Graham Norton (born Graham William Walker, 4.4.1963)
Graham Norton is an Irish television presenter and comedian.
Graham Norton: Childhood & Early Career
Graham Norton was born in Dublin and was later raised in Bandon, County Cork. After some time studying at University College Cork, he dropped out of his studies, in order to move to San Francisco.
On his return to Great Britain, Graham Norton attended London's Central School of Speech and Drama. In 1992, he took his comedy / drag act to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, playing a tea-towel-wearing Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Graham Norton: A Career in Show-business
In the early 1990s, Graham Norton made his broadcasting debut when he had a regular slot on BBC radio 4's Loose Ends. When Channel 5 first started up, Graham Norton was one of its earliest stars, winning an award for his work standing in for Jack Docherty on a late night chat show.
Graham Norton then hosted a comedy quiz show entitled Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment, as well as another quiz show, Carnal Knowledge, with Maria McErlane.
In 1996, Graham Norton appeared in three episodes of the sitcom Father Ted, which starred Dermot Morgan and Ardal O'Hanlan. Norton then moved to Channel 4, hosting his own chat shows, such as So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton, during which his flamboyant presenting style became increasingly pronounced. In 2003, however, he was the subject of an inquiry by the Independent Television Commission, when he made an on-air joke about the death of Maurice Gibb, singer of the Bee Gees. Graham Norton was made to apologise in person.
2004 saw Graham Norton venture across the Atlantic to launch a career on the US. He began hosting The Graham Norton Effect on Comedy Central but he failed to gain the popularity that he has in the UK.
Graham Norton's next move was to the BBC, where he was chosen as the host of the Saturday evening series Strictly Dance Fever and Graham Norton's Bigger Picture, which included guests such as Jenny Eclair, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood and Davina McCall. Norton also read a number of bedtime stories on Bedtime Hour, part of the schedule on the children's channel CBeebies.
In 2006, Graham Norton landed the role of Mr. Puckov in the 2006 spoof Another Gay Movie, as well as hosting the BBC's How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? The show was a public search for an actress to play the lead in Andrew Lloyd Webber's own version of The Sound of Music. The eventual winner was Connie Fisher. Norton also hosted the follow-up shows, Any Dream Will Do (in which Lee Mead landed a role in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat) and I'd Do Anything (earning a place in Sir Cameron Mackintosh's production of Oliver! for Jodie Prenger).
Graham Norton then hosted the annual Eurovision Dance Contest with Claudia Winkleman in September 2007 and both presenters resumed the role the following year. In 2008, it was announced that Graham Norton would replace Terry Wogan as the presenter of the Eurovision Song Contest preliminaries, Your Country Needs You. Later that year, it was announced that he would also become the presenter of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Graham Norton also featured in the video for the Comic Relief single by Sugababes and Girls Aloud. The single was a cover of 'Walk This Way' by Aerosmith.
Norton's most recent chat show also began in 2007 on BBC Two. The show moved to BBC One in 2009 and when Jonathan Ross announced that he would not be renewing his contract with the BBC in 2010, there were a number of media speculations that Graham Norton's show would be considered the replacement for Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.
In January 2009, Graham Norton appeared in the West End, in a production of La Cage Aux Folles. It was his stage debut, not counting his earlier drag and comedy appearances.
Graham Norton: Personal Life
Graham Norton briefly had a relationship with Carl Austin, a previous winner of Mr Gay UK.