As well as his chat show, Graham Norton is a judge on Drag Race UK with Michelle Visage and Alan Carr, hosts a book club on Audible, and has a show on Virgin Radio
Image: BBC/World of Wonder/Guy Levy)
Graham Norton prepares to bring back his chat show with a 007 special and, at the age of 58, declares it’s No Time To Die, or even slow down.
For in an exclusive chat with the Mirror, Graham reveals lockdown made him realise he was nowhere near ready for retirement.
He says: “I had this idea that I was going to cut down on my workload, just kind of take my foot off the pedal a bit, and yet the opposite has happened. I’m busier now than I think I’ve ever been.”
As well as his chat show, he is a judge on Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK with Michelle Visage and Alan Carr, hosts a book club on Audible, and has a show on Virgin Radio.
He says: “I was thinking I wanted to retire, and then in that first lockdown I was getting a preview of what retirement might be like and not liking it so much.
“So I started thinking, ‘Actually, aren’t I lucky that I get to work?’.”
He reasons that if every day is a day off then “free days don’t seem like such a treasure”.
Graham says: “Having somewhere to be or somebody who wants you to show up, or just having a purpose in a day changes your free time, makes it different.”
He is excited to be returning to his Friday-night chat show, which kicks off with 007 star Daniel Craig amongst his guests to promote the much-delayed No Time To Die.
Graham says: “If you think the Bond premiere has been moved around, our Bond special moved around just as much. So that’s going to be our first show back, with Daniel Craig and a bunch of other stars from the new movie.
“That’s a big splashy start and they’re all going to be in the studio.”
Looking to the future, he says his fantasy chat show guest list would include the Queen.
Tongue in cheek, he says: “I’d like to have any of the royals on.
“If the Queen wants to come on and do some sort of PR makeover, she’s very welcome. She needs some good times.”
But he does have sympathy for the 95-year-old monarch.
BBC/World of Wonder/Guy Levy)
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He says: “Everyone who’s very old right now, I think, like, ‘Wow, you lived for this’. Yes, it’s very nice, not dying, but to stay alive for this – the pandemic, the state of the world – must be quite galling.”
His own advancing years have given him a few health issues, and he compares his body to a “pretty ropey secondhand car”.
But he’s quite chilled as he hurtles towards 60.
Graham says: “In my head, turning 58 sounds very like 60.
“I think I’d be more panicked about it if I hadn’t got a few older friends, they’re leading the way. They’re the canaries in the coal mine, and seem to be fine with it.
“Your body doesn’t know that it’s a milestone because it’s just getting on with it I suppose.
“There was a slow, slow thing that happened – I now have to worry about my back and go to the physio. Dull things like that.
“And you realise, ‘Oh, actually, at my age, there are no quick fixes’.
BBC / World of Wonder / Guy Levy)
“If you’re a kid and you have something wrong with you, it gets mended. When you’re 58, you need to keep doing those exercises for the rest of your life or your back will be bad again.”
Graham has not been in a serious relationship since 2015, and in January said dating was on the “back burner”.
He said: “The older you get the less right you have to be picky, but the pickier you become. And your dating pool becomes smaller.
“When you’re young it’s the opposite. You know you could be picky, but you’re not.
“I prefer to be unhappy alone. That’s the bottom line.
“And I’m not even unhappy.”
- The Graham Norton Show, BBC1, tomorrow, 10.35pm.
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