Great Britain

Graham Norton reveals his celebrity crush, worst habit and how he’ll remember 2020

GRAHAM NORTON, 57, hosts his own BBC talk show and a flagship weekend show on Virgin Radio.

Here, the national treasure and British broadcast legend talks the love of his life, his worst habit and how he will remember 2020.

What scares you?

Pain. If I was being tortured, I’d sing like a canary. 

What’s your favourite word?

Prefabricated.

Who or what is the love of your life?

My dogs Bailey and Madge were, but they’re dead. I’m still carrying the torch for them.

What’s your worst habit?

Nail biting. There are things you get away with when you’re young, but when you’re nearing 60 you’ve got to get rid of them.

Who would you invite to a dinner party?

Lucille Ball, my friend Maria (she’s good value), and you’d need some listeners, so Robert De Niro. 

What makes you angry?

Adults on scooters. It’s a big one for me. 

What is your experience of grief?

I’ve lost my dad, friends, my dogs. No one goes: “Yippee, I’m grieving,” but it’s inevitable… I like the fact that we haven’t evolved a way of softening the pain.

What is your earliest memory?

My mother calling me in from the garden, aged three, to tell me Batman was coming on the telly. She didn’t need to call me twice.

Which person do you most admire?

Publisher Larry Flynt of Hustler fame. He was the sanest, most rational and inspirational person I’ve met.

What is your biggest regret?

I don’t really believe in regrets. It’s not that I’m happy with everything I’ve done – there are thousands of things in my life I wish I hadn’t done – but it’s a real waste of energy. 

How will you remember 2020?

A blur. It’s spreading into 2021, so we’ll just remember it as the time of Covid. 

If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

Victorian London to see the theatres and life. Though I suspect as I step out of whatever I use to get there, I’ll know it was a mistake because of the smell.

If you were Prime Minister for the day, what would you do?

There’s not much you can do in a day. I’d probably go to Chequers for a quiet lunch. That’s probably the safest thing to do, I wouldn’t want to do any more damage. 

What’s your greatest achievement?

Making a living doing something I really like and don’t feel that compromised by. I never thought that would happen in my life.

What do you think happens when we die?

Nothing. I think we rot or we’re burned, and if we’re lucky we’ll help something grow. If we’re unlucky, we become pollution.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Chris Pine is hot, funny and very talented. 

Neat freak or messy?

Messy. I don’t want to be and I fight it, but messy is my natural go-to place.

What are your best and worst qualities?

I’m empathetic and quite good at listening. If everyone had empathy, the world would be a better place. My worst is when I’m super-judgy. 

Most famous person on your phone?

When I lost my phone in the back of a cab, the taxi driver called Dawn French. That was obviously the first name he recognised. So let’s go with Dawn, as selected by a random taxi driver.

Graham Norton jokes he looks so ‘gnarly’ and ‘old’ the paparazzi didn’t recognise him on his first day at Virgin Radio

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Photography: David Vintiner/News Licensing, PA

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