Star turn on flying visit: Norton opens extension at alma mater

Sat, May 19, 2012, 01:00

CHAT SHOW host and radio celebrity Graham Norton returned to his old school yesterday to officially open an extension at Bandon Grammar.

It has been 22 years since the comedian attended class at the 370-year-old school, which he said had changed beyond recognition since his time there.

“It’s crazy to come back and see how much the school has changed, it’s been 22 years,” he said. “The core of it is still here and I’m seeing people I went to school with. But it’s such a different place, it’s fabulous.”

Norton was in Cork for a flying visit and returned to the UK to present his chat show, before he travels to Baku in Azerbaijan to present Eurovision 2012 for the BBC next week. He wished Irish entry Jedward luck and said anything could happen at Eurovision.

“Good luck to Jedward, I hope they get through the semi-finals. I like Jedward, I thought they were very good with Lipstick. I think Waterline is not quite as good as Lipstick but then it’s not a great year so I think it might do well,” the presenter said.

He felt England’s Eurovision chances might be slightly hampered by the contestant running order.

“Engelbert Humperdinck is singing first which is a real problem. It’s a really suitable song, I think would do better further down the listings. But what I love about Eurovision is you cannot second-guess it; anybody can win that thing,” added Norton.

Mobbed by enthusiastic students armed with camera phones and seeking autographs, Norton spent almost an hour shaking hands and posing for pictures.

He praised the “stunning” choir and musicians who performed at the opening and offered encouragement to the students.

“Take comfort in this building and in a school that is constantly evolving and improving,” he said. “There is a bright future here and I can say that with confidence because you are that future.”