Norton rebuffs Parky’s broadside on ‘sad’ chat shows fronted by comics
TELEVISION star Graham Norton has hit back following Michael Parkinson’s criticism of the current generation of chat show hosts, but admits that interviewing is not his strength.
Veteran broadcaster Parkinson, 77, who retired from his chat show in 2007, has called it “sad” that traditional shows have been replaced by programmes that are fronted by comics.
But Norton, 49, who replaced Jonathan Ross in the Friday night slot on BBC1, told the Radio Times: “What we’re in the business of doing isn’t really interviewing people. We’re in the business of entertaining an audience, so you’re not really going to get an insight from the questions I ask. You’ll get an insight from watching how that person on the couch interacts with the others. That is often revealing.”
Norton, who is thought to have taken a pay cut from a reported £2 million a year BBC contract to present his TV show, his Radio 2 slot, Eurovision and other work, admitted that he was “not a good interviewer”.
He labelled Reservoir Dogs star Harvey Keitel his worst guest, saying: “He hated being there… He didn’t really speak at all. He had a fit because I had some action figure of him that had a gun… But once you’ve been in Reservoir Dogs, it’s a bit late to tell kids don’t play with guns.”
The former Channel 4 star also said the audience had become more illiberal in recent times. “There are things we can’t say and do on TV or radio that ten years ago we absolutely could have said or shown,” he said. “I think that’s the BBC reading the mood of the audience – the audience don’t particularly like cruel jokes, and I think they did.”
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