23/09/2021 12:53 BST

Graham Norton Explains Why The Pandemic Made Him Rethink His Plans To Retire

The presenter says he's now busier than ever, despite wanting to take his "foot off the pedal a bit".

Graham Norton U-turned on plans to retire after being forced into lockdown.

The presenter is about to return to screens with his eponymous chat show and as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, but it turns out he was considering taking a step back from the limelight before Covid hit. 

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Graham Norton

Speaking to The Mirror about how he changed his mind, Graham said: “I had this idea that I was going to cut down on my workload, just kind of take my foot off the pedal a bit, and yet the opposite has happened. I’m busier now than I think I’ve ever been.

“I was thinking I wanted to retire, and then in that first lockdown I was getting a preview of what retirement might be like and not liking it so much. So I started thinking, ‘Actually, aren’t I lucky that I get to work?’”

He explained his theory that if every day is a day off then “free days don’t seem like such a treasure”.

Graham added: “Having somewhere to be or somebody who wants you to show up, or just having a purpose in a day changes your free time, makes it different.”

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Graham Norton interviewing Josh O'Connor last year

During the pandemic, Graham shocked fans when it was announced he would be leaving his Saturday morning BBC Radio 2 show. 

However, it was later announced he had signed up to front a new weekend radio show with Virgin Radio. 

The first lockdown also saw Graham front a virtual version of his BBC chat show – something he later admitted he wasn’t so impressed by

More recent episodes have seen guests appearing in the studio, albeit in socially-distanced individual armchairs, rather than the sofa set-up usually seen on the talk show.

Guests based in the US have also continued to make appearances via video-link, speaking to Graham and the rest of the guests while they’re in the studio.

The Graham Norton Show airs on Friday at 10.35pm on BBC One.