Graham Norton mistaken for Lord Lloyd-Webber at Eurovision
The host was shown to an opulent hotel room where a message on the TV read: ‘Welcome to Moscow, Lord Graham Norton.’
Graham Norton has told how he was mistaken for Lord Lloyd-Webber and given what he thought was the composer’s “palatial” suite at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow.
The presenter, known for his scathing Eurovision commentary, said “some sort of mix-up” led the hotel to believe he was the West End musical impresario.
Norton arrived at his room in the Russian capital to find the TV showing the message: “Welcome to Moscow, Lord Graham Norton.”
He thought Lord Lloyd-Webber had most likely ended up in his BBC-financed room – “some little single cell somewhere with an ironing board and a kettle”.
Lord Lloyd-Webber attended the contest after his song with Grammy-winning US songwriter Diane Warren, It’s My Time, was chosen for UK entry Jade Ewen.
She finished in fifth place, making her the most successful British Eurovision act since 2002.
Norton arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Friday ahead of Saturday’s grand final which he will host for the BBC.
He said: “I got to Moscow and, you know, it’s the BBC, so I got shown up to my room and I thought, ‘Wow, what has happened? This room’s lovely’.
“It was absolutely lovely, palatial room I was in. Then I noticed on the television, it was the year Andrew Webber wrote the song, and on my television it said, ‘Welcome to Moscow, Lord Graham Norton’.
“And I just thought, I wonder if Mr Andrew Webber is in some little single cell somewhere with an ironing board and a kettle while I’m eating truffles, ‘mmm’.”
Norton was speaking on the BBC Eurovision Calling podcast, hosted by Scott Mills and Jayde Adams.
“There was obviously some sort of mix-up,” he added.
“They knew one of us was a lord and they got the wrong one. I was like, yes, I’ve been knighted and I haven’t even done it yet – services to Eurovision.”
This year’s event marks a decade since Norton, now 56, took over from Sir Terry Wogan as host of the BBC’s coverage.
Norton said he thought this year’s UK entry Michael Rice, who owns a waffle shop in Hartlepool, was a “serious contender” but worried his age could count against him.
He said: “I do worry for him because he’s so young. To be taken from waffle shop to Tel Aviv – that’s a big ask. It’s a big, big ask.
“And you don’t get very much rehearsal as the UK entry because you don’t get to do the semis, so you’re just straight in there.
“He’s so adorable. Hopefully that charm will kind of carry him over. Also, I think there would be a lot of Brits there this year. And that kind of cheers people up.”
The timing of this year’s Eurovision means Norton will miss hosting The Graham Norton Show for the first time in 20 years. Jack Whitehall will stand in for him on Friday night.
BBC One’s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest’s grand final is on Saturday May 18 from 8pm (BST).
The latest episode of Eurovision Calling is out on Friday night.