Graham Norton interview in The Guardian
A really interesting piece - it includes a picture of Graham in drag!
Here it is.
Here it is.
Graham Norton on why he is perfectly happy to morph into Terry Wogan rather than run up and down stairs waving dildos
You are playing the lead in the West End musical La Cage aux Folles. Which is worse for you: the singing or the dancing?
The singing, because I have to do more of it. I don't have to do that much dancing and it's probably easier to work my bad dancing so that it looks funny rather than rubbish, whereas if we hit a wrong note, that's just a wrong note.
Tell me about your role?
I play Albin. He's a gay guy but he has a drag alter ego, Zaza. Beyond that, it turns into an old-fashioned romantic family story. It's bit of farce with some men doing the cancan and the splits.
How is the drag side of things going?
It's quite depressing really. As a man, you're of an age when you feel all right about yourself, and you think, "When I get some slap on I'll be quite hot." And you get the slap on and you look hi-de-ous. And it makes me feel for women in a way that I didn't before, because the lot of a 46-year-old woman is very different to the lot of a 46-year-old man.
It has also been announced that you will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest. Why?
I really like Eurovision. I grew up in Ireland where it was an enormous thing. Sir Terry [Wogan] has taken a nothing job and turned it into this iconic role, but he doesn't want to do it any more. They asked me and I said yes.
He doesn't want to do it because he says it's a bit of a fix, with all the block voting.
It's a singing competition, so you can take it seriously, but you can never take it that seriously. It's people singing songs that people vote on, and somebody's going to win. We need to step back and enjoy it for what it is.
Perhaps you are morphing into Wogan?
I wouldn't mind if I did. He's an excellent broadcaster, we're both Irish, we're both quite gentle in our way, so, if that happened, I'd be perfectly happy.
But you started out being very edgy and now you've got national treasure status.
I don't know about national treasure. I've got older, that's what's happened. You are a different person when you're 46. I was 33 when I started and I was a bit long in the tooth to be running up and down the stairs waving dildos even then. But certainly now, that's unseemly.
There has been much discussion recently about crudeness on TV. Do you feel under pressure to tone down your comedy?
No. It's difficult for the BBC. It has to be seen to be whiter than white and really defend itself, but it does an incredibly good job of policing shows so these things don't happen, and what happened on that late-night Radio 2 show was a blip. I'm not defending it; it wasn't a good thing to do. But there are lots of safeguards and firewalls on the BBC. With my chatshow, as out there and edgy as people might think some of those jokes are, they have been seen by lawyers beforehand. There are lawyers watching the recording, there's a lawyer who comes to the edit, so there are a lot of things in place to protect the public from me.
So there's been no memo?
No. As far as I know, it's business as normal. There are things you can't say, but they are the same things we have never been able to say.
How does it feel to have responsibility forced on you, to be seen to represent gay men?
I don't feel a responsibility. I can't. Now that there are so many gay people working in the media and high-profile jobs, I think gay people look to people like me less because I'm not carrying the whole weight of the gay world. I'm representing myself. There are gay people out there like me, but equally there are very serious bookish gay people, and there are gay people who are far more militant and political than me. I'm sorry, I can't represent them all, I'm just doing what I do.
But in terms of prime-time TV, it still tends to be just you.
But if I'm doing prime-time Saturday telly, I don't think I'm doing it as a gay man. I'm doing it as a television presenter. There are gay newsreaders. You don't go, "Oh, it's the gay newsreader tonight. I wonder what the news will be like tonight with a gay man reading it. Will it be cheerier?" It will be the same old news, and I think that's good. People are gay second, they are their job first.