Graham Norton meets Julianne Moore, Paapa Essiedu, Jamie Oliver, Ricky Gervais and Olivia Dean

This week (8th December), Graham welcomes Oscar-winner Julianne Moore, actor Paapa Essiedu, celebrity chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver, comedy superstar Ricky Gervais, and Mercury Award-nominated singer Olivia Dean.

Julianne Moore says working with Natalie Portman was so much fun, Paapa Essiedu talks about Melissa McCarthy’s elite improvisation, Jamie Oliver says renewing his vows was so romantic, Ricky Gervais talks about Armageddon, and Olivia Dean performs live in the studio

Julianne, talking about starring in the critically acclaimed May December and working with Natalie Portman, says, “We really worked as a team. Basically, she’s playing an actress who’s observing me, who’s an actress playing a character who has to learn things for her to imitate as the actress in the movie! It was so much fun.”

Asked if she met Sarah Palin in preparation for Game Change, she says, “Absolutely not.  It was excruciating because she was so well known and present in popular culture,  I was terrified I’d get it wrong.  I took all the  music off my iPhone and only put on speeches by Sarah Palin.  I’d put it on in the car and listen to her nonstop for two entire months.  I I was so afraid to hear anything else.” 

Paapa, talking about starring in Richard Curtis’ new festive film, Genie, and asked about acting with Melissa McCarthy, he says, “Obviously when you do a movie penned by Richard Curtis you know the script is unbeatable, but then Melissa comes along, rips it up and adds so much.  It’s surreal, she is an elite improviser, and I had an out of body experience watching her.  I had to remind myself to act.  It was the great learning experience for me.  She is brilliant.” 

Asked about playing Hamlet at the age of 25, he says, “It was my dream role at drama school and then to do it was amazing, and a really significant moment for me.  It was a huge role and the most life affirming experience.”

Jamie, talking about renewing his vows after 23 years, says, “It was my wife’s idea and I thought I’d go along with it.  Saying the vows a second time around actually meant something more – you’ve earned it rather than just saying it, and I loved it.  It was actually a very nice thing to do, very romantic, and I ended up enjoying it more than anyone else.”

Asked about his latest book 5 Ingredients Mediterranean, “Part of my job is to listen very hard to the public and what they want is short shopping lists and delicious things quickly.   I did 5 ingredients five years ago and Jules said I must do another. She nagged me for two years and eventually I gave in!  She’s always right!”

Ricky, talking about his stand-up special Armageddon, says, “It is a jumping off point about what’s going to end humanity – global warming, nuclear war, our own stupidity, people.  I sort of conclude that it’s not a bad thing if we wipe out humanity because the earth will return to a paradise in a few hundred years.”

Asked about his process for creating a stand-up show, he says, “In the early days I would write more and do five warm-ups, then I was writing less, doing more warm-ups and letting the audience decide, and now for this one, I did 50 warm-ups and walk out with just a few notes.  It  evolves and it gets better and better.  Then I start getting bored and I can’t wait to start all over again.” 

Olivia performs Dive live in the studio 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, Friday 8th December 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 (15th December) Graham’s guests include Imelda Staunton, Ncuti Gatwa, Jamie Dornan, Jack Lowden, and Gregory Porter.

For further information please contact Mary Collins 07769 670516 or at 

8th December 2023