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.

Graham Norton
Graham Norton
Samir Hussein via Getty Images

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.”

Graham Norton interviewing Josh O'Connor last year
Graham Norton interviewing Josh O'Connor last year
Matt Crossick - PA Images via Getty Images

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.

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.