Graham Norton confirms he will not be replacing Sir Terry as Eurovision host

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Comedian and TV presenter Graham Norton has put an end to rumours that he will be replacing fellow Irishman Terry Wogan as the BBC’s Eurovision host.

“It’s a really hard gig to take over from Terry because he is genius at it and has made it his own,” he said.

“I think they are changing the voting a bit so I’m sure he’ll be back.”

In August The Sun claimed that Mr Norton, who has hosted musical TV programmes I’d Do Anything and Any Dream will Do, is a favourite to succeed.

Sir Terry, who has hosted The Song for Europe, the programme that picks the UK entry, for more than thirty years, talked about of quitting his association with the Eurovision Song Contest after this year’s event.

After seeing the UK come joint last in May in Belgrade he said: “I was considering giving up before Belgrade and now I have to say I’m very doubtful about ever wanting to do Eurovision again.

“Russia were going to be the political winners from the beginning.”

Gay rights activists in Russia have seized on Eurovision as an opportunity to show the prejudice they face.

Gay rights marches have been repeatedly banned in Moscow.

Russia won the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year for the first time. Next year’s final will be held on May 16th at Moscow’s Olympiyskiy stadium.

Gay activists have already said that the fourth Gay Pride in the Russian capital will take place on the day of Eurovision final.

The Mayor of Moscow has called gay rights activists “Satanic” and banned Pride in 2006 and 2007.

This year Pride organisers applied for permission to hold five marches a day, every day of May.

All were rejected by Moscow municipal authorities on the grounds they would “endanger public order and cause negative reaction of the majority of the population.”

On June 1st a group of 30 gay activists managed to stage short protests in front of Moscow City Hall and a statue of Tchaikovsky without being arrested.

There followed a farcical game of cat and mouse as police surrounded an apartment where four activists were eventually arrested after hours of siege.

They were held overnight and charged with taking part in an unauthorised demonstration and failing to obey police orders.

Nicolas Alexeyev, one of the organisers of Moscow Pride said:

“All our public actions have always been planned as human rights actions to attract the attention of Russian authorities to the current discrimination of sexual minorities in the society and the need to look for the solutions of this social problem by legislative means.”