Graham Norton meets Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Hugh Laurie, Romesh Ranganathan, Leah Williamson, Scott Howells, and Madeline Brewer

On tonight’s New Year’s Eve show, Graham welcomes Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, rising star Micheal Ward, comedy great Hugh Laurie, award-winning stand-up Romesh Ranganathan, Captain of the Euro winning Lionesses Leah Williamson, and Callum Scott Howells and Madeline Brewer, stars of Cabaret.

Olivia Colman talks about sex scenes with a younger man,  Micheal Ward pays tribute to Olivia, Hugh Laurie says he’s very proud of his latest film, Romesh Ranganathan jokes about working with Katherine Ryan, Leah Williamson says she re-lives England’s win over and over, and Cabaret stars Callum Scott Howells and Madeline Brewer perform live in the studio.

Olivia and Micheal chat about starring together in Sam Mendes’ powerful romantic drama Empire of Light.

Asked if her role was written specially for her, Olivia says, “Apparently it was.  But Sam is so nice he would say that anyway.  He was watching The Crown at the time and thought of me.  We had a Zoom conversation during lockdown  and I said ‘okay, yes’ before I even knew what it was. It is an incredible accolade for him to write something for me.”  Adding jokingly, “It was an amazing part thank god – can you imagine if it had been rubbish!”

Michael, talking about working with Olivia, says, “It was an amazing experience.  It was incredible just to share the same space.  I learnt so much about being a real person – everyone had a real sense of humanity.  If Olivia had been rude I might have thought that’s how I need to be to reach a certain level of success but the fact she is so lovely showed me I can be a good person and still be successful.”

Talking about their age difference, and asked if they were aware of it on screen, Olivia says, “There was one particular moment when I was astride Micheal in a compromising and slightly embarrassing situation and he said, ‘It’s my mum’s birthday today.’ When he said she was 43, I was like, ‘Okay, stop talking!’”

Hugh, talking about his new film, The Amazing Maurice, says, “I loved doing it and the animation is astounding – it is terrific and I look really handsome as a cat!  The film is a lot of fun and utterly charming.  I am very proud of it.” 

Talking about the long awaited second series of Avenue 5 and asked if his character’s accent (British pretending to be American) was a challenge, he says, “It actually gives you a bit of an escape route.  If you mess something up and it doesn’t sound right you’ve always got an excuse of a deliberate mistake.  I found it easier than doing House, which just had to be right.”

Asked about his son, who he describes as, “A proper grown up doctor,” and whether his choice of career was influenced by Hugh being House, he says, “No, I think he had to muscle through in spite of being teased by other medical students.  I am very, very proud of him.  I am the son of a doctor and also the father of a doctor so I am sort of the slice of ham between them!”

Romesh, talking about his new stand-up special The Cynic, says, “Most Netflix specials are done at the Apollo, so I thought it would be funny to do it at my local theatre in Crawley, which looks like a leisure centre!”

Asked about his new series The Romantic Getaway, he says, “I’ve written sitcoms that are very gentle with funny scenarios, but I’ve never written something that is so driven by plot – you want it to be funny but you also want to drive this twisty story.  It was amazing.”  Adding jokingly, “Despite playing a couple, Katherine (Ryan), who is a really good mate of mine made it clear from the very beginning that there would be no touching – she was adamant.  In fact I think it was a deal breaker for her!”

Leah, joins Graham for a chat.

Asked what sort of pep talk she gave the team before their Euros win, she said, “I just played music throughout – so I let that do the talking. I might have said something like, ‘Come on girls.’ It was low key because everyone was ready.  We had given our lives for that one moment so why wouldn’t we go out and enjoy it.”

Talking about winning, she says, “It was everything I hoped it would be and more.  I hope I never lose that feeling.  I re-live it over and over.”

Callum Scott Howells and Madeline Brewer perform Willkommen and Don’t Tell Mama from the hit West End revival of Cabaret, before joining Graham for a chat.

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, Saturday 31st December, 10.25pm. 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.

The Graham Norton Show returns on Friday 6th January when his guests will include Jamie Dornan and James Norton.

For further information please contact Mary Collins 07769 670516 or at 

31st December 2022