Graham Norton on the 1992 Edinburgh Fringe act that 'kicked it all off'

The comedian said Edinbugh has a special place in his heart as he recalls his big break 30 years ago.

So, what does an evening with Graham Norton look like?

Laura Boyd caught up with one of the UK’s most loved broadcasters during his current tour to launch new novel ‘Forever Home’.

“Well, what’s nice about the tour is, I never know what an evening with Graham Norton entails because I’m being interviewed by different people,” he told What’s On Scotland.

“I know up in Edinburgh my old friend Jo Caulfield, she’s interviewing me, and so a lot of it is from them, you know, what questions they ask is the direction it goes in.”

‘Forever Home’ will be the best-selling author’s fourth novel which is a darkly comic family drama set in a small town in Ireland.

Speaking about the cities which made him, Dublin-born Norton said Edinburgh has a special place in his heart.

He added: “Edinburgh, like for so many people, was where I got my break.” Two words… Mother Teresa.”

The budding performer famously cut his comedy cloth with his televised Mother Teresa drag act at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1992.

“That’s how I kicked off,” he said. “Well, it started when I was working in restaurants, every now and again when I was polishing glasses, I would drape the tea towel over my head and do a bit of Mother Teresa.

“And it is funny for about 20 seconds, but I worked it into an hour… and then I just realised ‘look no one is going to give me a break dressed as Mother Teresa – you know I don’t think this is my route to the big time’.”

It may be a touchy subject for us now (not that we are bitter after Glasgow lost out to Liverpool as host for the 2023 event), but Norton’s brilliant commentary on the spectacle that is Eurovision is one that should never be missed. Is that the dream?

“I was a super fan and when Terry (Wogan) decided to step down and they asked me, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. But of course there should have been because what enormous shoes to step in to.

“It’s taken me this long to find my own voice and also because Eurovision has changed over the years. You used to be able to laugh at the production values, now the production values are off the hook. It’s so stunning.”

From Eurovision to attracting some of the biggest stars in the world to the comfort of his talk show sofa, viewers can also catch the new series of the Graham Norton show on Friday nights.

“It’s one of those things that if somebody in 1998 had said ‘you will still be doing this job in 2022 and you’ll be loving it’, I would have just thought – ‘you are out of your mind’. But it’s true, I do really enjoy it.”

Watch the full interview with Graham on this week’s What’s on Scotland, Friday at 7pm on STV.

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