Graham Norton meets Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Claudia Winkleman, Rob Brydon and Ezra Collective

In his traditional, much-loved New Year’s Eve show Graham takes a look back at some of the most memorable stories, people, and events of 2023 with the help of Hollywood stars Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo, Strictly host Claudia Winkleman, comedy great Rob Brydon, and the Mercury Prize-winning Ezra Collective.

Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo talk about their new movie, Claudia Winkleman says she was shocked at the success of The Traitors, Rob Brydon reprises his Barbie performance, and Ezra Collective performs live in the studio.

Emma, talking about her new black comedy Poor Things, says, “It’s such a hard movie to describe, but I play a woman discovering everything for the first time.  Mark is so good in it.  You love this guy even though he is pathetic, and narcissistic, all the things that Mark is not.  He makes the character oddly loveable.”

Mark adds, “It’s kind of hard to explain.  It’s a little bit of a female Frankenstein coming of age feminist story and it’s on the naughty side. I play the cad who invites Emma’s character on an adventure of a lifetime and introduce her to all the sensual aspects and dimensions of life.  It’s a very different part for me.”

And on working with the director Yorgos Lanthimos, he says, “I talked him into giving me the part but then thought I wasn’t the right person and tried to get fired a few times.  Doing it was a leap of faith.  I’ve seen his movies and I can see how wild they can be, but I had no idea it would end up being so much fun, wild and completely bonkers.  Adding jokingly, “He has something seriously wrong with him – thank god!”

Talking about her love of British TV, Emma says, “My foray into it began with The Only Way is Essex of course, and then I learned all about Naked Attraction and Gogglebox.  I became completely crazy about it and in America the two shows are a double feature.  They are back-to-back so it’s cosy family viewing followed by nakedness.  I love that!”

Mark, talking about his new found love of sculpting, says, “It’s something new, my second act.  I’ve been learning how to do it.  I didn’t know I could, but I wanted to, and I love it.”

Claudia, talking about winning a BAFTA for The Traitors, she says, “I was sure it was a mistake but it was very pleasant.  I was very shocked, I couldn’t even put down the award and I couldn’t really speak.  I was invited to dinner after but felt the need to lie down.  People thought I was super weird.  The success of the show winded us all.  I did say to the BBC, ‘It did well so I think we should just leave it and move on,’ but now I am off to Scotland for a second series.  I am nervous.”

On her love of a fake tan, she says, “There is no such thing as too orange.  When I was a university I got rid of the bed and hired a sunbed instead – It was super cosy, and I was fluorescent!  I love being orange but to scrub it off I use table salt and a scourer – I have asked my husband to do it but it’s not good for foreplay.  And, as I don’t have mirrors in my house, I have no idea what I look like!”

Rob, talking about his tour A Night of Songs and Laughter, says, “I’ve being doing it for a while now.  I was quite nervous of it to begin with, but it’s grown into something nice.  Stand-up is a lonely life which doesn’t have much appeal to me anymore but with eight musicians it is great.  It’s been such a journey; singing was the challenging thing for me, but I have grown in confidence and I’m in a place that is really comfortable.  I’m loving it.”

On appearing as Sugar Daddy Ken in Barbie, Rob says, “It’s odd, isn’t it?  It was just bizarre.  I ended up in it apparently because Margot Robbie is a fan of Gavin and Stacey and I think that is how it came about.  I am in it for such a short time.”

Rob reprises his role – in just six seconds.

Ezra Collective performs Victory Dance live in the studio before Femi and TJ join Graham for a chat.

Talking about performing live, TJ says, “It’s always a bit of a different performance.  We are jazz musicians, and the essence of jazz is improvisation.  The tunes are the same, but the solos change all the time.”

Asked about their Mercury Prize acceptance speech , Femi says, “I thought we’d get a wink at least half an hour beforehand if we’d won but we didn’t so I thought, ‘Just fix your face – you don’t want to be loser looking furious,’ so when they announced our name it was a moment of euphoria.  I referenced the youth group because that is where it all began, and it has to be celebrated and championed.” 

Asked if they celebrated hard after their win, Femi says, “Because we didn’t expect it, we hadn’t planned anything.  The preparation was lacking.  We went  dancing in a place not far from home then ran out of steam and ended up in MacDonalds.  It wasn’t quite as rock and roll as you might have hoped!”

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, Sunday 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.

Next week (5th January 2024) Graham kicks off the new year with Dominic West, Rosamund Pike, Jacob Anderson, Alan Carr, and Teddy Swims

For further information please contact Mary Collins 07769 670516 or at 

28th December 2023