Graham Norton goes behind the scenes of his show's famous red chair to meet the people who have entertained the nation with their stories.
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This programme contains some strong language and adult humour.
Someone utters one of the most terrifying phrases -
"I have such a good story" -
and there's nothing you can do to stop them,
which is why we came up with this.
We call it the Big Red Chair.
-But before I could get away, it just lifted up and went...
Basically I'd ruptured my whole testicle.
Then we decided to dress up as prostitutes.
Somebody smacked me, I pooped everywhere.
I'll vote for you if you show me your tits.
Welcome to the Big Red Chair,
as we celebrate the history
of one TV's most famous pieces of soft furnishing.
Your best story ever, off you go.
We'll meet some of the 500 storytellers
who have graced the chair.
Many not for very long.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
You'll get the chance to hear again
stories you've never forgotten.
So the first thing you need to know
is that my girlfriend and I were butt naked in bed.
And many you wish you could.
Oh! Oh! Oh!
And we'll reveal the secret
of how to tell the perfect Red Chair story.
That is the most beautiful story I've ever heard.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The Red Chair all started back in 2009,
when we had one of our all-time favourite guests on the show,
the late Ronnie Corbett. Now, we wanted to pay tribute
to Ronnie's classic monologues
and came up with the idea of letting some of the studio audience
tell a Corbett-style story.
With a twist that if either of us got bored...
-Is that it?
-I think that's the end.
..I could flip them into oblivion.
SHE SCREAMS, APPLAUSE
So began the Big Red Chair.
Now, all we had to do
was find people who could tell good stories...
and we did.
-What's your name?
My name's Aileen.
-And I'm guessing you're from Ireland?
I am, I'm from Derry.
Oh, you're from Derry, from the north of the country.
OK. And do you live there or here?
Study here, I live over there.
Oh, right, what are...? What are you studying?
Costume design. Costume interpretation.
OK, there will be subtitles on Friday.
Right now, only I can understand it.
Well, you can probably understand it, too.
-No. So far, you're not missing anything.
-Hi, what's your name?
-Tony, lovely Tony.
Nice to speak with you, Graham.
It's good, Tony. What do you do?
I work as a secondary school teacher, Graham.
Oh, yes? Specific subject?
No, I work with... Mainly now behaviour,
-with all the little rascals.
OK, off you go.
Right, so, late after Christmas, I was back home, um...
Look at that face!
Did you get any of it? Christmas.
-Something about Christmas.
That's the only good detail so far.
Just pick out words, you'll follow the story.
Just say, "Blah, blah, blah, Christmas, blah, blah, blah, home."
I'm going into the shop
and I had to get milk and bread.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
So I, literally, was really stressed,
so I was like, "Run in, run out, get the groceries, let's go."
Told my boyfriend do a lap and just pick me up, no need to park the car.
So, as planned, I came out...
You know, perfectly timing.
Er, silver people carrier, just casually drifts by, casual speed.
So, without hesitation, I sprint across,
with my groceries...
Jump in the back of the car,
screaming and thumping the back of the chair,
shouting, "Go, go, go, go!"
But taking in mind it was Christmas and I had like a scarf up here
-and a hat over here...
..I thought, which was my boyfriend? Turned out to be this middle aged,
like, 60-year-old woman.
And pushed her foot on the accelerator and, like,
pushed me into a lamppost.
APPLAUSE Oh! It's a good story.
You walk, you walk.
Go, go, go. Well done. Very good.
We'd just gone back to school in January, I've had...
Got my new suit, I always like to get a new suit for the New Year.
-And... Yeah, naturally. And what's happened is,
I've gone into the canteen as normal,
cos I always like to eat with the pupils and then go out on duty.
So, I've gone down, it's me favourite -
there's a little roast dinner.
So I've gone into the queue, nice little bit of lamb, roast potatoes,
greens, gravy and, er...
I thought to myself, normally I don't get an afters, I thought,
"I'll have a little afters, have a bit of apple pie and custard, lovely."
So, I've got that, got me little tray,
walk round where you go to get the forks and knives
and as I've gone round, there must have been a bit of water.
I didn't see the water. The old foot's gone,
I thought, "Shit, I'm going over,"
and it went in slow motion, I can still remember it,
it was slow motion, and I've got the tray,
I'm thinking, I've got to hold that tray.
I've gone over, me back's hit the floor, the tray's gone over,
I've got gravy, custard, apple pie and a little bit of lamb,
and as I've looked up, through the gravy and the custard,
I can see 100 teenagers going, "Sir's gone over!
"Sir's gone over!"
And that's me story, Graham.
-Aw, he can walk.
-Give me a little flip, Graham. Give me a flip.
OK, here you go.
-Well done, Tony.
And from Monday morning, it's just like, "Sir, you're on telly,
"you're a celebrity, you know Kevin Hart, he's your mate.
"Ice Cube, he's your mate."
I'm going, "Yeah he's me mate, he's me mate, yeah,
"don't worry, we went out, had a drink."
They're going, "Sir, you've got to get me on telly."
I didn't expect, in any way, for as many people to really see it.
I was, like, getting, like, people jumping out of their cars,
to come over and get a photograph.
And from there, it progresses
where I'm on a corridor, I've got, like, kids,
"Ah, Sir's gone over, Sir's gone over!"
-Sir's gone over! Sir's gone over!
And that went on for weeks.
I remember finding this weird section on Facebook
that's like your other outbox where people that aren't your friend
can message you.
So many different people from all over the world.
A lot of like positive, like, "You don't know me, but that was amazing,
"you really made my night."
I had a few, um, marriage proposals, but it was fun.
A lot of it, it was all positive, it was all, like, light-hearted.
The thought of making people laugh is really, really nice.
Nice to speak with you, Graham.
You've got ordinary people, you know, from all backgrounds,
different areas of Britain go on there and tell a story.
That's what people remember, they remember that Red Chair.
It's Graham Norton and the Red Chair go together.
I think the Red Chair is so iconic and it is a classic,
like it's a classic of humour that will never get old and I think,
with me, it was a bit up and down, cos I was...
I did... They couldn't understand me and they could work out that I
had a bit of, like, energy,
but they didn't know how well the story is going to tell,
and I think that was really nice.
Like, I really didn't think how much of an impact it would have.
Go, go, go, go, go!
CAR ENGINE SCREECHES
What's the big deal? It's not even that scary.
It was a moment of a lifetime.
I just can't believe it, that all them people are looking at me, you know.
So far, we've had 500 stories told in the Red Chair and I think that
qualifies as a fair, statistical sample to teach us about
the audience for the show.
Firstly, women are keener than men to tell their story.
-14% more, actually.
And the geographical spread of our chair-fillers is truly amazing.
Obviously, the locals dominate,
but then come the Americans,
and our favourites, the Kiwis.
Then the Aussies, the Irish, the Northern Irish
and the Scots.
And the balance is made up by the South Africans,
the French, the Welsh,
the Mexicans, the Dutch, the Spanish, the Latvians, the Czechs,
the Hungarians... Pretty much every developed country in the world,
including those well-known yarn-spinners in Ecuador.
The secret of telling a good story?
Structure. And to have that, you need three things - a sold middle...
My hand was paralysed for half a day and I had, er,
no feeling in my arms for six months.
-A great opening...
-I used to ride an Arab stallion in the desert.
And a brilliant ending.
His tiny, little penis rubbing against my hand.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Though not necessarily in that order.
This is not as easy as you think, which is what Mia discovered...
-..when she took her turn in the Red Chair,
and so began what is known world-wide now
as The Mystery Of The Dog Basket Lady.
So I was at a university reunion, in Baslow,
which is up north somewhere in a big country house.
We'd not seen each other in a while...
We were just having drinks, we went to the pub,
got a bit lairy at the pub, no-pants dance, teddy bear rolls.
Just standard on a night out.
-We go back...
-..have some more drinks...
And then me and my friend go to get some drinks in the utility room and
it's winter, it's just the winter just gone, so it's really cold,
and the door shuts and there's no handle on the other side of the door.
So we're like, "Oh, this is the utility room, no drinks in here."
Anyway, banging on the door, banging on the door, half an hour, an hour,
an hour and a half. They've all gone to bed, assumed we'd get to bed.
We realise that we're stuck in this utility room,
it was about minus three degrees and there's a dog basket and some coats
and we watched a bit of Bear Grylls, so I think, "We're just going to
"have to get in the dog basket
"with my friend's parents' coats all around us,
"try to make us a bed," and realise that you have to sort of take your
clothes off to stay really warm, cos it was really, really cold, Graham, it really was.
-And then, um...
..no-one's coming, we're banging on the door,
we've got no phones, there's no toilet.
I really, really need a wee at this point.
There's just a bowl, so... With the dog basket!
You know that, that happens. Then one thing leads to another
in the dog basket, and he gets injured. Anyway...
OK, there are so many bits of this story missing.
So, you're having sex in a dog basket...
No! I'm not, I'm not! I'm absolutely not!
-"One thing led to another."
What else does that mean?!
I just needed to make that innuendo.
Anyway, he gets injured, there's a lot of blood everywhere, going on...
From the dog, or...?
There's no dog... Pull the lever, pull the lever, Graham, please.
I'm going to pull the lever.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
We have no idea what went on in that dog basket and since the story was
broadcast we have been asked countless times for an explanation.
'To put the nation's mind at rest,
'we've tried to track down Mia to fill in the gaps.'
We did get a message eventually.
"I'm in the Himalayas."
'I think the mystery of the dog basket lady
'may go on for some time.'
Pull the lever, pull the lever, Graham, please.
I'm going to pull the lever!
500 stories in, there are some Red Chair patterns emerging,
and through them, we can get a glimpse of what the world
really cares about.
That would be at number two in the Top Story Subjects...
How can I put this?
I peed myself.
I basically pooper-scooped my own poo
out of the toilet.
I saw that I had not in fact
sat on a soft toilet seat but I'd actually sat and weed on my friend's
elderly nan, who was also answering a call to nature.
Oh, it's a double decky!
I was sat down, having a nice little wee,
when it turned out I wasn't actually going for a wee,
it was actually a poo. Um... And it got stuck, as I was going,
in between the outside of my bum and my bowel
and the outside of my bum cheek,
so I had to de-wedge it with some tissue.
And in my frenzy, as I brought it round, it flew across the toilet.
There was immediately a massive shriek from next door
and all I could do was run.
That's quite a good story. That is quite a good story, yeah.
I turned my head to look down the toilet,
which was not in a particularly lovely state,
to see a rat swimming in the toilet, staring up at me.
I'm ashamed to say I was so desperate for the toilet
-that I peed on the rat.
OK, so I was out for a run with my friend Dunc and we're running past,
running past a car and Dunc really needed to go for a poo.
We saw a toilet block, it was a men's and a woman's and...
we ran over to the men's, and he was busting,
he really needed to get this thing out of him,
and the men's was closed,
so at this stage he didn't even care,
so he went over to the woman's toilets and that was closed as well.
So he's frantically looking round, "Where can I go? Where can I go?"
So he ran over to this
bush and crouched down behind this bush and he went.
And about 30 seconds later, I saw this big German Shepherd,
came bounding over, and Dunc pulled his pants up,
jogged off and then this...
And then about 20 seconds later the owner of the German Shepherd
came over and she was like, "Oh, Roy, you naughty boy"...
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
..and picks up the poo, ties it to her belt,
and then just wanders off with this poo dangling from her belt.
You can walk! Well done. Very good story, very good story.
And at number one, and how could there be any doubt about this?
It's Sex & Nudity.
So the first thing you need to know is that my girlfriend and I
-were butt naked in bed.
-Good start to any story.
-Yeah, very good start, very good start.
110 metre hurdles, I'm up next.
So, go and do my warm up, you know, brace myself,
bearing in mind the 110 metre guys are, like, warming up,
the hottest guys you've ever seen.
So, I was like, brace myself, look them dead in the eye and was like,
"Let's do this". One, two, three, jump.
One, two, three, jump.
One, two, three, 3.5,
hurdle, me, crash, bang.
Basically I popped my cherry on a hurdle.
I had a...
And we were in a train carriage travelling through South Africa,
all of a sudden the train started to slow down...
-..and that sent me careering through the partition door,
and I landed straight on top of the woman that was in the other cabin.
It's at that moment when her husband woke up
-and realised I was sitting on his wife's face.
When I first came to London,
I was at a nightclub and I started dancing with this really cute guy
and started making out with him.
I went to a family reunion, it was actually my cousin,
that I didn't know who it was.
Ooh! Ooh, ooh!
Having fallen asleep in the cinema, I thought, "Go to the loo,
"get myself together, come back."
Thought, "I'm losing this guy here."
So I sat down and started having a little fumble in his lap
and this, um, girl leaned forward and said, um, "Excuse me,
"what are you doing with my boyfriend?"
I'm feeling up the wrong guy!
So, I'm in bed with an ex-lover of mine,
and we decided we'd engage in some grown-up activities.
-You know, dinner for two.
More than 68, but not quite 70.
Because I'm so lazy by nature, I'm on the bottom...
Um, so I can't breath through my mouth, obviously, cos it's full.
LAUGHTER AND GASPING
So, I've taken a very deep breath through my nose.
-SHE INHALES DEEPLY
-At which point his testicles
form a tight seal...
..across my nostrils, so I can't breath at all!
So, I'm wriggling around, panicking, he's thinking, obviously,
"Oh, she's loving this."
I'm going to do that, yeah.
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
-What's your name, sir?
-My name's Howie Poon.
-Er, what do you do, sir?
-I'm a flight attendant.
A flight attendant. OK, off you go with your story.
OK, so I had to take my 70-year-old Chinese mum
to her gynaecologist's check-up appointment and I had to...
Can I just say, already my hopes for this story are so high...
LAUGHTER AND WHOOPING
..I can't tell you!
So, basically, we get to the office,
I tell her gynaecologist that I have to translate.
The gynaecologist has a smirk on her face and says, "Well,
"I'm going to have to ask you a couple of uncomfortable questions,
"um, you know, to translate for your mum."
So she's like, "I need to know if your mum is sexually active
"and I need to know how active she is".
So, keep in mind she's 70 years old.
So, I um translate in Chinese, I'm like...
HE SPEAKS IN NATIVE LANGUAGE
Basically that means, "Do you guys still have sex?"
So my mum hits me in the shoulder, she's like, "You know your dad,
"of course we do, five to six times a week."
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
So, basically, like, I'm completely embarrassed,
my mum's not even shy about it.
I go from, like, basically
embarrassed to depressed, cos Mum and Dad are getting more than I am.
Can he walk? He should... You walk, yeah.
My parents like to go walking all the time in their neighbourhood
and a lot of their friends, who've seen the clip, they're like,
"It's good to see you walking again Mrs Poon!"
When she first found out,
she thought I was crazy for telling this story.
She was, she was like,
"Why didn't you tell a story of how we struggled coming to America?"
And I was like, um...
"It's a funny show, no-one wants to hear your struggles," you know.
My dad actually was actually pretty proud, he's like,
"How do I find this on YouTube so I can show my friends?"
So what would Mr and Mrs Poon say is the secret to a happy marriage?
I think I might know the answer to this.
Well, yeah, I didn't get to finish the story.
So, basically, after that translation, my mum, like,
hits me on the shoulder and she's like,
"Oh, and since your dad just got a pacemaker,
"could you ask the doctor if it's OK if we have sex?"
And the doctor translates to me and says,
"It's perfectly healthy for your dad to have a healthy sex life,
"just make sure he doesn't exert too much."
Maybe have your mum do the work and have her get on top sometimes."
And in my head, I'm just like,
"There is no way I'm going to translate that."
So in Chinese I basically go...
Told my mum, "Just have Dad take it easy."
Now, I don't always have the patience to hear everybody's story.
If you don't grab my attention straightaway,
then prepare for whiplash.
This is it, the big time awaits.
If I ever want to have my hair cut,
I have to travel 150 miles, cos I...
-What's your name?
-What do you do, Jeremy?
-I'm a student.
I'm a storyteller.
I'm a real estate sustainability consultant.
So, I'm in France, on holiday with my sister.
It's meaner to let them start telling the story.
-Hello, Mr Graham Norton and guests.
I didn't have time to put my underwear on.
He dressed to match a chair!
My story is about my pixies.
-Have you got a bag?
-I do have a bag, yeah, it's a laundry bag.
Who's up next?
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
I just didn't have the emotional energy to cope with that.
Come back and see us later in the series!
Not everybody gets to feel the wrath of the flip.
Catch me on a good night with a solid story
and I'll happily let you walk.
Shall we let her walk? Yeah, walk. Go on, walk.
It felt so good to walk.
You can walk! Well done, very good...
At the end of it, when I was just like, "Yes!"
I was so happy.
I was just... It just felt like I'd accomplished something.
When I was 13 years of age, I was playing golf
and I got struck by lightning.
Three friends watched me get hit by lightning.
I was really happy when I wasn't flipped
and was able to walk off happily.
You can walk, you can walk.
Yeah, I think it was a bit of an ego boost.
-Hello, what's your name?
-Hey, I'm Aran.
Aran, he's Aran.
-Like the jumper.
-Yes, exactly the same, yes.
Like the jumper. Off you go with your story.
OK, so when I was 14, went on holiday to Tenerife with my parents,
had a great holiday, came home on the Sunday night,
to start school on the Monday.
On Sunday night, went for a shower, slapped on some after sun,
didn't really think much about it, till the next morning, woke up,
looked in the mirror, was covered in orange blotches.
Turned out I had used my mum's fake tan by accident,
instead of the after sun.
Went in, says to my mum, "No way, not going to school."
And she basically said, "No, you're definitely going,"
got sent to school, got taken there and basically was ridiculed all day
and got given the nickname Aran Brew!
That saved it, that saved it.
You can walk, Aran Brew. Very good!
Everyone says, "I can't believe you got to walk, if anything,
"you know, instead of getting flipped".
But then part of me secretly also wouldn't have minded being flipped.
-Hi, what's your name?
My name's Kealy Peachy, I'm 25 and I'm from Hackney.
Yay! WHOOPING AND APPLAUSE
She's working the crowd, she's on fire.
-We love Hackney.
-I love Hackney.
-OK, and what do you do in Hackney? What do you do in Hackney?
-I work for a balloting company.
-A balloting company.
-So, we administer elections.
Oh, wow! Oh, so you're busy... once in a while.
Not at the moment, but OK. Off you go with your story.
OK, so I was 16 and I'd finally inherited an heirloom
that I'd wanted my entire life - it was a gun and not like...
The most you could do to hurt someone was hit it over the head.
Wait, wait, can I just say, yeah, she's got a gun, she's 16.
-And she's got a gun. This story may not go well.
It's perfectly normal in your country. It's perfectly normal.
And... So, basically, the day I got it,
I was just elated, and for some reason - please don't ask me why -
but I put my finger in the barrel and it got stuck.
So, this is the infamous gun.
As you can see, it's practically a stick and this is the barrel
where I decided to put my finger, because I'm an idiot.
So, in the end, I thought, "OK, I've got to go to A&E and get this thing off."
-I got in a cab with a jumper over...
-LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
..put the gun in, in my jumper, as you do!
And I went to A&E and I thought, "OK what's the best way to do this?"
Cos there was genuinely sick people in A&E.
I went to the desk and I said to the lady...
I was like, whispered, "I'm really sorry,
"I don't mean to alarm you but I've got a gun stuck to my finger."
And she just flew back in her chair and screamed, "You've a gun?!"
I was like, "No, no, no."
The longer I was going on, I was like,
"OK, they're liking the story." I didn't think I'd walk
because you just don't know whether he's going to flip you for the sake of it.
You can walk! You can walk!
And the best bit, Lenny Kravitz gave me a standing ovation -
which is a claim to fame there.
Well done, that lady.
And just sometimes, you can get a second chance.
My name's Adam Shaw, Graham.
OK. And what do you do, Adam?
-I'm an actor.
-And where are you from?
-I'm from Pudsey.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Whoa! That's cold, man!
That guy looks... That guy actually looks familiar to me.
-You know him?
-Is he allowed to be back in the chair again?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. What Tom Hanks wants, Tom Hanks gets.
Oh, there he is, Adam.
OK, Joseph took again you, but Tom thought you looked familiar.
I am hopefully, yeah.
I owe Tom quite a lot, because my very first acting job
was Saving Private Ryan.
Oh, that's right! You were... We were in the Higgins boats together!
That's right, yeah, and I lied about being able to swim, I lied about being American.
-I'm actually from up...
Tom, do you remember the AD showed me the action?
-He put me in the water with you.
-Yeah. Yes, yes...
And I turned to you and I said, "I've no idea what I'm doing!"
Is the end of this story that Tom Hanks saved your life?
He did, he saved... He really did save my life,
-literally saved my life.
-Did he really?
-Yeah, he did.
-It was pretty deep water as I recall.
-You know... Yes.
-Can he walk?
Can he walk, or the flip? Walk? Flip?
-Oh, he's walking.
He's such a nice, genuine, graceful man
that it was...
It was just like meeting an old friend, really.
When it was all done, I said, "Just out of drama school, huh?
"Welcome to the big time, kid!"
Good to see him again.
One topic that regularly pops up in the Red Chair is animals.
I mean, we're a nation of animal lovers, aren't we?
I was on a safari in Kenya, and we get to the giraffe bit,
where we see all the giraffes, and we have food,
and we come across a giraffe that decides to start going crazy.
My dad punched it in the head, but the driver's going crazy,
and he gets one of the tranquiliser gun things,
and just before he was about to shoot it,
he sort of lifted off, and then he sort of drove the car and spun off
and it was like a police car in a safari.
-Yeah, so we were all right.
When I was seven years old, I went on holiday, with my mother,
to Egypt, and during my time there,
I saw a donkey that was fully erect.
That was your best story. "I saw a donkey with an erection."
..sort of watching rodeos on TV and unfortunately,
we didn't have any horses to practise on,
so I used to use our sheep on the farm.
And one day...
My granny wasn't very best pleased with this and, one day,
when I was like... I used to have a favourite sheep, called Sally,
and I was going at it good on Sally,
and Granny was just standing by the septic tank,
which is about six foot deep, and she was, like, telling me off,
and the sheep charged at her, bucked me off,
and both collided and both of them landed in the six-foot-deep crap.
Ugh! That's a horrible story.
This monkey took a liking to me and it started groping me
and grabbing my chest, and then I felt this sort of wetness
next to my ear. I turned my head and I saw
this great, big, red penis,
and he's put it in my ear.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-So you're the girl with the monkey dick!
I was always told to avoid the wild horses in the desert,
but on this occasion, I didn't notice them coming up,
so as they approached,
one of the mares whinnied to my stallion,
and my stallion whinnied back.
He then pricked up his ears - in fact, he pricked up everything.
So she seemed very willing,
so he decided to have his wicked way with her.
-With you on top?!
-With me on top.
You're working in a call centre...
Yeah, and a customer calls, he's hysterically crying
and I was like, "Oh, my goodness, sir, are you OK?
"What's wrong?" He was telling me that he's...
People came out to fix his internet and they left some live wires
in his garden. He told me that his dog chewed on the wire...
..kind of electrocuted itself.
"Oh, my goodness, sir, what was the dog's name?"
He was like, "Sparky."
Let him live, let him live.
-Hello, Jon. Hi.
And where do you live, John?
-Staines. John from Staines.
OK. And what do you do, John?
I'm an electronics engineer.
-OK! This is it, ladies and gentlemen. DAVID:
I don't think we've ever had an electronics engineer
on the show before. So we've high hopes for you, John.
Off you go with your story.
OK, this happened in 1980 when I was at school in Devizes, which...
Excellent, it's a period piece, Harvey.
The budget will be higher, but there's a lot...
People are very... They like that, they like that.
-OK, I was at school in Devizes,
which is a small town near Swindon.
-And in the dinner queue, in the distance, on the school field,
I saw what looked like a Great Dane bounding towards us,
and everyone laughed because somebody's dog
had obviously followed them to school.
But it came on at phenomenal speed,
came up the steps where I was standing,
brushed past my leg and smashed straight through
the plate-glass window behind me,
and when we looked through the hole in the door, it was a lion, Graham!
Jon! Jon! Come on, Harvey!
-This is a good story.
No, seriously. No, he's in Devizes.
-We could do it in Africa.
-He's in Deviz...
It's better cos he's in England.
-You don't expect... In Africa, it's a lion, who cares?
In Devizes, it's a fucking lion!
LAUGHTER What's it doing there?!
-Jon, what happened?
-So I thought,
"This is my chance to go running in to the headmaster
-"and actually get away with swearing."
So I ran into the dinner hall.
That's your first thought!
I ran into the dinner hall and shouted,
"There's a flipping lion in the classroom!", and he said,
"Jon, go and stand outside my office,"
but the whole of the rest of the school
came running in at that moment and so it backed up my story.
And so he went and had a look,
and of course there it was chewing the table legs
and the corners of the desks and stuff.
-Where did it come from?
That's why... That's why we're gripped to our seats.
Where did the lion come from? Well, no, wait a minute.
What...? So, did it kill anyone?
-No, they were...
-Did it maim anyone?
-Was it really a lion or have you lied?
It was actually a lion.
Was it a dog with a balaclava on?
And police marksmen were at the school the whole afternoon
while we hid in the library,
and they rounded up these two lions that got into the school.
-And what had happened was that
the travelling circus had arrived in town
-while we were at morning lessons.
-Is this just an Enid Blyton story...
you're recycling for the purpose of our show?
The brilliant thing about this story is that...
For today, is that the lions turned out to be called Girlie and Jessie.
I think we have to let John walk.
-He was attacked by a lion!
It was great, because I'm a big Dr Who fan,
so to tell my story in front of David Tennant was fantastic.
You can walk. Walk.
The only concern I had that maybe people would think I'd made it up,
that's the amazing thing about it -
you know, it really happened.
Is this just an Enid Blyton story you're...
you're recycling for the purpose of our show?
I was in geography, I think, and the head mistress came in and said,
"Did anyone see the lions?
"Because there's a reporter from the Sunday Times
"who wants to speak to somebody,"
so I put my hand up straightaway
and went and talked to the reporter.
And it was after that that I got grabbed by the local TV news
as well, which was, you know, miles more exciting.
Well, I was standing there by the door,
and I saw this shape come across the grass,
it looked like a Great Dane at first, and it just sort of
bounded up the steps, didn't stop or anything,
went straight through the glass,
and I looked in there and I realised it was a lion.
And I just ran straight in through there and told the teachers.
My parents didn't believe me when I got home from school and said,
"Oh, you know, there's been a lion in the school
"and I've got on telly." They just said,
"Oh, don't be so silly", you know.
My little sister said that I'd gone viral on the internet
and I think there's a Devizes blog called Spotted in Devizes,
and it was all over that.
It was a case of just telling everybody that would listen,
and I'm still doing it today!
One nation that has embraced the Red Chair
like no other is New Zealand.
-Where are you from?
-I'm from New Zealand.
I am from New Zealand.
Are you from New Zealand?
-We love... We love New Zealand!
New Zealand must be empty.
You must go to New Zealand and just, the airport is deserted,
they're all queueing for the Red Chair.
The only problem is, they often seem to be telling their tale
in a language that's not quite English.
-And what's your name, sir?
-My name's Brad.
We wanted to find out what drives the Kiwi attraction
to the Red Chair, so we went to the top.
I mean, the very top.
The Graham Norton Show exports incredibly well to New Zealand.
It's got a really strong following across multi-generations.
It's invariably a highlight of the New Zealand viewing week.
-I'm from New Zealand.
-GASPING: Oh, we have a...
No, no, wait, wait, wait.
New Zealand stories are often very good and, even if not,
accent - hilarious.
I think New Zealanders don't take themselves too seriously,
and they also love a little bit of limelight, I think.
-What's your name?
-I'm Rafferty Fox.
So your mother and father decided to name you Rafferty?
Yeah, it's Dad's favourite pub.
The chance to show your mum and dad that you are still alive
and in one piece in the UK,
it's much easier to do that through a Graham Norton segment
on the Red Chair than it is to phone or Skype home.
-Who are you?
-This is Simon.
-For me, when I think of the Red Chair, I think of Simon.
To me, that was a really memorable New Zealand moment.
-Off you go.
-OK, when I was ten, my parents
-took me to a small farm in...
Don't laugh at how I say "ten".
I think we take the poking of fun at our accent in really good humour
as long as you don't confuse us for Australians.
Anyway, we were going to a small farmers' sale,
we took the ute there, and so...
I can't understand a word you are saying!
-Dad was looking for some animals and things
to take home to our farm,
and so, anyway, him and Mum spotted this new dining room table.
And I was just wandering round
in my Jandals and, you know, just checking out the stuff.
Mum and Dad spotted this table and chairs that they thought,
"That's going to be perfect in the dining room."
HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER CONTINUES
We put it on the back of the ute and we're going home.
Us boys are sitting up...
Me and my two brothers were sitting up in the back of the ute,
in the chairs, in the dining room table chairs.
Dad thinks it will be a good idea, "Oh, I know what we'll do,
"you boys want some ice cream out the back?"
You know. So we're like, "Yeah, absolutely."
The next thing you know,
we're all sitting there, licking our ice creams, sitting on the back.
Dad decides, seeing a bit of Formula 1,
he'd like to take the corner probably a bit quicker
than he should have. Me on my chair...
Bang! Fall down on the road.
I hope there will be many more New Zealanders
in the Red Chair, and my message to them would be...
you're part of the New Zealand community...
MUSIC: God Defend New Zealand
..that's taking over global entertainment,
one chair story at a time.
So, remember, you're a representative of our great country.
Do your best.
What we really like on the Red Chair is the truly unexpected,
and sometimes that can take a little bit of preparation.
Can any of you explain this tweet that was sent to the show?
HE READS ALOUD
This is Thomas. So, which of you knows Thomas?
You? What's your name?
Jessica. And why is Thomas upset with us?
Thomas is upset because I've postponed a date for the second time
so that I could come and be here and meet Kylie.
I'm getting the blame for everything tonight!
Is he your boyfriend?
No, no... I... We have not been on a date yet because I keep...
So you put him off...?
Why did you put him off with the first time?
My sister, and this time, Kylie.
OK, you know that book Not That Into You?
-Are you into...? Are you into him?
-I don't know.
-You don't know?
-Well, clearly not that into him, she's...
She's fobbed him off twice.
Let's make this week's visit to the Red Chair just before we go.
Hello, who's there? Hello, sir.
-What's your name?
-OK, and where are you from?
-I'm from Durham.
-All right, but do you live here now?
-OK, very good.
Off you go with your story, Thomas.
So, I asked a girl out a couple of weeks ago, and she said yes,
which was great because she is quite hot,
-and I really enjoyed...
But she cancelled on me once
and then we rescheduled for tonight, and she cancelled on me again...
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
..so she could come here and watch Kylie Minogue.
So, as I had no plans tonight, I thought I'd come down
and see if she wanted to rearrange for next week.
Wow, can I just say, Thomas,
you're very keen, because she has given you
no indication that she is!
Oh, dear. Well, I guess he didn't...
Look, the good thing is he didn't make other plans.
So this is your decision now.
This is you, this is you sending a message to him.
So, Jessica, are we going to flip Thomas
or are we going to let Thomas walk?
This is... Oh, OK.
-Please get Kylie to...
-Kylie, please will you lever him off the Red Chair?
No! Oh, that's the worst ever!
Oh, let's just end it, let's just end it!
Oh! Oh! Oh, my God.
Brutal. Well, literally dumped.
They never even went on a date and he got dumped!
-He's going to be having nightmares the rest of his life.
-Oh, he's really in shock.
-..you levered him off.
I was quite disappointed Kylie didn't step up and say,
"Well, if you aren't going to take him out, I will!"
Jessica, what were you thinking?
Both me and Jessica got quite a lot of criticism afterwards.
There was quite a lot aimed at her for being so brutal,
which I didn't see in the first place.
And there was a lot aimed at me for being...
How dare I go on national TV and put her in that kind of situation?
We'd arranged the date for the Thursday,
which was obviously the night of filming.
When she called me on Tuesday I was like,
"Oh, there's a reason, she's called,
"there's only one reason to call and that's to cancel."
So, she explained why, why she was missing it.
So I put a Facebook status on saying,
"This is the weirdest excuse not to go on a date with me ever."
At the end of my status I put,
"I should tell this story in the Red Chair."
And then obviously all my friends were like, "Oh, my God, Thomas,
"you totally should go and tell this story in the Red Chair."
So I screenshotted the status and tweeted
The Graham Norton Show, and from there it was,
"Would you be up for coming on the show?"
Cos they didn't want Jess to know I was there at any point,
I watched the whole of the recording from the green room,
so I got to watch it with a Peroni and a handfull of crisps.
I was like, "This is really cool."
-Please will you lever him off the Red Chair?
If you Google "guy gets rejected"
I'm the number one hit on Google
and especially YouTube, because the YouTube clip's had over
three and a half million hits. Erm, which is a nice claim to fame!
It's not a nice claim to fame, but there you go,
that IS my claim to fame.
I'm still single now, so my 15 minutes of fame is
for being dumped on TV and being a...hopeless singleton
it would seem, so...yeah.
'When you're telling a story,
'remember it's not just me you need to keep interested -
'it's also the celebrity guests,
'and if they're not entertained, they can be ruthless.'
-Let's have some stories.
-This is my favourite thing ever.
Oh, is this...? Do you want to operate it?
-Does this move?
Yeah, of course it does. Oh, look at him, he's on it.
-You look like you mean business.
I don't know how many people are out there,
but I imagine we're going to run out.
Why don't you do that and see what happens?
-See what happens.
-And what do you do in North London?
-Shall we see if this works?
-I'm a student.
-What do you study?
-Journalism and PR.
A couple of years ago, when I was living in Germany,
being there with the...
That was amazing!
Russell, Last year, I went to a music festival down in Newquay.
-He's a New Zealander, is he?
-New Zealander, yeah.
This is a few years ago, in my heyday...
Oh, the world is so beautiful.
-Hi, there, you all right?
We went for dinner and then, afterwards,
we went to the bar and I was really full...
You're going for a ride, baby.
Holy shit, I've got to get one of these at home.
Do you want a go? Do you want a go in the chair?
OK, go, Hugh, go.
-Who's up next?
-Hi, I'm Hugh, I'm from West Sussex.
-Hi, I'd just like to say that I think Matt Damon...
This is the best time I've ever had on a talk show.
Oh, bless you.
Emilia, you are gorgeous, by the way. If it don't work out with Joey,
-give me a bell.
-Thank you so much.
Oh, you look so nervous, don't be. Well, Russell... He's looking benign.
-Don't be nervous, love.
-Is that a moustache?
This is my way to say how much you mean to me, and after reading this,
you'll know just how I feel.
I was driving home from the library, and I'm at the lights...
I was too bad, I couldn't wear it again...
I'm a huge fan of Dawn French,
and I asked if I could have her autograph.
-Oh, get rid of her.
-And she said..."Get lost."
No, I didn't! Lies, lies!
-Who's up next?
-Oh, my God.
Oh, my God!
This is a story all about how my life got flipped...
Don't you dare.
-Go on, baby.
-..chilling out, maxing, relaxing, all cool,
and shooting some b-ball outside of the school.
When a couple of guys, they were up to no good...
This is a bit of a boo-hoo.
..started making trouble in my neighbourhood...
Yes, what happened, baby?
..I got in one little fight and my mum got scared...
What she say?!
You're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.
-Well done, young lady!
We got some food off a stall cos we were cheap
and trying to be cultural.
Oh, shut the fuck up.
So, there you have it, the Big Red Chair.
Its winners and losers and all the horror and laughter
it's brought us over the years.
Now, I hope you've been paying attention
to the best way to tell a story because, you never know,
one night you may find yourself on this
oversized, comfy chair and hear me asking you to tell your story.
Will it be pain or glory?
Will it ever get to that punchline?
Was there ever a punchline?
I, of course, will never be in that situation,
but it doesn't feel that bad here.
I mean, what's the worst that could happen?
SOUND OF CHAIR BUCKING
Graham Norton tells the red chair story. The tale of how this precarious flippable piece of furniture came to be a universally loved feature of his show and how it has played host to some amazing audience anecdotes.
Each week, Graham's celebrity guests have watched open-mouthed as daring audience members have gripped the red chair tightly and told their story, all the while hoping not to be flipped. Allowing the best storytellers to walk, Graham has judged over 500 red chair stories.
Many have walked, most have been flipped, and for some it has been life-changing. And so, while musing the art of telling the perfect red chair story, Graham showcases his all-time favourite red chair stories.