'BBC can trust me', says Graham Norton

By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Image caption,
Norton's new BBC One chat show begins on 22 October

Graham Norton has assured the BBC he can be trusted not to ignite any scandals after stepping into Jonathan Ross's shoes on radio and TV.

Norton took over from Ross on BBC Radio 2 three weeks ago and will start his new BBC One chat show - in the slot previously filled by Ross - on Friday.

Ross left the BBC in July, two years after a furore over prank calls he made to actor Andrew Sachs on air.

Norton, known for his risque style, said: "They should trust me."

Asked whether he might slip up on the radio, he replied: "There's always a chance, it's a live show. But I think that might be a slip of the tongue. A word might escape.

"The chances of accidentally phoning an old man - that's quite a big slip."

He added he has been "always quite good at self-policing" on his TV chat show.

The Andrew Sachs affair led Russell Brand - whose show broadcast the incident - and Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas to resign, while Ross was suspended from the corporation for three months without pay.

Facing the critics

Norton was speaking at the Radio Festival in Salford three days before his first Friday night chat show is broadcast.

"The thing that annoyed me most about the whole Sachsgate thing was that the BBC didn't defend itself more robustly," he said. "The BBC polices its content incredibly well."

The presenter admitted he felt "weird" about taking over both of Ross' shows.

"I think once the TV show starts then people will write whatever they want to write about it and then it will be over," he said.

"Once both shows are up and running then I can forget about it as well."

Norton signed a new two-year deal at the beginning of this year to make TV shows for the BBC and told the Radio Festival he took a 20% pay cut.

That contract was reported to be worth £4m a year.

But he signed that deal before being offered the radio show and confirmed to BBC News that he was being paid extra to host his Radio 2 show.

"The radio is separate," he said. "I think it's really odd. I would have assumed that a BBC contract would cover it all but it doesn't."

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