Graham Norton says he declined ‘queue-jump ticket’ as Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby row continues

Graham Norton claims he rejected a ticket to skip the queues at Westminster Hall to see Queen Elizabeth’s coffin

Graham Norton has revealed he did not accept a ticket offered by his MP friend to skip the line to visit the late Queen Elizabeth’s lying-in-state.

The Irish broadcaster, 59, disclosed the opportunity to “queue-jump” while chatting to Nihal Arthanayake on his BBC Radio 5 programme on Monday (26 September).

Graham explained that he declined the special treatment to pay his respects to the late monarch, who passed away at the age of 96, as he was worried about backlash.

This comes after This Morning’s presenters Phillip Schofield, 60, and Holly Willoughby, 41 sparked a heated “queue-gate”row by allegedly skipping the over 20-hour line at Westminster Hall.

The League of Gentlemen were worthy winners in 1997. We wonder what happened to young Irish comedian Graham Norton who they beat?
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby have won 14 NTAs for their show This Morning (Pic:Getty)

While the ITV presenters have faced a vast amount of criticism online including a petition to fire them from their roles receiving 74,000 signatures, Graham believes they did “nothing wrong.”

Graham said: “Phil and Holly…the queue. So, as far as I’m concerned, they did nothing wrong. There was a two-tier system [meaning] you could queue jump!

“Now I got offered a ticket by a friend of mine - he’s an MP and he said, ‘Do you want to come?’

Graham Norton featured on a BBC Radio 5 programme to talk about the queue-gate scandal (Pic:Getty)

“I didn’t say yes, - because I thought if anybody sees me, I’ll get it in the neck,” Graham added.

According to the Express, the two-tier system that Graham mentioned on BBC Radio 5 allowed journalists and broadcasters to bypass the line that saw people waiting for nearly 22 hours.

Graham continued: “I suppose what Phil and Holly got wrong was they thought people wouldn’t care. I guess that’s their crime.

“The actual queue jumping? They did nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing wrong…but foolish of them to not think people would be annoyed.”

Members of the public queue to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state in Westminster Hall on September 18, 2022 in London, United Kingdom (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Amid the backlash about the 14-time National Television Award winners, a spokesperson said Holly and Phil were given press passes to film a segment for their show to allow the millions, who were not able to visit in person, a final glimpse at the longest reigning monarch in British history.

Holly Willoughby defended their actions during a VT on Tuesday’s programme and explained that they were given precise instructions to follow.

She said: “Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists, we were given official permission to access the hall.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield enter Westminster Abbey

“The rules were that we would be quickly escorted around the edges to a platform at the back…we, of course, respected those rules, however, we realise it may have looked like something else and therefore totally understand the reaction.”

Holly concluded her monologue by promising that herself and Phil would never queue-jump.

Graham Norton spoke out at a crucial time as ITV bosses are becoming hugely concerned about whether Phil and Holly will be booed at the upcoming NTA ceremony on 13 October.