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The Jonathan Ross Show

  • Episode:


  • Transmission (TX):

    Sat 14 Sep 2019

  • TX Confirmed


  • Time

    10.15pm - 11.20pm

  • Week:

    Week 38 2019 : Sat 14 Sep - Fri 20 Sep

  • Channel:


  • Published:

    Wed 04 Sep 2019

  • Amended:

    Fri 13 Sep 2019

This information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 10 September.

Episode 1

Joining Jonathan Ross for a brand new series are Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery, ahead of the hotly anticipated Downton Abbey movie, as well as beloved national treasure Stephen Fry, home-grown music icon Craig David, star of Sherlock, The Hobbit and A Confession Martin Freeman, and two multi-platinum selling, multi-award winning artists, Charli XCX and Christine and The Queens, who perform together in the studio.


MARTIN FREEMAN on his The Hobbit and The Office near misses

STEPHEN FRY on his weight loss, early morning starts, unfulfilled ambitions and saying no to Strictly

MICHELLE DOCKERY AND ELIZABETH MCGOVERN on Maggie Smith’s love of memes, confusing accents, the show’s Royal reaction, and Michelle’s DJ myth

CRAIG DAVID on a Michelle Dockery music collaboration and Love Island’s Anton


On this week’s episode of The Jonathan Ross Show, Jonathan is joined by national treasure Stephen Fry, Downton Abbey movie stars Michelle Dockery and Elizabeth McGovern, actor Martin Freeman and music icon Craig David.


Martin Freeman told Jonathan how a scheduling conflict nearly saw him kiss goodbye to one of his most memorable roles – Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.


 We had done the first series of Sherlock. That had gone out and been well received. They wanted to do another one, they wanted to move on that quickly. That was initially going to cut across when we were going to have to go to New Zealand and do The Hobbit. There came a point actually, because I was contracted to Sherlock and that was not going to move. I loved Sherlock, it was a joy to be in. It was a huge thing. So I had to say goodbye to The Hobbit, I had to let that go and that was deeply gutting. It was not a great day. I was rehearsing a play at the time and my agent got back to me and said Peter (Jackson) had got in touch and said ‘we’ll rearrange the schedule in New Zealand and we’ll wait five months.’ It’s very gratifying, it means someone wants you.”


Discussing how, unlike some actors he chooses to watch his acting work back, Martin revealed he was still eager to improve as an actor:


“I think watching it once is useful. I wouldn’t watch it 18 times. You may as well watch it and see how you’re getting on. If my decision making process is honest and I’m lucky in that I have choice to do work, if I believed in it enough to do it, I should watch it. And also I want to improve, I want to get better. I don’t think you can do that easily if you never see yourself.”


Martin also admitted that he remains very selective about the roles he accepts: 


“Yes. It’s a very lucky position to be in. I’ve tried to, not always succeeded, I’ve certainly made work that’s not great for sure. I’ve tried to make that a truth in my decision making process always. I always fast forwarded to my death bed and had the conversation ‘were you proud of what you did, or did you just sell out?”


On his current role in ITV drama The Confession, Martin confessed how he had text Steve Fulcher, the real life policeman he plays in the drama, for tips on how to make the role more authentic:


“I have played a couple of real people before but not ones who are either alive or in a position to text. So giving him a little text in the morning saying ‘what were you feeling?’ it was just helpful.


Discussing one of his most celebrated roles, that of Tim in The Office, Martin opened up on how he came close to never playing the part:


“That was the thing that enabled people to know properly who I was. I auditioned for Gareth for Steve Merchant and Ash Atalla. Ash was the producer and Steve was the co-writer and creator. I auditioned for Gareth and I can’t even remember much about that audition. But what I do remember is that on the way out I had my hand on the door, and one of them, I can’t remember who, said ‘maybe Martin should read for Tim. Come back and read for Tim.’ I’m obviously very grateful they did. I was very very close to not being in The Office.”


Discussing his incredible six stone weight loss, Stephen Fry said: 


“I was very overweight. 21 stone. I lost nearly six of those. I’m feeling better. (I do) a lot of walking. I walk eight miles every morning. Fast. Just over four miles an hour.”


On what keeps him motivated whilst exercising, Stephen revealed:


“The secret of it, for me at least, is audio books and podcasts. Music is fine but you tend to every ten yards or so to think ‘no I don’t want to hear that.’ You’re always adjusting your playlist.”


In spite of his new levels of fitness, Stephen ruled out a future appearance on Strictly Come Dancing:


“Dancing is not my world at all. I loathe dancing. It embarrasses me. Not only to do it but to watch other people do it. I can’t bear it, I just can’t bear it. The Strictly type thing I find absolutely nails on a blackboard. It’s an allergy. I can’t bear dancing. It makes me cringe.”


Stephen also discussed how, as a successful author, his literary inspiration usually stems from a very early morning wake up call:


“In the end you are either a lark or an owl. I have to get up really early to write. I can’t write in the evening. Sometimes as early as literally half past three in the morning, and I’ll go to bed at six in the evening. It’s completely bonkers. That’s the way I work. Mental energy. I droop at the end of the day.”


Talking about his fascination with the English language, Stephen revealed how, as a child, he stumbled across his passion having failed to excel in other areas:


“When I was first at school I realised I was just awful at everything that made children popular or successful. Sport, I couldn’t run in a straight line. I couldn’t catch. I couldn’t throw a ball. I couldn’t swim until I was about 12. I couldn’t paint or draw, I couldn’t sing, I certainly couldn’t dance. But I discovered that, unlike most children my age, I was fascinated by language or stories.”


On future aspirations, Stephen admitted he harboured no unfulfilled ambitions:


“It’s awful to say ‘no.’ You need a sort of greed and an appetite and a goal. But I’m happily married and I’m content with life, and I’m, what British person dare say happy, but no I don’t. I get sent nice scripts or people give ideas for a documentary or film I might want to do or something. That can excite me but there’s nothing in my head that says ‘if only I still hadn’t done this.’ I’m very fortunate. It’s a wonderful place to be.” 


Ahead of the eagerly anticipated Downton Abbey, Michelle Dockery revealed one of Maggie Smith’s secret quirks – an interest in memes.


“She loves a Meme. Laura and I will come in and show her a very funny Meme.”


Both Michelle and co-star Elizabeth McGovern also discussed the Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to the set of the show:  


“I think she genuinely projected the idea that she loved the show. I was given the opportunity to meet Prince Charles after Kate’s visit. I was very excited because Kate had been so enthusiastic about the show and everything.”


Elizabeth then admitted to having a muddled accent as she returned to the role she had left behind three years ago, confessing:


“I started talking with an English accent, which is very shocking because of course I am American and I play an American. I’ve always played it American. I sort of panicked. It took me a few minutes and then I went right back. But it was a bit odd.”


Michelle continued:


“I had the slight opposite. I had been doing American roles for a while. So going back into it I kind of had to remind myself of Mary’s voice. I think I was doing it slightly too posh at first.”


Michelle also revealed how her next role would see her revert to her Essex roots: 


“I actually get to play a bit more of my own…It’s a bit of a departure from Lady Mary. It’s Guy Ritchie’s next film. It’s in a vein of Lock, Stock. It’s called The Gentleman. I get to do that accent for a change.”


Asked if she ever has the tendency to fall back into an Essex accent, Michelle said:


“When I was younger, far more I think. It depends on who I’m with. When I’m around family or friends from home, my accent comes out a little more.”


Michelle meanwhile insisted she had no plans to leave the UK, citing her love for bacon sandwiches:


“I’m very much based in London. It’s just happened that way since the show, I ended up doing more work in America. But I love London. If I‘m working there for a certain amount of time, I do miss it. I miss bacon sandwiches. You can’t get the same food (in America).”


Michelle then refuted speculation that she is an accomplished DJ known as DJ Dockers:


“That’s not true. That’s what the playlist is called on my Spotify. No I’m just always the person at the party who takes over the playlist. This is not a true story, I’m not a DJ.


Michelle did however admit she would love to learn how to take to the decks:


“I’d like to learn. I’d love to so if anyone wants to teach me. I just need to get some decks.”


Asking fellow guest Craig David if he’d collaborate with Michelle, Craig admitted:


“We can do a little TS5 thing. We can do back to back if you’d be up for it.”


Michelle was equally as enthused:


“I would do it. I’ll do it, 100%.”


Craig David joined Jonathan and discussed his surprise appearance in the Love Island villa:


“I saw the show for the first the year before. I caught one of the episodes and I was locked in, I got it. But when I go the call up this year to go on the show and be the musical guest and bring a show there, it was great. I realised they have no phones, they don’t listen to music when they’re on there. So it is a big moment for them. I could feel the energy, it was so good.”


On Islander Anton’s reaction to his set in the villa, Craig said:


“He got very emotional, he wore his heart on his sleeve.  He’s such a lovely guy. He came out to Ibiza Rocks. He came out to show love. He was the same as he was, but really humbled. He was like ‘listen Craig, I know everyone was saying I shed a tear but I’m just a huge fan and I just had to tell you I love your music.’ And then we had this moment there and his abs were out in full effect.’ Lovely guy, really lovely.”




Please note the above is all taken from the recording of The Jonathan Ross Show and is subject to the show edit.