herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Graham Norton can't get Brad Pitt or Meryl Streep on his sofa

Graham Norton
Graham Norton
Brad Pitt
Meryl Streep

The only stars who Graham Norton can't convince to sit on his chat show couch are Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep.

The host returns tonight with a new series on BBC1.

And Norton (51) said the quality of guests mixed with the relaxed format will make for compelling viewing as usual.

"It's a format that simply makes sense," he said.

"Stars usually get eight minutes on a chat show to plug their movie and they'd better be funny in those eight minutes.

"On our show they get several chances to shine."

Norton said one of his highlights to date was an interview with Hollywood stars Matt Damon and Bill Murray alongside Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville.

"It was one of those perfect shows where the three guys obviously adored each other and got on well and were in a great mood," he said.

"It was so much fun. I love those evenings when I don't have to work - I just let it happen.

"The audience was proper belly-laughing. At the end we all wished it had been the last show of the season so we could go out on a high."

However, Norton admitted that on rare occasions the magic just fails to happen - particularly with younger guests.

"Sometimes guests just stay nervous. Maybe they're thinking I'm out to get them or maybe they don't get the humour and worry that we're laughing at them," he said.

"By and large I really like having older people on, people like Will Smith, because they've been around the block and they to get to break out of that eight-minutes-on-the-sofa thing and tell longer stories."

Norton also admitted two stars have eluded him - Pitt and Streep.

The Oscar-winning actress will only go on Ellen DeGeneres' show, he added.

But he said he is keen to get back to work, having relaxed for most of the summer in west Cork.

"I take a long break and really don't do anything," he said.

"I do get geeked out when I get the call sheets about guests."

hnews@herald.ie

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