Wednesday 13 November 2019

'His presenting style was so ahead of its time' - Norton pays respect to 'unique' star


Praise: Graham Norton said Byrne’s quality shone through. Photo: PA
Praise: Graham Norton said Byrne’s quality shone through. Photo: PA
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

BBC presenter Graham Norton said that Gay Byrne was "unique" and his broadcasting style was "ahead of its time".

Norton (56) yesterday recalled watching Byrne on 'The Late Late Show' when he was growing up in Cork.

"Isn't it extraordinary that even then when we'd nothing to compare him to, we seemed to understand how good he was," he told Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio 1. "His quality shone through even though as an audience we were clueless because he was the only thing there was and yet somehow we all knew he was very good.

"It's only now when I'm home and I look at things on the RTÉ archives and you see clips of him from back then and the audience look like they're from a different planet, these women with hats and gloves and farmers with shirts too big for them and stuff in the audience, but he is so modern.

"His presenting style was so ahead of its time."

Norton described him as like Johnny Carson, but also so much more as he was adept at shifting seamlessly from one tone to another during interviews.

"He was uniquely just as comfortable doing one of them as the other and not in a terrible kind of daytime TV gear shift from something sad to something… it was always him.

"You never felt like he was putting on his telephone voice to talk to a politician," he added.

Norton also recalled appearing on 'The Late Late Show' for the first time and described it as "very special".

"It's one of those things that, there aren't many moments in your life where you feel, 'This is it, I've made it' but to be on the 'Late Late', and also it meant so much to my dad."

Irish Independent

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