Graham Norton meets Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dame Judi Dench, Jay Blades, Jack Whitehall and Duran Duran

This week (27th October), Graham welcomes the Terminator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger, the great Dame Judi Dench, top comedian and actor Jack Whitehall, The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades, and legendary band Duran Duran.

Arnold Schwarzenegger talks about his competitiveness, Dame Judi Dench quotes Shakespeare, Jay Blades says his life is unbelievable, Jack Whitehall talks about his new daughter, and Duran Duran perform live in the studio.

Arnold, talking about his book Be Useful: Seven Tools For Life, says, “My father taught me always to be useful.  When I told him I was doing exercises to build muscle, he said I should go and chop wood and shovel coal for a neighbour – it would build muscle and be useful.  His advice has motivated me all my life.”

Asked about his extraordinary life, he says, “I always chased the vision.  I always looked forward and didn’t listen to the naysayers. Everyone including my parents thought I was out of my mind wanting to be an actor.  Luckily, I didn’t listen to them. They said I couldn’t be on the same ladder as Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson, so I made my own ladder.”

Joking about his accent, he says, “In the early days I had teachers for everything including an accent-removal coach, but I didn’t have the talent to lose it and I should have got my money back!”

And on his famous rivalry with Sylvester Stallone, he says, “We were movie rivals, but we took the competitiveness to the extreme – we each had to have the best body, we had to kill more people in our films, and we had to have the biggest guns.  It got out of control, and we tried to derail each other.  Then, when we both invested in Plant Hollywood, we started flying around the world together to promote it and we became fantastic friends.  He is a great human being, and we are now inseparable.”

Asked if he is sad that the US constitution does not allow him to run for president, he says, “Everything I have accomplished is because of America.  I am not going to complain about not getting one job!”

Judi, discussing her book Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays The Rent, says  about the title, “Michael (her late husband Michael Williams) and I were both in Shakespeare plays for four years when we first met so he literally was paying our rent.”

Talking about collaborating on the book with actor Brendan O’Hea, she says, “I didn’t think there would be a book at the end of the glorious conversations we had.  He was wonderful and sparked lots of memories.” 

Asked about her ability to quote so much of Shakespeare’s works, Judi gives a mesmerising performance of sonnet 29.

Jay, talking about his memoir Life Lessons, says, “My life has been challenging and unbelievable.  I have made mistakes, but it has been phenomenal.”

Describing the moment he reached rock bottom, he says, “In 2015 everything in my life flopped, everything went to pot, and I was suicidal.  At that time a friend took me under his wing, and he still has me in his fold. I have been really lucky.”  Becoming emotional, he adds, “Having him in my corner has allowed me to fly.”

Asked about the emotion experienced by people taking part in The Repair Shop, he says, “I am not surprised at all.  It’s a phenomenal reaction to a powerful show.”

Jack talking about his seven-week-old daughter Elsie’s name, says, “About a month before she was born, I had to spike some inappropriate names my girlfriend Roxy suggested.  One day she asked what I thought of ‘Phoenix’.  I said, ‘Over my dead body, it’s a stripper’s name.’  Asked how I knew, I found myself googling the top 10 strippers’ names.  Phoenix is not on the list, but number one is Roxy!”

Asked if his material for his stand-up tour has changed now he is a father, he says, “It’s changed a bit and I do feel a bit guilty that I am making punchlines up about her!”

Duran Duran perform their new single Black Moonlight live in the studio, before Nick and Simon join Graham for a chat about their new album.

The Graham Norton Show, BBC One, Friday 27th 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 (3rd November) Graham’s guests include Sarah Snook, Boy George, Greta Lee, Miriam Margolyes, and CMAT.

For further information please contact Mary Collins 07769 670516 or at 

27th October 2023