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Graham Norton

 

Graham NortonBorn Graham Walker on the 4th April 1963, to a Protestant family in a 98% Catholic area, he was raised in County Cork, Ireland. His father, Billy, was a Guinness salesman (so that's where that frothy smile comes from!), while his mother, Rhoda, was a leading figure in the local Mother's Union.

Hoping to become a journalist, but failing to get a place at the journalism school, he went to University College, Cork, to study English and French. Becoming disillusioned within the first year, he dropped out and travelled to America to become a hippie. He was (an immature) 20 years old when he arrived in San Francisco amidst a Gay Pride Celebration. He joined a commune where they grew their own food and made their own clothes. It was here that he decided he would like to become a serious actor. Travelling to London, he secured a place at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Discovering that Equity already had a Graham Walker, he changed his name to Norton, after his great-grandmother's maiden name.

Finding precious little acting work, he supported himself working as a waiter or barman until his late twenties. Renowned for his camp bitchy way with customers, he was convinced to turn towards comedy, a vein he had always considered 'a cop-out'.

The Eagle pub in Clerkenwell, where Graham worked, had a popular upstairs comedy room. It was here that he launched himself as a stand-up comic, calling himself 'The Karen Carpenter Bar and Grill' and 'Mother Teresa of Calcutta's Grand Farewell Tour'. Before long, the bookings just rolled in. Following this success, he took his show on to the Edinburgh Festival fringe, doing his one-man shows there from 1992 - 1997. His name began to be nationally known, and in 1997 he was nominated for a Perrier award.

1997 was Graham's year. He had a minor, but unforgettable, role as the hyperactive Father Noel in the hit sitcom series, Father Ted. After Channel 5 signed him up, he stood in for chat show anchor man, Jack Docherty, when he went on holiday. This resulted in him winning Best Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards that year, embarrassingly the award that Jack Docherty was expecting to win. Channel 5 gave him his first series, 'Bring Me The Head of Light Entertainment'. Channel 4 offered Graham his own show. The mega-successful 'So Graham Norton' was born.

Other Awards that Graham has won include: A Comedy Award, for the time he stood in for Gay Byrne on Ireland's 'Late, Late Show'; Gay Entertainer of The Year (1999 Gaytime TV Awards); Bafta Award for Best Entertainment performance (2000, 'So Graham Norton' - Ch 4); Bafta Award for Best Entertainment performance (2001, 'So Graham Norton' - Ch 4) - for the second year running; Best Entertainment Programme or Series Award, 2001.

As well as Best TV Presenter awards from the Royal Television Society Award, the Broadcasting Press Guild, the Television and Radio Industries Club, the Variety Club and the British Comedy Awards, Norton is the proud current holder of the Rear (Butt) of the Year Award. He has also topped two polls of personalities that people would most like to invite to dinner or to go on vacation with.

In 2001, the BBC offered Graham a £5 million deal. Fearing that 'Auntie Beeb' would want to tame him, he refused. Ch 4, not wishing to lose him, gave him a two year extension to his contract, reputedly for a massive £6 million. The new 'V Graham Norton' now sees Graham's chat show on the airwaves 5 nights a week.

20th Century Icons - GAY   by Graham Norton
Graham Norton is currently single, living in a house that he previously shared with his long term boyfriend Scott Michaels, in Bow, in London’s East End. The couple broke up in January 2001, allegedly due to Graham's hectic work schedule. They had been an item since 1995. Today, they remain good friends. In 2002 he had a relationship with Mr Gay UK: Carl Austin, and then later Kristian Seeber, but they split in February 2006.

Every era has its Queen of the Queens of Camp. Great names in the past have included Larry Grayson, and John Inman. Now it is Graham's turn to wear the crown - and doesn't it fit well! Graham Norton is the (oh, so slightly) camp, cheeky little chappie who everybody loves, and one of the nicest people in show business today.

The 1999 Graham Norton Book, '20th Century Icons - Gay' with text by Pat Reid, is still available from Amazon.co.uk. Click on the cover for more info.

Graham returned to the BBC in 2005, and as well as regularly having his own show he now hosts many prestigious events for them. Visit: The BBC Graham Norton website.

 

Main Television Credits:
Carnal Knowledge (TV series, co-presenter) (1996 - 27 x 1 hour shows)
Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment
So Graham Norton (1998–2002)
V Graham Norton (2002–2003)
NY Graham Norton (2004)
The Graham Norton Effect (2004–2005)
Graham Norton's Bigger Picture (2005–2006)
Strictly Dance Fever (2005–2006)
BBC/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical theatre talent searches (2006–present)
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? (2006)
Any Dream Will Do (2007)
I'd Do Anything (2008)
Over the Rainbow (2010)
The Big Finish (2006-)
When Will I Be Famous? (2007)
The Graham Norton Show (2007–present)
Graham Norton's balls.The British Academy Television Awards (2007)
Live Earth (2007)
Eurovision Dance Contest (2007)
The One and Only (2008)
Eurovision Dance Contest (2008)
Eurovision: Your Country Needs You (2009)
Eurovision Song Contest (UK commentator, 2009–present)
Totally Saturday (2009)
Most Popular (2009–present)

Also:
(1996–1998) Father Ted: Hell, Flight into Terror, The Mainland - Father Noel Furlong (Channel4)
(2001) Rex the Runt: A Crap Day Out - The Plants voice (BBC)
(2001) Rex the Runt: Patio - Osvalde Halitosis voice (BBC)
(2001) The Kumars at No. 42 - Himself (BBC)
(2002) Absolutely Fabulous: Gay - Himself (BBC)
(2007) Who Do You Think You Are? - Himself (BBC)
(2007) Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List - Himself (Bravo)
(2007) Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind - Computer voice (BBC)

 

 

Our Camp Contenders

Kings of Camp.

JOHN INMAN.     LARRY GRAYSON.     PAUL O'GRADY     JULIAN CLARY.

KENNETH WILLIAMS.     DALE WINTON.     GRAHAM NORTON.     CHARLES HAWTREY.

 

 

Visit AstaBGay's Blackpool Gay Scene Guide:

AstaBGay - The Blackpool Gay Scene Guide.

 

Visit AstaBGay's Gay Icons.

 

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