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
  • 454 episodes (29 series)

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

  • Due to return for Series 30

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Series 26, Episode 17 - Robert Downey Jr., Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Terry Gilliam, Sara Bareilles

Robert Downey Jr. talks about the end of Iron Man, Emma Thompson reveals she almost lost her husband to Kate Winslet, Hugh Laurie talks about David Copperfield, Terry Gilliam pays tribute to Terry Jones and Sara Bareilles performs live in the studio.

Preview clips

Further details

Robert Downey Jr., talking about the end of playing Ironman after 11 years says, "It went by just like that." Revealing it's had a bigger effect on his son, he says, "He was into me, then he got into Nick Fury and then it was all about Black Panther, and now he's taken pity on me and is playing with my figurines again."

Talking about the special effects and having to act with imaginary things in his new film Dolittle, which also stars Emma Thompson as the voice of his parrot, he says, "Sometimes it's working against green screens, or with animal actors dressed in green suits, or with something on the end of a stick - like usual hallucinations!"

Hugh Laurie interjects, "When I did Stuart Little, I did begin to hallucinate the mouse's presence. I remember having a scene where I had to imagine that he was in my hand and when the director shouted 'cut', I actually put the mouse down!"

Praised by Emma for his Welsh accent in Dolittle, Robert says, "It's a passable Welsh accent, which is good for me. I wanted to do something different after Sherlock and Chaplin and I'd read about this nutty doctor from the 19th Century - Dr. Price so I based my character on him."

Emma, asked by Robert about her rather eccentric blue attire, explains, "I went into Selfridges and asked if they had anything that would make me look like a parrot. When I came out, I then realised that they had made me look like a parrot that had mated with Elton John! But I'm quite happy."

On meeting her husband (Greg Wise) on the set of Sense And Sensibility, she reveals, "Before he did the job, he went to see a friend of his who was a bit witchy and she said he would meet his future partner on the film. He assumed it wasn't me because I was married and quite lot older than him so he thought it might be Kate [Winslet]. He took her to Glastonbury, and she was so bored, and he thought, 'This isn't going to work, who can it be?' Then things happened that probably shouldn't have happened, and it's been 25 years in May."

Hugh, talking about his new film The Personal History Of David Copperfield, says, "I think my character Mr Dick is very interesting. He was probably one of the first characters in novel form to have a mental illness and in Victorian times it must have been a particularly brutal predicament. I find the film very touching and very good-hearted; you fall in love with all the characters." Asked about working with Armando Iannucci, he says, "He is a genius."

Asked about his other Iannucci project - Sky One series Avenue 5 - Hugh says, "It's very funny and is brilliantly conceived and executed."

Emma says of the longstanding friendship she and Hugh share, having met as undergraduates at Cambridge, "It's so odd sitting here now aged 60 because I clearly remember Hugh walking into the Footlights club room aged 19 dressed entirely in khaki. He did an audition as the emperor of China and I turned to my friend and said, 'He's a star.'"

Hugh adds, "I only went to Cambridge so I could row and nothing else, and I ended up doing all this la de da stuff."

Robert cheekily asks the pair if they ever had a little nooky, to which Hugh gallantly says, "We stepped out for a little bit."

Asked if it is true that he thought about turning down his CBE, Hugh says, "I did wonder about the whole meaning of the thing and whether it is something one should be participating in. But my son came up with something wise, which was that you'd have to be so up yourself to turn it down. It was a very good way of looking at it and there is something vaguely pompous about withdrawing from it - it's just part of the system."

Terry Gilliam joins Graham for a chat. Raising a glass and paying tribute to the late great Terry Jones, he says, "The Pythons are now even more of an endangered species - a third of us are gone.

"He was an extraordinary, unbelievable wonderful human being. Because we were both called Terry there was confusion and people would mix us up - what Terry had done they would blame me for and vice versa and now that Terry has left us, I want to make something very clear..." Terry reveals his t-shirt is printed with the words 'I'm not dead yet.'

Adding jokingly, "I could talk all evening about him but I'm going to talk about my film instead!"

Terry presents Robert with a letter he wrote to the actor in 2009 offering him a role in Don Quixote having seen his 'Incredible performance in Tropic Thunder.' Terry said, "I never heard back!" A flattered Robert takes the letter, saying, "I'll frame this."

Talking about finally bringing his new film The Man That Killed Don Quixote to the screen 32 years after he first conceived the idea, he says, "It started so well in 1989 but then it all fell apart. When we tried to film it the first-time round, we had fighter bombers flying over ruining our sound, flash floods that destroyed all our equipment and a lead actor that couldn't ride horse due to a testicular problem. It was clear there is God and he didn't like me! When we finally got the money and it all came together, it was extraordinary."

Sara performs She Used To Be Mine live in the studio, before joining Graham for a chat.

Asked about the success of the musical Waitress and the impact it has had on her life, she says, "I talk about 'before Waitress' and 'after Waitress' because it has totally changed my life. The whole landscape of my entire life is now different."

Broadcast details

Friday 24th January 2020
50 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Monday 27th January 2020 11:30pm BBC1
Tuesday 28th January 2020 12:00am BBC1 Scot

Cast & crew

Graham Norton Host / Presenter
Guest cast
Robert Downey Jr. Guest
Hugh Laurie Guest
Emma Thompson Guest
Terry Gilliam Guest
Sara Bareilles Guest
Writing team
Rob Colley Writer
Production team
Steve Smith Director
Jon Magnusson Series Producer
Pete Snell Producer
Graham Stuart Executive Producer
Catherine Strauss Line Producer
Perry Widdowson Editor
Chris Webster Production Designer
Mandy Furlonger Make-up Designer
Chris Rigby Lighting Designer
Jonathan Whitehead (as Trellis) Composer


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