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The shoot over, Norton changes into tight-fit black cords and a tight-fit pale green designer jumper with a large peace sign on the front.
After a year Norton returned, went to England and enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama.Indeed a section of the gay community is said to resent the way he has followed in the mincing footsteps of Larry Grayson, Kenneth Williams and Frankie Howard, perpetuating the idea that a gay man cannot succeed on television unless he is insanely camp.'Yes, well, it's not a lie, I suppose. "' Norton pauses to flick imaginary dust off his knee. Not long ago the BBC tried to poach him for £5 million for a two-year contract but he decided to stick with Channel 4 (where he is paid £1 million a year plus bonuses for his five-nights-a-week show, V Graham Norton), because he felt Channel 4 was the natural home for his brand of smutty humour.'That said, I did feel Uncle Tom-ish when the writers who do the opening gags on the show made me play a straight person's version of a gay man. Since winning the Best Newcomer prize at the British Comedy Awards in 1997 (after standing in for the Channel 5 talk-show host Jack Docherty, who was expected to win the award and, even more embarrassingly, was sitting at the same table as Norton for the ceremony) Norton has become the face of Channel 4.Where I get bored is when I show up for a shoot and they want me to wear a feather boa. So every gay personal as says "straight acting"."How straight acting? If you go to a gay club and the doorman says, "You do realise this is a gay club, don't you lads? I should have made more of a fuss.'Is it that he is just shallow? I do get pleasure from very inconsequential things, like shopping for clothes. What appeals to a mass audience, suddenly, overnight, fascinates me.Too obvious a thing for a poof on the telly to do.' But surely he has done more than anyone in recent years to reinforce that steroetype of gay men? " you get all excited because you think, "Wow, he thought I was straight! I feel in tune with all that.'And perhaps this is why Graham Norton is considered the hottest property on British television at the moment, and why he will be on our television screens almost every night over Christmas (Norton turns up again in the new year with a documentary about Shanghai).As a consequence Channel 4 gave him his own show, So Graham Norton, the next year.
While at university he had what he describes as a 'psychotic episode' in which he locked himself away for several weeks and collected dead flies.
In another wheeze he found people with funny names, such as Mrs Djerkoff and Mr Bollacks, and phoned them up.
When Sir Elton John appeared on the show he found himself playing with a vibrator attached to a football and talking on a cuddly-dog telephone to a deranged fetishist in a silver lamé astronaut suit, who reached sexual climax mid-conversation.
His father, Billy, who worked as a sales rep for Guinness, and his mother, Rhoda, were among the few Protestants living in a mainly Catholic area and sent Graham and his sister Paula (two years his senior) to a Protestant boarding school.
Graham was considered a bright pupil and won a place to read English and French at University College, Cork, only to drop out after a year to live in a hippie commune in San Francisco.
It would be almost impossible for Graham Norton to be Graham Norton 24 hours a day.