Your "favourite shiny Irish poof", as Graham Norton describes himself, was not always heading for a career in comedy. He forfeited his place at Cork University for a flight for freedom to San Francisco where he lived in a commune. The experience led him to the conclusion that acting was the life for him and he enrolled in the prestigious Central School of Drama in London.
Despite his desire to become a serious actor, it was soon clear that Graham's future lay in making people laugh. He performed his one-man shows at the Edinburgh Festival from 1992 to 1997 when he was nominated for a Perrier award. This led to him being offered a stand-in position on the Jack Docherty Show, five weeks later he was voted Best Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards (for which Docherty was also nominated).
Channel 4 soon offered him his own chat show and So Graham Norton was born. It was a magnificent mess of the camp, the obscene and the hilarious and led to it being snapped up by BBC America and in turn, a US version being born to further cheers and laughter across the pond.
The lure of a 5 million GBP contract brought Graham into Auntie's clutches where he is being touted a the man to revive the Saturday night schedules. A task many have tried to grapple with but which none have, as yet, got a firm grip on. Perhaps he will do.