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Anna Nolan: Don't do it, Graham ... breaking the US is no yardstick for success


Graham Norton

Graham Norton

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Hozier and Annie Lennox

Hozier and Annie Lennox


Graham Norton

What have Graham Norton, Amanda Byram and Caroline Morahan got in common?

No, they're not all Geminis. They have all, at one time or another, gone over to the States to try and make it big.

There are others who have nipped over for meetings "with the networks".

But these three have upped sticks and made the USA their home for a while.

Amanda had a good run of presenting shows like Paradise Hotel and The Swan. I suppose she did 'make it big' in many ways.


The Swan, even though it was one of the most appalling reality shows ever, was hugely popular. Amanda gave the US a good six years and then came back to work in the UK.

Caroline has been doing it slightly differently. She moved to LA to become an actor and has been beavering away since.

I met her some years ago in The Beverly Hilton for some brekkie and I was so impressed by her determination.

She was living a normal enough life in California - taking acting lessons, going for auditions, living her dream.

That has begun to pay off back in Ireland with her recent stint in the Abbey Theatre's production of 'She Stoops To Conquer'.

By all accounts, and reviews, she is a talented actor.

Then there is Graham. The Graham Norton Show on BBC1 has to be the most popular chat show of the last two decades. His ability to make all his guests relaxed, while he sometimes laughs at them not with them, is incredible.

He can make the most reticent of Hollywood stars chuckle as he pulls a lever and the person in a red chair falls backwards.

Now Graham is about to give The States a go again. He was there in 2004 with The Graham Norton Effect, a show which lasted for a single series.

It didn't really work. I think they tried to adapt his show for an American audience, but there was no need to do that.

I think Graham tried to adapt himself - as a result he wasn't as relaxed as he is on his own turf.

So with the news that he is going over again, I honestly feel - why bother? His show is broadcast to America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, all of Europe, Brazil, to name but a few countries.

The lure of the USA is a massive one for actors and TV presenters. They feel that, as Frank Sinatra sang: if they make it there, they'll make it anywhere.

But Graham Norton has made it. He doesn't need to prove himself to anyone or any audience.

Stay where you are Graham, we love you just the way you are!

The Pope deserves a smackdown for remarks on slapping children

I was out with a friend the other day and she got a bit outrageous. She was annoying and aggravating and overstepping the line. 

So I slapped her. A short sharp whack to her face. She stopped and we just got on with things.

But we're used to this. She slaps me too. When she thinks I am misbehaving or being 'bold' she just takes me to the side and slaps my face.

She will do it anywhere. In a pub, at home, in the shopping centre. Just when she feels I am not doing as I am told - whack.

Oh, she makes sure that I still have my dignity and we constantly say to each other "it never does us any harm".

You see we are smackers, and we support smacking people. Geddit?


Ok, you've guessed it. I don't smack anyone and no-one smacks me.

They didn't as a child and they certainly don't as an adult.

I read recently what the Pope said in relation to disciplining children. A father had told the Pontiff that, on occasions ,he had smacked his children.

The Pope's response was to say that it was OK to punish them, as long as it wasn't on the face and the child wasn't humiliated. Hold on. Here's the dealio. There should not be acceptance of any act of violence, against adults or children.

For too long in this country punishment was doled out to the young vulnerable wards of the Church and State.

A slap in the wrong hands led to a punch, a kick, a lash or a beating.

All levels of violence went on and slapping was probably the very first step.

When people say "it never hurt me", I like to say, "I'm delighted for you. But it hurt thousands of others".

No parent or adult should ever hit a child. Ever. Full stop.

Sweet dreams weren't made of this pairing

I READ that Annie Lennox wasn't that gone on the idea of singing with Hozier at the Grammys. I can understand why. The duet didn't work, especially with Take Me To Church. Just because you are harmonizing in a major third, doesn't necessarily mean it will work. Sorry Hozier, you still rock!

So Valentine's Day is coming around again. The day of joy for lovers, the day of misery for many others. How do you like to spend yours? This year, I shall be watching 15 big muscley men run around a field, throwing each other in the air and locking shoulders in a brutal battle. Oh, how times have changed...

Kanye West must be a megalomaniac. Yet again he stormed the Grammy stage and yet again he went off on one about how the wrong person won an award. It was the singer Beck's turn this year. Canny Kanye thought his mate Beyonce should have won. Show up at an awards bash and are snubbed? Give Kanye a call!