He might lack Michael Parkinson’s charm or Jeremy Paxman’s bite, but Jonathan Ross has never failed to raise eyebrows as an interviewer.
From his decade-long Friday night stint on BBC1 to his latest incarnation on ITV, no Hollywood actor, political leader or music star has been safe from ‘Wossy’s’ razor-sharp wit.
So as he returns with a star-studded new series of The Jonathan Ross Show, we review the highlights and lowlights of his chat show career.
The Libertines frontman talked sex, drugs and rock’n’roll when he appeared on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross in 2006 - complete with a guitar and a wrapped up gift for the host. He also discussed his much-publicised relationship with supermodel Kate Moss (“It’s right and wrong, up and down... I love her bones, I always will...”) before unwrapping the present - a drawing of the singer with the lyrics to one of his songs inscribed.
Senior Tories were shocked by “disgusting” remarks Ross made about Margaret Thatcher during an interview with David Cameron in 2006. Ross asked the Conservative leader and then-future prime minister if he’d ever had schoolboy fantasies about Baroness Thatcher, and Cameron told him: “This is the moment I realised why politicians never come on the show.” More than 250 people complained to Ofcom over the incident, but the broadcasting regulator later cleared the host.
The Naked Chef has been interviewed by Ross a few times, but the most headline-grabbing encounter came in 2006 when the host jokingly asked if parents in council estates shouldn’t be allowed to have children. He asked the campaigning chef: “Do you think we should put something in the water supply, stop some people having children in future?” Complaints were lodged, but the BBC defended Ross and said he was well-known for his “irreverent” approach.
Remember that scene in the 1988 film Big when Hanks’ character plays the Chopsticks tune on a giant floor piano? Last year, Ross played host to the US actor and pulled back his carpet to reveal a replica of the instrument. Hanks obliged by hopping on it to bash out the tune, with help from Wossy and fellow guest Sandra Bullock, who managed to master the keys in some pretty high stilettos.
A year after rocking a meat dress (and jaunty matching meat hat) at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga made a farm-themed appearance on Ross’ show. This time, the singer made her entrance in a mint green latex suit accompanied by a ram named Kevin. Perching on a hay bale, she told a bemused Ross: “I thought it would be a nice gift for you.” Never one to disappoint in the entertainment stakes, Gaga also nursed a teacup and saucer throughout a previous interview with Ross.
All hell broke loose during an interview with comedian Ross Noble in 2010. When the Northumberland comic attempted to take the hot seat, the host fell off his chair and the pair ended up grappling on top of the desk and over the sofa. The whole thing resembled a cross between Michael Parkinson’s encounter with Emu and Oliver Reed’s wrestling scene in Women In Love.
Ross offended some viewers during a 2008 interview with Gwyneth Paltrow when he suggested the Hollywood star was “gagging for it”. The BBC Trust later decided the comments were ‘gratuitous’ and ‘offensive’ and the actress - who was still with Coldplay’s Chris Martin at the time - admitted her father-in-law was not impressed.
Paltrow herself insisted she found the exchange “hilarious”, adding: “I’m probably less square than people think.”
Jonathan Ross Show, Saturday, 10.20pm, ITV