HE’S one of TV’s most charismatic chat show hosts, but Graham Norton has admitted he panicked when he found out he was getting his own show.
Even though he had been working towards getting his own big TV gig for years, the Cork native said he was overwhelmed when Channel 4 first approached him.
“I was plugging away, doing stand-up, radio, panel shows and the aim – the thing you think you’re working towards – is getting your own show,” he said. “And then I got my own Channel 4 show and I don’t know if it was just a panic attack, but I remember being very stressed.”
The comic, who is now one of the most popular broadcasters in the UK, said he felt a lot of pressure when he was given the slot and had no “Plan B” if the show had failed.
“I realised that, actually, the thing that can be your big break can be the thing that absolutely destroys you,” he said.
“I had no Plan B. I didn’t have the choice of quitting. I simply had to keep going.”
Speaking at Listowel Writers’ Week, the former Father Ted star said he did not appreciate his home in Ireland until his father died five years ago.
After previously feeling as though he was being “held back” by his roots, Norton developed a new-found love for Bandon after noticing how supportive the community were to his family.
Since then, the funnyman has spent more time at home in Cork than he ever did.
“Ireland is brilliant at death, but in a genuinely good way. When my father died it made me appreciate the community in Bandon in a way that I never had previously,” he said.
“It made me feel the things I thought were there to hold me back were actually there to support me.
“People stepped in to fill the gap and that was the beginning of me thinking that maybe I’d judged this country too harshly.
“I now spend two or three months every year in West Cork. I genuinely love the place.”