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TV shows are just too goody goody -- Norton

TV star Graham Norton has hit back following Michael Parkinson's criticism of the current generation of chat show hosts, and bemoaned the rise of "goody goody" dramas.

Parkinson, (77) who retired from his chat show in 2007, has called it "sad" that traditional shows have been replaced by programmes that are fronted by comics.

But Norton (49) who replaced Jonathan Ross in the Friday night slot on BBC1, said: "What we're in the business of doing isn't really interviewing people.

"We're in the business of entertaining an audience, so you're not really going to get an insight from the questions I ask. You'll get an insight from watching how that person on the couch interacts with the others. That is often really revealing."

Norton, who is thought to have taken a pay cut from a reported £2m-a-year BBC contract to present his TV show, his Radio 2 slot, Eurovision and other work, admitted that he was "not a good interviewer". The former Channel 4 star told the magazine that TV and the audience had become less liberal since he began working in the industry.

"There are things we can't say and do on TV or radio that 10 years ago we absolutely could have said or shown," he said.

"I think that's the BBC reading the mood of the audience -- the audience don't particularly like cruel jokes, and I think they did."

He added: "If you think back to some of the shows we watched growing up like I Claudius -- that would never be shown now. I wonder would Queer As Folk happen now?... And the big drama hits now are so goody goody. Like you would never see a nipple on Downton Abbey."