Graham Norton meets Hugh Bonneville, Lesley Manville, Lashana Lynch, Big Zuu, and Sam Ryder

On the show tonight (7th October), Graham welcomes Paddington and Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville, Oscar-nominated star of stage and screen Lesley Manville, British actress Lashana Lynch, grime artist turned Bafta-winning TV chef Big Zuu, and Eurovision star Sam Ryder.

Hugh Bonneville says Downton was a gear shift in his career, Lesley Manville reveals how naughty Judi Dench can be on stage, Lashana Lynch talks about the physicality of her new film, Big Zuu says acting’s not for him, and Sam Ryder performs live in the studio.

Hugh, talking about his heart-warming memoir Playing Under the Piano, and asked if he knew his father would play such a big role in the book, says, “I really didn’t.  I had been asked to write a series of anecdotal memories, and then I just started writing about my dad – strange stuff just took over and I began to realise his influence on me was incredibly profound.  I wrote far more about him than I anticipated and it was quite cathartic.”

Asked about the impact Downton has had on his life, he says, “People think it was my big break but I had been acting for 25+ years before then and happily so, but it was a completely strange gear shift.  When we did series one no one was particularly interested as everyone thought costume drama was dead, and then suddenly it exploded and had a huge effect around the world.  It was very, very peculiar and wonderful at the same time.  And, certainly without Downton I wouldn’t have met Paddington.”

Lesley, describing her new comedy-drama Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, says, “It is a musical without music, a soothing balm.  It is two hours of gorgeous escapism and people like it which is great.”

Asked if the cockney expressions might be confusing for some American audiences, she say, “I said ‘Gordon Bennett’ a few times but I didn’t overdo it – I didn’t want the movie to have to have subtitles!”

Talking about her long career in the theatre, and reminiscing about working with Judi Dench in the 1980s, she says, “We were in the Cherry Orchard and I was on stage on my own and she was in the wings trying to make me laugh.  She was pretending she was being pleasured from behind!  I laughed so much I wet myself.  Luckily I had a long dress on but the stage was raked and I could see my pee trickling down and over the edge into the stalls.  She is so naughty!”

Lashana talking about her acclaimed warrior-women blockbuster The Woman King, says, “It has an amazing cast and is an epic drama with real stunts, real life, real women, real power, and real inspiration.  Working with an all-female crew was fantastic and very rare.”

Asked about the physicality of her performance, she says, “Because everyone did their own stunts they were so deeply committed – we were in the gym six days a week for five hours a day in order to represent what you see on screen. It was hard work throwing men around and using machetes and I discovered muscles I didn’t know I had.  It was incredible.”

Big Zuu, talking about his mainstream success, and asked if he will ever be studio based, says, “No, I’d rather chuck everything in a van.  That’s what we are good at.  I enjoy being in a studio because less can go wrong, but I like the rawness of the programme when we are out on the road just chilling.”

Asked about his acting ambitions, he says, “I got into it a little bit.  Learning lines is easy but the one thing I found really hard was not laughing at funny lines, and I am so used to looking into a camera I couldn’t stop glancing down the lens, which you are not meant to do.  I won’t do it for ever mainly because there is too much standing around.  It took us eight hours to film a one minute conversation!”

Sam performs his new single Somebody live in the studio before joining Graham for a chat.

Talking about Eurovision, he says, “I was always a fan and it seemed to be the wrong energy to say no to doing it because we might come last.  My enthusiasm was greater than my fear and it has opened so many doors.”

Asked if he will be involved next year, he says, “I really don’t know, I haven’t a clue, but I want to be there – it will be incredible.”

And finally, Graham pulls the lever on more foolhardy audience members brave enough sit in the world famous red chair to tell their funniest stories.

The Graham Norton Show, BBC One, Friday 7th October, 10.40pm. Also

available on BBC iPlayer.

Notes to editors – All quotes in this release were made during the recording of the show but won’t necessarily appear in the final version.

Next week (14th October) Graham’s guests include Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kate Hudson, Elizabeth Banks, Edward Enninful and Self Esteem.

For further information please contact Mary Collins 07769 670516 or at 

7th October 2022