Madonna mis­sion pos­si­ble

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - E Guide Television - ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS THE GRA­HAM NOR­TON SHOW, TDT, Satur­day, 8.35pm

THEY say you al­ways want what you can’t have in life. For UK chat show host Gra­ham Nor­ton, that’s singing sen­sa­tion Madonna.

The Ir­ish co­me­dian has in­ter­viewed ev­ery­one from Lady Gaga and Ri­hanna to Johnny Depp and Gor­don Ram­say on his var­i­ous shows through­out the past 13 years, but the ’ 80s pop icon has re­mained elu­sive.

‘‘ She’s my dream book­ing be­cause, af­ter all this time, she’s still one of the big­gest stars in the world and she’s kind of a phe­nom­e­non,’’ Nor­ton says. ‘‘ At the be­gin­ning I quite wanted her as a guest but, be­cause we’ve never been able to get her, now I re­ally want her as a guest.’’

And this year, as the highly suc­cess­ful Gra­ham Nor­ton Show moves from the ABC to TDT, that wish looks like it may just come true.

‘‘ We’re get­ting very, very close so, hope­fully, that will hap­pen in this se­ries.’’

While many fans have not taken too kindly to the news that the pro­gram is switch­ing to TDT, Nor­ton says the move, which means the show will air in Aus­tralia only a few hours af­ter it screens in the UK, is a pos­i­tive one.

He is con­fi­dent the se­ries will not change. All your favourite celebs will still hit the sofa for a night of fun, fri­vol­ity and crazi­ness.

While Nor­ton’s cheeky per­son­al­ity and wild sense of humour have made the show look easy, he ad­mits get­ting celebri­ties to open up is any­thing but sim­ple.

‘‘ The hard­est thing in the show is mak­ing sure ev­ery­one is kind of talk­ing. You fo­cus on them and do an in­ter­view with them, but you equally want to open it out, so it’s find­ing those mo­ments . . . the com­mon threads be­tween the guests.’’

It also, oc­ca­sion­ally, re­quires Nor­ton to do a lit­tle hand- hold­ing be­fore the show be­gins to en­sure every­thing runs smoothly in front of the cam­eras.

‘‘ Some­times they’ll ask to meet you be­fore­hand and some­times I think I might just want to stroke that arm just to re­as­sure them,’’ he says.

Other times, how­ever, Nor­ton says things just fall per­fectly into place.

‘‘[ The show with] Stan­ley Tucci, Miriam Mar­golyes and co­me­dian Jimmy Carr was so much fun – we just had the best time – so much so that the four of us have gone out to din­ner, like, three or four times,’’ he re­veals.

Although he finds it dif­fi­cult to de­clare favourites from his many guests, he says there are those who have been more spe­cial than oth­ers for per­sonal rea­sons.

‘‘ There are peo­ple who I am a fan of . . . like Dolly Par­ton, Cher, Dustin Hoff­man, Glenn Close – peo­ple you have re­ally ad­mired for years and you’re sort of ner­vous about hav­ing them on be­cause what if they’re not as good as you think they’re go­ing to be,’’ he says.

‘‘ But so far, touch wood, the peo­ple who I’ve re­ally wanted to have on have been great. I think they know that I’m not fak­ing it and they know that I’m a gen­uine fan.’’

So, how much longer can Nor­ton and the show keep go­ing?

‘‘ I don’t know,’’ he says. ‘‘ If some­one told me all those years ago that we’d still be do­ing the show and I’d still be en­joy­ing it, I to­tally wouldn’t have be­lieved them.

‘‘ As long as we’re find­ing an au­di­ence and we’re en­joy­ing it, we’ll keep do­ing it.’’

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