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BBC defends Norton drug comments


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The BBC has defended Graham Norton after he admitted in an interview he had tried "loads of drugs".

The TV star, who hosts the BBC's Strictly Dance Fever and Graham Norton's Bigger Picture, also described ecstasy as "just fantastic".

 

Norton, 43, was criticised by anti-drug groups for the comments he made during an interview for Marie Claire magazine.

 

But the BBC said his comments were aimed at an "adult audience" and did not affect his ability as a TV host.

 

Norton joined the BBC from Channel 4 two years ago and in August signed a new three-year deal.

 

Norton told the magazine: "The only time I took ecstasy was years and years ago. It was absolutely amazing. It was just fantastic - really, really fun."

 

He added: "I've tried loads of drugs, but it would really bug me if I got busted in the tabloids because I take them so rarely."

 

In a statement the BBC said: "The issues Graham discusses in this interview are aimed at an adult audience and reflect the frank and open nature of his personality.

 

"They do not in any way impact on his ability to be a first class entertainer on BBC television."

 

Martin Barnes, DrugScope's chief executive, said: "It would be naive to deny that people use drugs because they enjoy them but there are risks and many who use drugs do come to harm.

 

"We shouldn't rush to condemn admissions of drug use but it is reasonable to ask that celebrities recognise a responsibility - that for many people there is a downside to drug use."

 

A spokesman for the National Drug Prevention Alliance said: "We're appalled, it's absolutely mind-blowing that somebody has said that.

 

"He's in the public eye and influencing young people, so who is it helping? I don't know - I'm just staggered."

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5416220.stm

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