I've written a bit about how much I enjoy The Graham Norton Show on BBC America. It's done something rare -- taken the standard talk show that has its tried-and-true format and created its own unique style. In fairness, they only do it once a week, and seemingly for only about half a year, so that allows them more freedom to do deep research and get such good guests. But it's still a reinvention and still vibrant, freewheeling, interesting and fun.
I don't love everything about it -- "The Big Red Chair" segment, for instance, doesn't especially work for me. I'd rather listen to the guests than some audience member winging-it with some silly story about their life. Yet it's still a clever idea, so I'm glad they have it. And overall, they do a terrific job.
I get the sense that James Corden (who would know the show well, coming from England) was inspired by the show when developing his own. It doesn't work as well for a variety of reasons, though a main one is that Corden has to do his show every night, every week of the year.
It turns out that very recently, in late January, Norton was the surprise recipient of a lifetime honor on the National Television Awards in England. And when they do that, the NTAs have a tradition: they split the screen and show not only the award presentation and video of his career, but also the full reaction of the honoree discovering that he's the one about to get the lifetime Special Recognition award and then watching the retrospective.
Here's that moment from the NTA. His surprise and emotion throughout is wonderful. The video doesn't give a full idea of what the show does and does so well, but from all the things said about him with clearly such affection by major celebrities and from some of the clips, you'll probably get a good idea of it all, along with his very gracious, off-the-cuff speech.
( I recommend making the video full-screen, since it will make it easier to watch the picture-in-picture.)
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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