Graham Norton

Making His Mark Across The Pond

From the red county to the red chair, Graham Norton has captured the hearts of people home and abroad.

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Graham Norton (Source: Welovethisbook.com)

He appears on our TV screens every Friday night interviewing a merry go round of A-list celebrities, it’s sometimes easy to forget he has walked the same streets as us growing up. As he continues to grow from strength to strength, he’s truly deserving as one of our “Top Four Who Have Done More”.

 

Comedian and presenter, Graham Norton was born in Dublin and grew up in Bandon, Co. Cork in the 1960s. Like many a Corkonian, Norton studied at University College Cork (UCC), where he spent two years studying English and French. In 2013 he received an honorary doctorate from UCC.

The 53 year old’s career began in the early 90’s after moving to London to attend London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. He started stand up comedy

Graham Norton Show

The Graham Norton Show (Source: Tumblr)

and in 1992 appeared in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival making the press for his performance as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Later making his broadcasting debut on BBC’s radio 4 Loose Ends, the seven times BAFTA winner now presents his self entitled show “The Graham Norton Show”. Other television credits include The BAFTAs and Eurovision Song Contest (BBC), to name a few.

Although he has been living in London since the 1990s, Norton still calls Cork home and regular spends time in his West Cork home in Bantry.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Norton said, “I had a place in the city and I was looking for a seaside place and my sister found this house. It is a paradise. I love it.” Despite being born in Dublin he has all the charisma and charm of a true Cork man.

We at Lovin Cork are flying the flag for the rebel county. Like any true Corkonian we boast the fact we are the biggest county in Ireland, we insist on being called the real capital and, of course, we claim Graham Norton as one our very own.

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Cillian Murphy

Homegrown Talent in Hollywood

Hailed as ‘Cork’s answer to Colin Farrell’, Cillian Murphy has done the rebel county proud and has taken Hollywood by storm.

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With his dazzling blue eyes, he’s landed roles in Blockbusters such as Inception and Red Eye. From humble beginnings, Murphy was born in Douglas, Cork City.

He got his first taste of stage acting, while he was a member of UCC’s Dramat drama society. He performed in their amateur production of Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, which coincidentally also starred comedian Des Bishop.

He landed the lead role in Disco Pigs, which was originally slated for a three week run in his native city. Due to the phenomenal success of the adaptation, the play ran for almost two years across Australia Canada and Europe. It was at this point in his career that he left University and pursued his newfound passion.

His first taste of international stardom came when he was cast as ‘Jim’, the hero of the piece in Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic masterpiece 28 Days Later. He soon caught the attention of acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, and was cast as the Scarecrow in 2005’s Batman Begins. Of the casting, Nolan remarked “He has the most extraordinary eyes, and I kept trying to invent excuses for him to take his glasses off in close-ups.”

He has lent his talents to many Irish productions too, starring in the top two grossing movies in Irish box office history; Intermission and The Wind That Shakes the Barley. His passionate portrayal in the latter garnered rave reviews, and was a very personal subject matter to Murphy. Shot in his beloved Cork, the movie depicted the fight for Irish Independence, and went on to win the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

Murphy filming in Cork in 2005. Source: theirishworld.com

Critical accolades came pouring in for Murphy, with a Golden Globe nomination and an IFTA win for his turn as lovelorn transgender Patrick/”Kitten” Braden in Breakfast on Pluto. He continued his winning streak with Nolan, and was cast in psychological thriller Inception in 2010. The movie was a blockbuster success, and grossed $160,000,000 worldwide. Since 2013, Murphy has played the lead in BBC’s Peaky Blinders, a series about a criminal gang in post-WW1 Birmingham. Peaky Blinders has attracted a huge audience and big-name actors like Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley fought to join the cast in season two. The critically acclaimed show has been given the green light for a third season, which is due to hit screens later this year.

Despite his success, Murphy is decidedly private, avoiding the chat show circuit and often skipping the red carpet. He works without a publicist and routinely attends his movie premieres alone. He has expressed his distaste for Hollywood, refusing to uproot his family and relocate. Although he now resides in Dublin with his wife and two boys, he remains a proud Cork man, despite having left over twenty years ago. “I am definitely proud to be from Cork, when you come back and drive through the city you can really see how beautiful it is”.

Dee Forbes

Dee Forbes – Breaking glass ceilings off screen

Although usually based in London for work, Dee Forbes is returning to her native Ireland and of course Cork. She certainly is a Cork lady who’s done more!

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Dee Forbes (Source: irishexaminer.com)

Ms Forbes has long been making waves in the television and production industry in Europe, and RTÉ recently announced that not only is she the new Director General of Ireland’s national broadcaster, she is the first woman to ever hold the position – She is a deserving Lovin Cork’s ‘Top 4 who’ve done more’!

Hailing from Drimoleague and the eldest of three children, Forbes’ love of history and politics in school, stayed with her to third level, when she studied a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics in University College Dublin.

Her career in television began in London, where she emigrated to at the end of the 1980s, when Ireland was in the grips of recession. Until recently, she was the President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks, Northern Europe. In this position, she managed all commercial and channel activities for Discovery, which covers 27 TV brands and reaches 276 million households each month.

However, Forbes still considers Cork to be home and frequently returns to her home in Glandore for rest and relaxation.

Her new position in RTÉ came as a surprise to many for a couple of reasons. First, no woman has ever held the position and second, an insider of the broadcaster was speculated to be the successor.

She has publicly said before that she does not base her career on being a man or a woman but rather, bases the importance on working hard and having ambition in whatever you do.

On women and leadership, she believes that the most recent economic downturn has actually proved interesting and exciting for potential women in business. The digital age has enabled people to run inventive and ingenious businesses and ideas right from their kitchen table.

It is therefore clear to see that Dee Forbes is an advocate for women in business, as well as innovation and homegrown entrepreneurship.

Lovin Cork are very excited to see what Ms Forbes bring to RTÉ in the coming years and months.

You can follow Dee on Twitter here.