Eurovision.tv: Graham, you have enjoyed a distinguished and successful career to date in British Television, from your beginnings on Channel 5 to moving to the BBC more recently. How did the approach regarding the Eurovision Song Contest happen?
Graham: "I got the call initially from my agent, that it had happened, Terry Wogan had said he didn't want to do it any more and did I want to take over. Now, it's such a great gig, you've got to say yes!. It wasn't expected, as far as I was concerned Terry was going to do it for a few more years. He still does radio for five days a week, so it's not like he's retiring. He's such a part of Eurovision, I miss him, I wish he was here too, but he isn't."
Eurovision.tv: Terry Wogan often in the past had a tongue in cheek approach to the role, and frequently offended competitors by talking over the beginning of songs, and his terse commentary at times. Do you have an idea of what approach you will take yourself when commentating on the contest?
Graham: "My only approach is watching the Eurovision Song Contest, I don't have a script, it's like i'm sat on the sofa, occasionally being a smart Alec!. I have arrived in a very good year though, I must say. The standard of songs is very high, the staging is very good, the show the Russians have put on is awe inspiring, extraordinary in fact."
Eurovision.tv: This is not the first time you have had work experience with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, having now done four BBC casting shows for his musicals in the past. Can you share a little about what he is like to work with on a professional level?
Graham: "I am very happy to be here with Andrew, Jade and Diane Warren. It puts less focus on me. It's not just that Terry has gone and it's me with the same old Eurovision. It's different as the whole team is new. What I love about Andrew is that he is so passionate, if he decides to get involved in a project, it is complete involvement. The fact that he's on stage playing piano for Jade, this man doesn't need to do that!. He's a gazillionaire, known successfully worldwide and he's playing piano on stage for the song. That's what it means to him, he is deeply passionate about his projects."
Eurovision.tv: You have in the past admitted that you have been a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, and it's no secret that the United Kingdom's fortunes have been pretty miserable on the whole of late. What are your expectations for this year?.
Graham: "Well, I think that we must say that we're in it to win it. But no matter what happens this year, we can be very proud of the entry. Jade is a great artist, we have a great song and if we come bottom again, that's it the world really does hate us!."
Eurovision.tv: As you take an interest in the contest each year, have you had chance to size up any of Jade's opposition? If so what are your thoughts on who could be the main threats?
Graham: "I've always been a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, I've always watched it, or taped it if i've been working. As for threats, well Norway is the big favourite this year, but I think he's going off the boil a little. I think he may well have peaked. It's still a lovely song but I don't think it's all that. Greece again is favoured but although he's beautiful to look at, I don't think the performance is all that charismatic. For Jade, I think that the dangers are Iceland and Malta. I also think Portugal could be a little surprise, there is something very endearing there, and the staging really works on television, it makes you very happy. They may be the dark horses."
Eurovision.tv would like to thank Graham Norton for taking the time from his hectic schedule to talk with us