BBC Eurovision's Graham Norton was stabbed and left for dead in horror attack

Graham Norton
Graham Norton -Credit:Getty Images

Graham Norton found himself in a near-death situation long before his rise to fame.

Serving as the BBC's chat show host and providing commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday, the star revealed that he was once mugged, stabbed, and almost died on a London street back in the 80s.

"I didn't know I was dying, I didn't figure it out until later, and this is so not me but I remember saying to this little old lady 'will you hold my hand'? ", Norton shared in a podcast last year.

Noting her hesitation, he added: "And it was a flicker on her face of 'oh do I want to hold his hand' but she did and she held out her hand. I held her hand and I think that's something so deep within us and it motivates so much of our life that we don't want to die alone."

Expressing his newfound perspective on life post-incident, Norton stated: "I think so many decisions in our lives like having a partner and having children are about not being alone when you die. It's about having someone to hold your hand.

"It gave me a really good attitude to risk and to failure because if you think of the worst-case scenario, no failure compares to dying. I'm not recommending anyone do it but for me it was a very useful and powerful life lesson."

Graham, whose real name is William Walker, was born and raised in Dublin in 1963. He always dreamt of being an actor, but it wasn't until the early 1990s, performing stand-up comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where he impersonated Mother Teresa that he truly won over hearts, reports the Mirror.

Legend has it that his act was so gripping that many patrons thought they were watching the real Mother Teresa perform. Throughout the following decade, Norton starred in multiple TV shows and it was his unique charisma and talent that bagged him a show of his own on Channel 4, no small feat.

In 2007, a momentous opportunity came knocking. Norton was asked to host The Graham Norton Show, which turned into a roaring triumph with millions of viewers tuning in over the past 15 years.

Initially aired on BBC2, the show moved to BBC1 in 2009 due to its immense popularity.

Taking over from Sir Terry Wogan, since 2008 Norton has been the voice for UK's Eurovision Song Contest coverage.

Openly gay, he confessed to The Mirror in a 2015 interview that balancing love and work was hard for him with "work comes first" being his motto.

Albeit reluctantly, he admitted that finding love perhaps would have been easier if he were straight.

The television presenter remarked: "But because I've worked so hard to get where I am, I continue to prioritise my job over other bits of my life. That's probably very foolish, something I'll live to regret. When I look back at my romantic history, I have to say it's taken second place to my job. Perhaps I don't expect my love affairs to last. Or it could just be that I have a low attention span."

Norton then pondered on how his love life might have unfolded differently if he weren't gay, saying: "I have a theory. I think there's something about having a male partner that makes it more difficult. This will sound sexist but that doesn't mean it's any less true. If I were a straight man, my female partner would have a role in the eyes of society."

"She would be the mother of my children, my hostess, the person on my arm at red carpet events. She would have a defined function. But that's not the case if your partner is male.

"Every man no matter how young or fey has something of the alpha in him. So all the things they thought they'd enjoy about going out with me become loathsome in the end because they haven't earned it for themselves. Increasingly, that puts a strain on the relationship."

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