Graham William Walker is an Irish actor, comedian, television presenter and columnist, known by his stage name Graham Norton. He is the host of the comedy chat show The Graham Norton Show and the BBC commentator of the Eurovision Song Contest.
In 1992 his stand-up comedy drag act in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as a tea-towel clad Mother Teresa of Calcutta made the press when Scottish Television's religious affairs department mistakenly thought he represented the real Mother Teresa.
His rise to fame began as one of the early successes of Channel 5, when he won an award for his performance as the stand-in host of a late-night TV talk show usually presented by Jack Docherty. This was followed by a comic quiz show on Channel 5 called Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment. In 1996, Norton co-hosted the late-night quiz show Carnal Knowledge on ITV with Maria McErlane. Norton also played the part of Father Noel Furlong in 3 episodes of the popular Channel 4 series Father Ted in 1996; where he was often seen taking charge of a small youth folk-group.
After this early success, Norton moved to Channel 4 to host his own chat shows including So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton. As a performer who is naturally camp and flamboyant, it was here that Norton's act was fully honed as a cheeky, innuendo-laden joker.
He was named at number 34 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011:
It was TV shows like So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton that made the irreverent Irishman a household name. Following in the footsteps of near-to-the-knuckle comedian Julian Clary, Graham was part of a new breed of comics who were openly gay and fused their sexuality with both innuendo and blatantly funny filth to get a laugh. But Graham’s never been one to remain pigeonholed and appeals to a wide demographic. Family audiences accept him in Strictly Dance Fever and Eurovision. And he slipped comfortably into Jonathan Ross’s adult shoes for his Friday night chat show. Fifteen years into his career, and he’s top of his game.