Main content

Graham Norton

Sue Lawley's castaway is comedian Graham Norton.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the larger than life TV presenter Graham Norton. He was recently voted the most powerful man in comedy with four Baftas and an international Emmy under his belt. He's been on screen recently with his weekly show from New York but he's better known to British audiences for his So Graham Norton, as well as the annoying Father Noel in the series Father Ted. After six years with Channel 4 he's been poached by the BBC to front a Saturday night light entertainment show. He's compared the two channels to the difference between a night out with your friends or a family Christmas lunch and media critics have pondered how his camp brand of adult humour will translate to mainstream TV.

Originally born Graham Walker in Dublin in 1963, he was brought up in the small town of Bandon in West Cork. As a child he loved television describing it as a 'window to life' and a world he wanted to be part of. He began an English and French degree at University College Cork but dropped out after his first year and went to America where he lived in a hippy commune in San Francisco. He eventually returned and enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London with the ambition of becoming an actor. He changed his name to Norton - as the actor's union Equity infomed him they already had another Graham Walker on their books. He moved to Channel 4 in 1998 and moves to the BBC on his return from the States later this year.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Islands in the Stream
Book: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Luxury: Mirror

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 7 May 2004 09:00

Music Played

  • Grace Jones

    The Apple Stretching

    • Living My Life.
    • Island.
  • Janis Ian

    At Seventeen

    • Storytellers.
    • Grapevine.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Dolly Parton and Graham Norton

      Islands in the Stream - CHANNEL 4

  • Liza Minnelli

    Maybe This Time

    • Cabaret - Original Film Soundtrack.
    • MCA.
  • Crystal Gayle

    Take Me Home

    • Cage The Songbird.
    • Warner Bros.
  • k.d. lang

    Tears Don't Care Who Cries Them

    • Shadowland.
    • Sire.
  • Sinéad O’Connor

    Nothing Compares 2 U

    • Music of the 20th Century.
    • EMI.
  • Diana Ross

    Chain Reaction

    • One Woman - the Ultimate Collection.
    • EMI.
  • Book Choice

    • Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

  • Luxury Choice

    • Mirror


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Graham Norton


Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?