The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show

The Jonathan Ross Show

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Transmission (TX):
TX confirmed:
10:15pm ~ 11:15pm

Week 52 2023 : Sat 23 Dec - Fri 29 Dec

Tue 05 Dec 2023

The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show

The Jonathan Ross Show is back for a festive special, with Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winning actress Ariana DeBose, who will be chatting and performing in the studio with Boy George, plus the biggest selling classical artist of the century, Katherine Jenkins, star of Spider-Man, Platoon and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Willem Dafoe, comedian and host of A League of Their Own Romesh Ranganathan, and the hilarious stadium-filling stand-up Kevin Bridges.









On this week’s festive episode of The Jonathan Ross Show Jonathan is joined by acting legend Willem Dafoe, Oscar-winning star Ariana DeBose, superstar model Claudia Schiffer, Opera star Katherine Jenkins, pop icon Boy George plus comedians Kevin Bridges and Romesh Ranganathan. 

Opening the show by discussing their Christmas plans, actor Willem Dafoe says: “I’ll be in Rome. I married an Italian, I live part of the time in Rome.” 

Describing the farm he lives on, he says: “I do [have animals]. I counted the other day, like 70. Chickens and sheep and goats and donkeys. I try to give them a good life, I take their eggs and their wool, but that’s about it.”

Asked if they each have names he says: “When you get down to the chickens, sort of not. The alpacas, I know them all individually. Hopefully they don’t spit at you, but they spit at each other.” 

Comedian Kevin Bridges discusses his son’s reaction to Christmas saying: “He calls Santa ‘Ho Ho’. Anybody he sees. We’re in a cafe having lunch, an old guy was coming in, big white beard and the white hair, and my son just starts going, ‘Ho Ho!’ The guy took it well, but then my son did a relentless campaign, a harassment, making faces at the guy…” 

Willem describes the new film he’s starring in, Poor Things: “I’m terrible at this… the short-hand, it’s like a feminist Frankenstein story. But it’s not a horror film. If you don’t like spoilers, put your fingers in your ears, because the only way I can explain it is to do a little bit of a spoiler… I play this doctor - he’s a scientist - but he deals in cadavers. He gets a cadaver one day, this is part of his work, but inside there’s a live baby. So he says, this is a fantastic opportunity. It’s a god given thing. What do you do? You put the baby’s brain in the woman’s body and you re-animate her. Ok? It’s not a horror movie. It’s really about her going out into the world, she doesn’t have any social conditioning, she’s in the body of this person, a 35-year-old woman, but she’s got a baby’s brain. She learns very fast, she’s not conditioned, she’s an innocent, but she’s also a truth teller, she sees through all social conventions that we accept or the ones that depress us. It’s pretty funny. It’s about her going out into the world and finding her way.” 

Willem also speaks of returning to his role of the Green Goblin. He says: “It was a good spin on it. They took it to another step. It was worth revisiting. My only thing was, I said, ‘Listen, don’t make it a stupid cameo. If you want me back I really want to do something. I want to do some action stuff, I love doing that stuff, I don’t want to be a tip of the hat, I want to be integrated.’ And they did that.” 

He adds of his job: “Every day is different and I like it a lot. With performing, often people say, ‘Don’t you want to direct, control…?’ I have no interest. Performing is still interesting to me. It’s something you can’t really perfect I think.” 

Willem also admits who he’s mistaken for saying: “Three people I can think of - we’ll start off with the least common, Baryshnikov. David Bowie a couple of times. But the big one, believe it or not, Mick Jagger.” 

Asked if has done any acting, Kevin says: “The Hobbit movie got in touch and asked me to self-tape. I think they wanted me to play a Hobbit. This was years ago. And I remember the line because it was a posh English accent, which I’ve done a lot on stage. I had to say: ‘Boring? Elves aren’t boring, they’re the greatest creatures in Middle Earth.’ I never got the part, man. That kind of dented my confidence a wee bit. “ 

He adds: “I’d love to move into some kind of acting, a gritty role. I don’t know if I’d do comedy acting.” 

Discussing his stand-up he says: “I’ve been a comedian longer than I have not been a comedian. 

“Turning something that had always got me in trouble at school into something positive. And then it went well… The fact that I’m now on stage talking about being a husband and father… it feels strange. I started off talking about being 17. My first routine was about being 17 and being old enough to legally have sex, but too young to watch porn. That was my first ever stand up routine. Now I’m talking about my wife taking my son to baby yoga.”

He adds: “I still enjoy it. Whatever happens in your life you can go on a stage and check in with an audience and talk about it and make sense of it.” 

Discussing TV and films, Kevin said: “I’m a bit overwhelmed, there’s so much to watch. I actually quite like it when something gets cancelled. It means you don’t need to watch it. Like, when the Kevin Spacey allegations came out, [I thought] least I don’t need to finish House of Cards and I can move on to something else. There’s just too much stuff!” 

Opera singer Katherine Jenkins speaks about being directed by her own husband Andrew Levitas in Minamata saying: “I sort of got talked into the role. I don’t have much experience of doing things like that. I found myself in a scene with Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy, which was quite daunting. But they were very patient and encouraging. 

“I hadn’t seen him [my husband] in that sort of situation so it was amazing to see what he does and see how much he loves it. Obviously went quite well as we started a business together this year. We clearly like working together.” 

She adds of working with him: “We have a gin company. We’re both creatives, we don’t always agree and we don’t always have to agree but there’s quite often a time when we’ll be on a board call and I realise it sounds like we’re having a domestic and everybody else is like, ‘OK, we’ll pick this up later…’” 

Oscar-winning star Ariana DeBose reveals she originally turned down the audition for Steven Speilberg’s West Side Story, saying: “I turned down that audition a couple of different times before I went in. I was scared. I was on Broadway at the time, I was playing Donna Summer and I was very committed to that show. I didn’t feel like I had enough proper time to prepare. Granted they called 24-hours before they wanted me to audition… I was like, ‘Dude, I just want to be prepared.’ So I said, ‘No, I’m not going to read the scenes for you today.’ And he was like, ‘What?’ I was like, ‘I’m not going to read today but I’ll come back if you would like me to?’ He was like, ‘I’d like you to.’ I don’t know if I’d have the courage to do that today, but it worked in the moment. I don’t know what I was thinking actually, but it all worked out.” 

Describing the moment her mum came to set and met Spielberg, Ariana says: “My mum just stared at him. My mum is never at a loss for words. She was like, ‘Sir I think I’m a bit starstruck so maybe I should just leave.’ He was so great with her and held her hand. She got to sit next to him. It was a pinch me moment.”

Ariana adds: “She [my mum] was my date [to the Oscars]. She hobnobbed with everyone. It’s the weirdest thing, you’re in a room full of all of those amazing people. Thank god mum was there to keep me grounded so I didn’t like, float away. Then they say your name… it was so great to share that with her.”

Katherine adds of her own mum: “My mum is down-to-earth, very normal and has always been hugely supportive. The opposite of a stage mum. In actual fact tried to talk me out of going to choir practise sometimes and that kind of stuff. I remember calling her and saying, ‘I’m singing at the Royal Albert Hall next week, do you want to come?’ And she said, ‘Ah no love, I’ve got a tennis match that night, I’ve seen you enough times now.’ She keeps it real.”

Willem adds of his parents: “They watched some movies, not all. They were kind of conservative.”

Kevin opens up and adds of his dad: “Because I started comedy so young, the club said I must be accompanied by a parent. I thought it was a bit cooler taking my dad than my mum, so my dad drove me up to my first gig. It went well and that was it. We embarked on a whole journey. He drove me all over Scotland, north England, playing in these clubs… On those long journeys we really bonded.” 

Kevin adds: “He passed away at the start of the year. It’s rough but you look at the positives. We started them, drove up in a Peugeot 106… and ended up playing arenas and seeing the world and sitting on these chat shows with guests and guys like yourselves.” 

Kevin says: “[He’d say] ‘Live your life, go for your dreams.’ Now that I’m a dad, if I can put a bit of that into my own son and make him feel like that, then job done.” 

Later Ariana discusses the rap she did at the Baftas: “I was kind of recovering from walking pneumonia. I kind of was [really ill]. But I’m a theatre kid, ‘the show must go on’ sort of thing. We’d gone down the road for so long. I didn’t have the heart to back out and I had been deemed well enough to continue to work. I wasn’t going to go on and make anyone sick, it’s a room full of very famous and talented people, so not to be irresponsible by any stretch of the mind but I really wanted to go and support the folks and we were trying something new and what I do is typically high energy and you know, hindsight is 20/20 and maybe recovering from walking pneumonia is not the time to be in six inch heels and a big fat pink skirt and jump off a chair and try and rap at the same time, it’s OK… live performance that’s what it’s all about. It’s live, it’s not going to sound like an album. That’s what you want to see. You actually want to see people mess up because you know they’re alive. I think it’s special that way, but that’s just my personal view.” 

Ariana also talks about starring in new film Argylle which stars Chip the cat - who belongs to director Matthew Vaughn’s wife and supermodel Claudia Schiffer. As a surprise, Claudia brings Chip out onto the sofa. 

As Jonathan hugs him and he meows, Claudia says: “He can be grumpy.” 

She adds: “We had another cat on the film, he’s not a very good actor. He was terrible. He was also very expensive. So my husband, Matthew, the director, he asked if he could have my cat. I said, ‘Why not, he could be a nepo cat’ and here we are.” 

She reveals: “We’re working on a spin-off right now.”

Boy George joins the show and performs with Ariana. He then speaks about doing Panto: “I’m currently playing Captain Hook. It’s brilliant. First of all, I’ve never played gigs to 6-year-old kids before. And 6-year-old kids that are booing you. Who knew that being booed would be so invigorating? They really believe it. They get so involved. I’m nasty!”

He adds: “There’s some sword fighting, which actually I’m amazed I can remember to do. Choreography is not really my… I’m not a dancer. I try to approach everything, I tell myself I can do things now.”

He adds: “I think being a musician you get to control everything you do to a certain extent. Do you know what I mean? When you're part of an ensemble, you can’t have an ego, you just have to get on with it. When you go on stage you’ve got to be who you are. I just really enjoy doing what I do. It’s amazing.”

Boy George adds: “I think I love it more now. I know how to enjoy it now. When I was in my 20s, I didn’t know I had an off button… there’s a gratitude for the fact people want to come and see you.” 

Comedian Romesh Ranganathan who has a new tour called Hustle joins and discusses starting out as Kevin’s warm-up act saying: “It is the best training for a comic. Some people are happy and some… you’ve got to win over a crowd. You’re playing to a crowd that don’t care about you and you’ve got to try and win them over.” 

Kevin jokes: “You want them to be good… he went a bit too far.” 

Romesh also speaks about starring in the latest Chicken Run sequel. He says: “Doing the voice stuff was fine. The bits I found slightly difficult was when they’d say something like, ‘Now, you fall out of a hot air balloon, land on some corn and you’re chased by a robot chicken… can you do those noises?’ And you just go, ‘Oh, oh, eeee.’ That I found difficult.”

Of whether he’s done any voice acting, Boy George says: “No, but I think I’d be really good doing voice overs. My voice gets me recognised. I did Waze. That was hilarious.”

Romesh also speaks about his recent weight loss joking: “I have lost a lot of weight, but obviously it doesn’t matter. We’re in an age of body positivity and rightly so. And I feel like, you shouldn’t be celebrated more because you lost weight. I went round to see my mum after I lost weight… I was thinking, ‘Where have all my body issues come from?’ I knocked on the door, she answered and she looked at me and she went, ‘Oh my god, thank you lord, finally he looks how I want him to look!’ I just felt like, you might be part of the problem…” 

Of how much weight he has lost he says: “Three stone, something like that. It was just diet and exercise.” 

Romesh also adds of Kevin: “Kev, he won’t want me to say this, he genuinely is one of the greatest to ever do it [comedy]. When I did support for him on tour, every night it was genuinely an honour to watch him do his thing. I just think he is one of the very best.” 

At the end of the show Katherine Jenkins also performs. 





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