Graham Norton and Madonna investigate something online on "The Graham… (BBC America )
January 13, 2012|By Curt Wagner | RedEye
When I talked to Graham Norton in December, his "scrappy mixed terrier thing" kept interrupting by attacking her loudest toy. Her name, he said, is Madge, which led me to ask if she's named after Madonna.
"Well yes, but I didn't do it! I don't want to lose my booking over this," he said, referring to finally landing his dream guest on his British chat show, "The Graham Norton Show."
He needn't have worried. Madonna showed up Wednesday to tape the episode, which will air at a special time, 9:45 p.m., this Saturday on BBC America. In December, Norton was beyond thrilled the Material Girl would be on the show, but concerned.
"It's such a big deal for us," he said. "I've bleeted on about wanting her for 12, 14 years or something, so it's finally happening. And listen, this is as close as we have ever got, but I won't believe until it's taped and broadcast."
Madonna appears on the show with actors James D'Arcy and Andrea Riseborough, the stars of the movie she directed, "W./E." She talks a bit about Lady Gaga with Norton, and even brings up the canine Madge. Watch below.
It isn't the first time Norton has talked to the non-canine Madge. "I met her really, really briefly and I had my picture taken with her and that's my Facebook picture," he said, laughing. "Me and Madonna, we look marvelous."
Now about his noisy dog Madge: How did she get her name? "At the rescue center they called her Madonna," Norton told me. "I can't have a dog called Madonna unless I change my other dog's name to Elton or something, so I just shortened it to Madge and it really suits her."
Norton and I talked more about his talk show, American guests and how he got to where he is today. I also played a little game of "Would You Rather?" with him, which you can find in this earlier post.
A lot of my friends say “TGNS” is their favorite talk show. That’s very nice of you.
I do have friends with good taste. Yes, I'm going to go yes.
Because I think so too. I love watching your show. It’s fun. Thank you very much. Yeah, it’s kind of extraordinary people [from outside Britain see it] because we just make it here and then we just send it away. So it’s kind of amazing that we get all this nice feedback from around the world. It’s really nice.
Do you consider the American audience at all when you’re putting it together? We do a bit in that we normally try to have one or two people on the show that you might have heard of. But our priority is always going to be the British market because BBC One pays for it, so we’ve got to keep them happy. So occasionally we’ll get a big guest and we’ll know in America no one will have a clue who it is, but they’re such a big domestic star we’ve got to take them. In a way I think that is what American audiences sometimes like about it, the foreigness of it, sometimes you don’t know who they are.
I think you’ve introduced me to a lot of comics I didn’t know. Yeah, the comics you always wouldn’t know who they were. Have you seen when we’ve had Fern Millican on our show? … She is my favorite new comedian. I just adore her. She is really funny, really, really funny, yeah.
When I was doing research I saw in an interview you said you didn’t think you were a good interviewer. I would disagree with that. Well, that’s very nice of you to say. I do sometimes think at the end of a show, “What have we learned? Nothing.” [Laughs.] Hopefully we’ve had a good time. But I always kind of think why would anybody tell me anything because people are so good at being interviewed now, particularly stars that are so kind of “on message.”
So there’s no real point asking them those big, burning questions you want to know the answers to because they’re not going to answer them. It just makes them a bit tense and a bit uncomfortable and I think you end up looking sort of unfriendly. You end up looking kind of confrontational as the host if you’re asking questions people don’t want to answer. Unless I don’t care about the guest. [Laughs.] I'll ask them whatever, but mostly I do like the people, so you don’t want to upset them. You want them to come back—you know what this is like—you want the PR [people] to give you others, so you have to kind of think of the long term I think when you’re doing interviews.
Well it’s not a news show. It’s not like you’re trying to do this hard hitting news program. No, exactly. That is what I think, but you know people—