Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Broken ribs and sober Eurovision for Graham Norton

Tomorrow's Eurovision Song Contest will be a testing time for Graham Norton as well as its UK contestant.

The cheeky Irish chat show host, 46, has big boots to fill after Sir Terry Wogan's final stint as commentator last year, a job he had made his own.

Sir Terry's name had been synonymous with Eurovision since the early 1970s and he generated affection among Eurovision audiences for his dry remarks and chuckles about the weird and wonderful sights to behold.

But last year's drubbing for the UK, despite a valiant effort from ex-bin man Andy Abraham, appeared to be the last straw.

Sir Terry's final years were marked by bad results and voting which seemed to have more to do with politics than anything else.

Sir Terry said last year he felt the show was "no longer a music contest".

Norton, whose tongue-in-cheek interviewing of A-list stars has won a popular following, has said he will not be to try to emulate his predecessor and has promised to follow his own path.

He also said he would not poke fun just for the sake of it, telling the BBC: "I'll get there and say what I see fit."

If the UK pulls it off, Norton's celebration will be a sober one.

He is still taking painkillers after breaking his ribs in a fall at home after hosting the TV Baftas.

Norton told the BBC: "I was planning on having a bottle of cheap vodka on an intravenous drip the whole way through, but when I opened my pain medication it said avoid alcoholic beverages.

"I'm going to be sober in Moscow. So I might be quite grumpy by the end."

He added: "If I was lucky enough to be asked to do it again, I'd do it.

"I'd like to get involved in another show to select our entry, as it's great to witness the journey."

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