Matt LeBlanc says he is amazed at Top Gear’s global popularity, calling it an ‘international juggernaut,’ Emilia Clarke says she isn’t recognised, Kate Beckinsale talks about her father and Dominic Cooper said he was petrified meeting Warcraft

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Matt LeBlanc says he is amazed at Top Gear’s global popularity, calling it an ‘international juggernaut,’ Emilia Clarke says she isn’t recognised, Kate Beckinsale talks about her father and Dominic Cooper said he was petrified meeting Warcraft fans, while Corinne Bailey Rae performs live in the studio

On this week’s show, (27th May) Graham welcomes new Top Gear presenter Matt LeBlanc, Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, Hollywood actors Kate Beckinsale and Dominic Cooper, and singer songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae.

Matt, making his first appearance on a chat show since becoming the new face of Top Gear, a casting clearly approved of by Graham’s cheering audience, talks about car fixing, the show’s international success and his obsessive love of cars.
Asked if hosting it is his dream job, he says, “It has been fun – the show is a lot bigger than I thought it was. It's an international juggernaut of a show – it’s massive. It premieres this Sunday and by Wednesday it will be in 83 countries on six continents. It’s just huge.”
Asked how the job became his, he says, “I did it the first time to promote Episodes and went around the track which went pretty good (Matt is reminded he was the fastest ever), and I went back again in a new car to see if I could beat my old record. Then they had a clip show – Top Gear The Racers, which I introduced. Chris (Evans) was on board already and I was asked if I'd like to be part of it. It sounded cool and I wasn't doing anything else! It’s a lot of fun.”
Talking about Sunday’s first episode, Matt says, “We had to drive Renault Reliant Rialtos with the roofs cut off, which is great with the Britain weather, from London to Blackpool. Mine broke down about 10 times and I think Chris had it fixed because it’s UK versus USA, we’re in English cars – his is painted like the Union Jack and mine is the Stars and Stripes – and mine breaks down repeatedly and his runs like a clock! Go figure.”
Revealing he is a proper ‘petrolhead,’ “I’m one of those people who subscribe to about 15 different car magazines – I’ve been doing that forever and a friend said the other day, ‘It’s finally paid off!’” Shown a picture of him on the massive bulldozer he has on his range in the US, Matt says, “I use it to re-surface the motorcross track or just use it to knock stuff down! I thought I needed a one and I started looking and my friends said, ‘Don’t get one too big.’ And I was like, ‘What do you know.’ It’s way bigger than I need but I love it.”
Revealing that even while working on Top Gear Joey is ever present, he says, “Friends just follows me around. I was recording a piece to the dashboard camera of the broken down car while being towed and driving past were two guys in a plumber’s truck who shouted out, ‘How you doin?’ We kept it in the show.”
Emilia, talking about Game of Thrones and revealing she isn’t automatically recognised by fans of the series, she says, “I can be with other cast members and people come and ask me to take the photo for them. Occasionally there is a ‘Damn it’ when they realise.”
And, recalling a coincidence that happened whilst filming in Spain, she says, “We were booked into this lovely little hotel only to find ourselves in the middle of a Game of Thrones themed wedding. We spent ages trapped in our room hiding from drunk wedding guests who were trying to find us.”
Kate, talking about getting the role in Pearl Harbour, she says, “I don’t think I fitted the type of actress Michael Bay the director had met before. I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head and I wasn’t blond. I’d just had my daughter and had lost weight but was told that if I got the part I’d have to work out and I just didn’t understand why a 1940’s nurse would do that.
“And then, when we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben (Afleck) and Josh (Hartnett) he said, ‘I have worked with Ben before and I love him and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor. And then when he was asked about me, he’d say, ‘Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.’ He kept saying it everywhere we went and we went to a lot of places.”
Asked if it’s nice to come back in the UK where her father (Richard Beckinsale) is so fondly remembered, she says, “Americans have absolutely no idea who he is and because he was so particularly beloved they say really nice things about him.”
Talking about her childhood and the amount of drive she had, she says, “I was going through an ugly stage around seven or eight and my best friend, who was totally beautiful, came into school one day and announced she was going to be in an advert. I thought the world had ended. I went home and wrote a letter saying how keen I was to be in an ad, and it had to be really soon! But I sent it to the BBC and I didn’t know they didn’t do ads!”
And on a party booking that backfired, she says, “You used to get this free magazine with lots of ads for kissograms and I thought it would be hilarious to book a stripper – what’s funnier than a fully naked man? And when the stripping vicar ‘Reverent Balls’ turned up he looked like the worse serial killer – we really hadn’t thought it through. There were just four of us posh 14 year-old schools girls and this man. He asked if we wanted a full strip and we all shouted ‘No!’ He flung off his pants and shouted ‘meet my friend from the mission’ and it was all tucked into a cheap red elephant thing. We were completely traumatised and crying. It was very bleak. I didn’t tell my mum for at least 10 years!”
Dominic, talking about his film Warcraft The Beginning and asked what it is like to be part of such a massive franchise, he says, “I had no idea about the game when I read the script and when I went to Comic Con it was interesting to meet the fans and see the scale of it. People are really into it and have very strong opinions on characters. It was intimidating because they knew far more about the character than I did. I was petrified to say the least!”
Corinne performs Stop Where You Are live in the studio before joining Graham for a chat.
Asked where she has been for the last six years she says, “I’ve been writing, producing and touring. And I built my own studio. No one is on the clock and it’s a place to mess around with music.”
And finally, Graham pulls the lever on more foolhardy audience members brave enough to sit in the Red Chair.

The Graham Norton Show, BBC One 27th May 10.35pm
Pictures are available from PA
Notes to editors – all quotes in this release were said during the recording but won’t necessarily appear in the final show.
Next week (3rd June) Graham’s guests include Kelsey Grammer, Salma Hayek, Tamsin Grieg and Alicia Keys.
For further information please contact Mary Collins 07769 670516 or at 


27th May 2016
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