it as real as possible but Jed [Mercurio] used to be doctor so when I was being dramatic in rehearsal he would say things like, 'You wouldn't do it like that, you wouldn't choke on your own blood.' I actually said to him, 'How many people's throats have you slit?' He talked me through how you would die in that situation - it's really irritating that you can't argue with a doctor!"
Asked about being cast in The Irishman... "I had to meet Robert De Niro which was surreal. He is one of my heroes, someone I had grown up with. I was extremely nervous as you can imagine but he was lovely and very nice. I was only supposed to be there for 20 minutes and I was there for two hours. The meeting when well!"
Revealing that meeting Joe Pesci didn't go quite as well, he says, "Awkward is not the word. It was the first couple of days of filming, and I was told that he wanted to see me. He asked, 'Where are you from?' I said, 'I'm from England, Liverpool' and he went, 'You're not Italian?' I apologised for it and he was like, 'Okay, you'd better do this right,' to which I said, 'I'll do my best.'" Adding, the worst thing you can hear as an actor is what he said next - 'I wanted your part.' I was like, 'But your part's massive, you've got loads to do.' And he said, 'I knew Tony [Provenzano] so make sure you do a good job.' The meeting really couldn't have got any worse!
"A few days later he came up to me and said, 'You're doing really well, come and have some dinner. But then he said, 'Why are you talking like that? Why don't you talk as your character so I can understand you?'"
Anthony Joshua joins Graham for a chat. Talking about losing the summer fight with Ruiz, he says, "I feel that if you always look back you can always find a reason as to why you could have done things better, but honestly, I just got beaten by the better man. I have to take it on the chin and do it better next time."
Asked who he'd prefer to fight between Wilder or Fury, he says, "I really don't know. Either one of them, it doesn't matter. The preference would be the champion Wilder because it's a championship fight, but Fury is so talented as well and it's the best of British so why not? I'll fight either one of them. The dream would be to go for the fifth belt in 2020."
Melanie C featuring Sink The Pink, performs High Heels live in the studio, before Melanie joins Graham for a chat. Asked if working with Sink The Pink is easier or harder than with The Spice Girls, she says, "Well, there are less divas in Sink The Pink!" And on whether The Spice Girls will tour overseas, she says, "I can't speak for everyone, but I would love to do more, and I'd love to get to territories we never got to with a big live show. Everyone's got careers and kids and husbands so it's all up in the air at the moment. There are no plans."
- Tuesday 31st December 2019
- BBC One
- 60 minutes
Cast & crew
|Graham Norton||Host / Presenter|
|Melanie Chisholm (as Melanie C)||Guest|
|Jon Magnusson||Series Producer|
|Graham Stuart||Executive Producer|
|Chris Webster||Production Designer|
|Jonathan Whitehead (as Trellis)||Composer|
Tom Hanks recreates Stephen's childrens' adorable phone call too.