The show mirrors So and V with strong adult humour along with Graham's monologue at the beginning of the show and often a musical guest to play out over the credits. Although the rude objects in "Graham's drawer" did not survive, the phone calls and hidden camera surprises have. These surprises are sometimes based around the guests, such as Sarah Beeny's dating website, a TARDIS on the South Bank when David Tennant appeared and a wine-tasting group drinking Gérard Depardieu's wine whilst he was on the show. Some of the surprises, such as the wine-tasting, have been arranged through ideas submitted by viewers, stating where they will be when the show is recorded.
At the end of the show, after any band or artist performance, an extra 5 minute section of the show was recorded, known as the "Cooldown". This section was seen in an extended weekend repeat, called Graham Norton Uncut, and was also made available as a downloadable podcast. As well as showing the "Cooldown", it also included previously unseen parts from the original episode. This section often involved the audience, such as guessing an audience member's partner and playing mass charades.
After Graham's short monologue, he always introduced two guests. If there was a third guest, they were usually introduced later in the show. If the two guests are connected in some way (for example, Dustin Hoffman and his wife), they were the only ones introduced at the start. If musical guests were involved in the show, one of several things happened. Some performers, such as Enrique Iglesias, were on stage from the very beginning. Others, such as Gareth Gates came on stage about 5 to 7 minutes before their performance for a short interview. Also, some musical guests only performed during the end credits and participated in the Cooldown section of the programme. However, all bands performed during the credits and were interviewed in the Cooldown segment.
Once the show moved to BBC One, it moved to Monday nights, and the guest list increased to three or occasionally four people, with an accompanying reduction in Norton's signature pieces. A typical show consisted of one big celebrity name, a comedian sitting in the aforementioned comedy chair and a well-known musical personality who would all be introduced after the monologue. Sometimes three guests are introduced at the top of the show with the musical guest brought in about 10 to 15 minutes before the end of the show.
Unlike the BBC Two show, the BBC One show does not end with the musical performance, but with a new audience participation segment called That's All We've Got Time For, where audience members sit in the famous red chair and begin to tell a humorous story. Graham and his guests listen to the stories and if Graham gets bored, he – or occasionally a guest – pulls the lever and the chair falls backwards, dumping the speaker from it. The red chair segment was inspired by comedian Ronnie Corbett's longwinded armchair monologues.
The first series began at 10pm on 22 February 2007 on BBC Two and was originally slated to end on 24 May 2007 after 13 episodes. However, the series proved such a hit that it was extended for an additional six episodes. A 12-week second series began on 11 October 2007, and culminated with a Boxing Day special and New Year's compilation from previous episodes.
The show made its North American premiere on BBC America on 2 June 2007, one week after what was supposed to be the final episode of Series 1 (before its extension).
Series 2 premiered on BBC America on 20 October 2007. Unlike the previous series, each episode premiered in the United States only 9 days after the initial UK broadcast. However, the final three episodes were broadcast in reverse order (with Episode 12 being shown on BBC America a few days earlier than on BBC Two. The same thing occurred in Series 4 with the Christmas special airing on BBC America 10 days before the BBC Two broadcast.
Series 3 began its run on 17 April 2008. For series 3, the "Cooldown" segment had been dropped, and the show was just the full uncut 45-minute version of the show. The show was originally recorded in studio 2 at The London Studios, but moved to studio 1, due to the slot of The Paul O'Grady Show and the high audience numbers.
The show continued to be broadcast in a 30-minute version on Thursdays at 10pm with Graham Norton Uncut, the uncut version shown on Sundays at around 11pm in a 45-minute version. However, BBC Two in Wales sometimes broadcast the Thursday edition later than the rest of the BBC Two regions, usually after Newsnight at 11.20pm because they would usually have local programmes in the 10pm slot. BBC Two Northern Ireland did the same, and during series three, they broadcast Thursday's show on Friday nights at 10pm on BBC Two Northern Ireland because of local programming on Thursdays.
Series 4 began its run on 3 October 2008 at 10pm on BBC Two (however, both BBC Two Wales and BBC Two Northern Ireland broadcast the show at a later time due to their regional programming). The Sunday uncut editions have been kept, with the first uncut edition broadcast on BBC Two late on Sunday night.
Since its sixth series, The Graham Norton Show has aired on BBC One. As of 2017, there have been 21 series of the show.
In late January 2017 it was confirmed that Graham Norton had signed a new three-year deal with the BBC which along with his BBC Radio 2 show, Eurovision commentary duties and other projects for the BBC, it will also keep The Graham Norton Show on BBC One until at least 2020. Graham said "We’ve just done a deal for another three years, which right now feels like a long time".
Across Scandinavia, The Graham Norton Show is shown frequently on cable and satellite channels BBC Brit, formerly known as BBC Entertainment. Episodes are usually shown a week after their original UK airing on BBC One, while re-runs from past seasons are shown overnight or during the day.
In Latin America, Poland and several countries in continental Europe, The Graham Norton Show is aired on satellite channel BBC Entertainment. Episodes are usually shown a week after their original UK airing on BBC One, while re-runs from past seasons are shown over-night or during daytime.
In the United States, starting 11 April 2013, cable/satellite network BBC America aired new episodes on Thursdays. It then aired every Saturday night on BBC America, normally eight days after the BBC.. In November 2015, The Weinstein Company bought the series rights in the United States and took a break while negotiating a new contract with BBC America. On 18 January 2016, BBC America aired the 2015 New Year's Eve episode. On 21 January 2016, the network announced that the programme would be returning on Monday, 25 January 2016, with new episodes now airing three days after the BBC airing. In 2017, it then returned to it’s time slot on Saturday nights.
In Ireland, the show is broadcast on TV3 and its sister channel 3e one day after the BBC broadcast on Saturdays. In January 2015, UTV Ireland aired the show every Sunday night. TV3 Group continued to air "Best of" Specials recorded prior to 2015. This arrangement changed in January 2017 when the TV3 Group bought UTV Ireland and changed it to "be3" channel. TV3 then moved The Graham Norton Show back to their main channel, where it airs every Saturday, 24 hours after UK transmission, usually at around 9.30pm.
In Australia, the series is broadcast on Network Ten on Friday nights, airing one week after original broadcast in the UK. Additionally, for Pay TV viewers (Foxtel and Austar), it airs on UKTV at 9.30pm Mondays, with repeats on Tuesdays and Saturdays. It previously aired on ABC2 on Thursday nights from 2007 to 2012. In New Zealand, the show was originally broadcast on UKTV. Since the start of Series 11 on 4 May 2012, the show has been broadcast on TV3 on Friday nights.
All ratings are taken from BARB.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||19||22 February 2007||5 July 2007||BBC Two|
|2||12||11 October 2007||26 December 2007|
|3||12||17 April 2008||3 July 2008|
|4||14||2 October 2008||30 December 2008|
|5||12||5 March 2009||28 May 2009|
|6||13||5 October 2009||31 December 2009||BBC One|
|7||12||12 April 2010||28 June 2010|
|8||20||22 October 2010||11 March 2011|
|9||13||15 April 2011||8 July 2011|
|10||21||21 October 2011||16 March 2012|
|11||13||13 April 2012||6 July 2012|
|12||20||19 October 2012||22 March 2013|
|13||14||5 April 2013||5 July 2013|
|14||20||11 October 2013||28 February 2014|
|15||13||4 April 2014||27 June 2014|
|16||24||26 September 2014||20 March 2015|
|17||13||10 April 2015||3 July 2015|
|18||20||25 September 2015||19 February 2016|
|19||15||25 March 2016||1 July 2016|
|20||22||30 September 2016||3 March 2017|
|21||13||7 April 2017||30 June 2017|
|22||19||29 September 2017||N/A|