Graham Norton joins Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky ahead of his debut on Virgin Radio today.
Graham talks about not being allowed to push any buttons at Radio 2, hoping he doesn’t forget to turn up for his new Sunday show and opens up about the strict COVID security on his TV show
Graham dropped in to Chris’s show this morning to talk about his new Graham Norton Radio Shows on Saturday and Sunday from 9.30 - 12.30. And the fact that he’ll actually be pressing some of the buttons!
Graham said: “We did a little dummy run the other night and it’s fun - I really liked it.” He was particularly excited to be driving the desk for the first time. “Here’s my confession - at Radio 2 I was never allowed to touch a button, I was just gloves on, and I’d sit there and talk. So everything happened around me. But here, I’m pushing some buttons and it’s pathetic how excited that makes me. It’s like that thing when you’ve learned to drive, you’ve passed your test and then you’re on the motorway and you’re like ‘this isn’t illegal...but it should be!’”
On the new Sunday show
He added: “The show to listen to is Sunday, because if everything goes alright on Saturday I’ll be really over confident on Sunday.”
Chris pointed out that at Virgin Radio, Graham is doubling his weekend workload with a new Sunday show: “As a listener I am genuinely looking forward to having you on my radio and in my life on Saturdays and particularly on Sundays.”
And Graham nodded to the change of pace after 10 years of Saturday’s only at Radio 2. “Even I keep forgetting about the Sunday show. I hope I show up. I was in the supermarket yesterday looking at avocados thinking ‘ooh, that’d be nice on Sunday mor… oh, no!’”
Talking about Saturday nights in the Norton household, Graham added: “Pre-pandemic I’d normally be out on a Saturday night for a dinner or something - it wouldn’t be bonkers. But at the moment, the difference is I won’t watch the seventh and eighth episode of something, I’ll go to bed to be ready for the Sunday show.”
On stricter Covid security for the TV show
Talking about his TV show and Covid security, Graham said: “Before Christmas we lost our audience but the team would come in to make it sound like there were people there. But now we’re being super careful, it’s a bare minimum in the studio. Last night was the first time doing that. And it’s sort of terrible but kind of fun too. Kind of like your parents have left the building and you’ve got the keys to the drinks cabinet.”
“We’re all masked, even I’m masked in rehearsals now because what you don’t want is for anything to go wrong. Because it’s not just me and an audience. That show provides employment for hundreds of people. So if anything goes wrong and we had to shut down, that would be terrible.
On Chris encouraging Graham to come to Virgin Radio
Graham also thanked Chris for encouraging him to make the move to Virgin Radio:
Chris remembered: “The last time you were on the breakfast show you said, it’s lovely here and I said it is, it is. And you said you seem so different and happy and I said I know. I loved working at Radio 2 but I didn’t realise there was another level of joy to be had. And you got the same vibe didn’t you?”
Graham said: “I really did. And you were saying ‘oh you should come and work here. And as I left thinking ‘well, that will never happen, but actually that would be quite nice’.”
And now it has happened, Graham underlined his excitement: “I’m 58 and I’m nervous and excited. And I probably haven’t had adrenalin in my body for a long time. So tomorrow morning I may OD, you may hear a clunk!”
On signing his contract with Virgin Radio
Chris added: “Welcome, welcome, officially welcome. It’s fantastic to have Graham Norton on Virgin Radio. I’ve literally got goosebumps! Is it true that you’re now going to go downstairs and sign your contract?”
Graham said: “Yes, I’ve got a big pen with my face on it. Although I might change my mind now on the way downstairs!”
Guests on the Graham Norton Radio Show today include Fay Ripley and Ralph Little.
The Chris Evans Virgin Radio Breakfast show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am.