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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Slow start for Norton's Picture
Graham Norton
Norton was joined by Richard Wilson, Jo Brand and Jane Moore
The BBC has defended Graham Norton's talk show The Bigger Picture after low ratings for its BBC One debut.

Monday's show was seen by 2.4m people - fewer viewers than repeat shows aired in the same slot in previous weeks.

Jack Dee Live at the Apollo drew 2.7m the previous week, while One Foot in the Grave drew 3.1m two weeks ago.

But a BBC spokeswoman said that the show had got off to "a good, promising start" and had "a solid foundation to build on over the next six weeks".

"Graham believes the tone of the show is absolutely right," she continued.

Norton's mix of lighthearted chat and topical sketches is the first show his production company So Television has produced for the BBC since he signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the corporation in December 2003.

American star

The Irish presenter co-hosted Comic Relief in March and presented the Bafta TV awards in April.

Before The Bigger Picture, however, his only regular appearances on the BBC were as presenter of talent show Strictly Dance Fever.

Speaking on BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday, Norton said he was happy with the show but wanted it to be "looser".

"It will probably loosen up a bit," he told DJ Steve Wright, adding he wanted his celebrity guests to "join in more".

He added that next week he hoped to be joined by "a big American male star".

On Monday night Norton was joined by columnist Jane Moore, comedian Jo Brand and One Foot in the Grave star Richard Wilson.

Its 2235 BST slot saw it in direct competition with ITV1's late evening news and Channel 4's Big Brother, both of which attracted a larger audience share.

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