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TV: Graham Norton Show (Episode 6.4 Mon 26 Oct 2009)

October 30, 2009

Singer Michael Buble is a TV executive’s dream. Not only is the man unbearably cute, at home singing live and comes with a band who dress a set perfectly, the singer also has that rare talent of being able to engage in the perfect banter for a mainstream entertainment show.

Obviously, Michael Buble had something to sell. No guest goes on a chat show without a good reason. His reason is a new album, an album which accompanies a tour it seems. And yet, the 34 year old combined an endearing nervousness with boyish enthusiasm whilst sat alongside Lily Cole, Isabella Rossalini and Sue Perkins. Little wonder we wanted the anecdotes to keep coming.

Chat wasn’t relegated during this particular show, surprising given the crowd of guests Norton faced. Banter ensued instead, with just the right combination of giggling, put-downs and innuendo. Oh .. and of course there was a ginger joke. (I hope to God no-one starts saying that’s offensive. Catherine Tate did a series of sketches about that. She sets the precedent.)

Two and a half years ago, I stood in the Executive Producer’s office at So Television all green, naiive and lonely. I hadn’t really gelled with anyone during my work experience week. I’d made no-one laugh, embarrassed myself by doing research no-one asked for, succeeding only in making the production team certain I was a tabloid journalist desperate to find some dirt.

“When will Graham be on BBC One ?” I asked the exec, desperate to ingratiate myself, “Isn’t it time he got his 45 minutes on a Friday? He’s the perfect Friday-nighter.”

A few months after that I winced with embarrassment when I recalled that exchange. Experience has shown that anything I like on BBC Two (The Graham Norton Show started on BBC Two) normally seriously goes off the boil when it moves to BBC One. Yes, we might all be consuming our TV via BBC iPlayer, but still the audience profile and the material for each of those networks differs considerably.

When I heard The Graham Norton Show would move to BBC One I reckoned that would be the end of it, that I’d look back over my blogs about the show and realise the sad truth: the only reason I watched it was because of the rose-tinted memories which remained from those 13 days at So Television in March 2007.

Episode 4 of this new series – The Buble Show – proves me wrong. It holds up well as testament to how chat / entertainment shows really can work just so long as the right combination of people are producing it.

A successful show depends on the chemistry between the guests, the ideas of the producer and the effeciency of the production team. Episode 4 sits well on BBC One – better than quite a few originally aired on BBC Two and an illustration of how some things take a lot of finessing before the right combination of elements can be exploited for good TV.

I hope to God Episode 5 is just as good, otherwise I’m going to look like a complete twat.

(remember to set your stopwatch running after the end to monitor exactly how long it will take before you realise this song will be played everywhere, accompanying all sorts of TV montages – it *will* happen)


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One Comment
  1. I fully agree – Graham really seems to be coming into his own now. I think the Monday night slot is really quite a good idea.

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