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The Jonathan Ross Show | Preview (ITV1)

On this week’s The Jonathan Ross Show, the much-loved Monty Python star and travelogue icon Sir Michael Palin, former two-time Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua, the legendary Lulu, ahead of her final ever tour after 60 years in the business, hilarious comedian and presenter Tom Allen, award-winning comedian Laura Smyth, plus the winner of Best British Group at the 2024 BRITs Jungle will be performing in the studio.

Former two-time Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua joins Jonathan following his recent victory after fighting Francis Ngannou.

Speaking about his victory, Anthony says, “I was preparing for ten rounds, tough fight. The guy is a big, strong guy from a different feel because he’s an MMA fighter. He’s a tough guy. I thought I would still be victorious and it happened a lot sooner than I expected.”

Anthony adds, “You don’t get along with some fighters so sometimes there’s no conversation after. There’s a level of respect as well - me and Ngannou had a lot of respect. I gave him encouragement because the guy’s had an amazing career. Don’t let that one blip in his career become the defining moment. I’ve lost before - it’s tough.”

Talking about whether the boxing ‘trash talk’ can affect him, Anthony says, “100%. You take it personal and you meditate on it. You want to punish them for what they said about you.”

Speaking specifically about fellow boxing legend Tyson Fury, Anthony says, “This is one of my rivals. This is someone I want to compete with one day so everything he says, I’ve got it all stored in the back of my memory and when the fight happens, I’m going to use it as a lot of fuel.” 

Asked by Jonathan when his next fight is, Anthony says, “Around September is when I’ve been told. I was hoping June. I’ve got some time to go on dates now and mingle a little bit. I’m training at the minute, I’ve got two months before I get into training camp.” 

On whether he knows who he’ll be up against in the ring, Anthony says, “No. I think what they’re saying is be patient because you’ve got Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk for all the belts and then once that’s done hopefully I can kick down the door and get my opportunity.”

Speaking about whether he has time for dating alongside his demanding career, “Yeah, definitely. I don’t know what I’m doing actually. Boxing is my priority.”

Anthony then speaks about how he visited a darkness retreat in Oregon and says “It was a darkness retreat. It was completely pitch black, no sound, no communication with anyone. All your senses get shut down. I didn’t realise how tired I was. Just sat from Monday to Friday. It was phenomenal, a good experience and much needed. Would I do it again? Because I’ve experienced it once, it’s harder than I thought but I’m stronger than I thought so I put myself in that situation.”

Quizzed by Jonathan on his thoughts on the increase in popularity of influencer boxing matches, Anthony says, “I personally think it’s really good. I think the boxing hardcores, they don’t like it because they think ‘Why are they disrespecting our sport?’ but I think that person brings all these people into boxing which benefits everyone else. Everyone viewing helps.”

Speaking about who he thinks will walk away victorious, Anthony says, “He’s [Mike Tyson] older now. I pray that he comes out healthy. I think Jake Paul because of youth - that’s the only thing.”

Touching upon his plans for retirement, Anthony says, “I’ve always said 35. I’m 35 in October, I’m thinking another two years or so if my body holds out. I’ve set up certain businesses that I can transition into naturally which don’t rely on me being at the forefront.”

Anthony later reveals the jobs he had before finding fame as a boxer, “Bricklaying and I used to sell package holidays. I wasn't bad - I had a silver tongue.”

Speaking about whether his son is athletic and whether he’ll follow in his footsteps, Anthony says, “I think football. He’s eight now - it’s crazy how fast time goes.” On whether he has come to see him fight, Anthony says, “Yeah, definitely. I’m not doing it forever so come down and have a good time and experience. Even in the bad times, he’s been there.”

Next, Jonathan is joined by the legendary Lulu ahead of her forthcoming farewell tour Champagne for Lulu.

Speaking about the tour, Lulu says, “People said to me ‘You’re retiring?’ and I said ‘Christ, no.’ I don’t want to give up but I don’t want to do it that way anymore. It’s called Champagne for Lulu and we took it from Jennifer Saunders. 60 years in this business, I was 75 in November. Everyone was saying, ‘Are you going to have a party?’ and believe me, I’ve partied, in the 60s, 70s and 80s. I don’t need to party anymore, this is how I party!”

Lulu adds, “I think it might be quite emotional. I can say this and I can say that. I have quite a few treats going on. It will be different. It will be great.”

On the prospect of special guests joining her on tour, Lulu says, “I haven’t said who yet but if you think of a couple of people I’ve worked with or I know in this business…” 

Quizzed by Jonathan on what it was like working with David Bowie, Lulu says, “I’ve had a great career, I’m very lucky. If you’re going to be in a career this long, there is a price to pay and there’s ups but there’s downs as well. One of the very first beginnings of that was when I was just a teenager and I would be negotiating with men in suits running record labels. They would want me to sing little pop songs, I would have a lot of tears and a lot of struggles. When I met David, David said ‘The labels don’t get you. They don’t get your voice either. I’m going to make a hit record with you.’ When he said that to me, I felt like I’d been heard and I’d been seen because it’s hard to negotiate with people who’ve been in the business for a long time.”

Asking Lulu about her romance with David Bowie which featured in her book, Lulu jokingly says, “No comment.” And then adds, “That book was a load of drivel - the next one will be the one. At that point when that book came out to be honest with you, I did the best I could. I have learnt so much, I’ve been up and down. I’m older and I think I wasn’t ready to be as vulnerable and to be as authentic and honest, not that I was a phoney. I was a young girl and I just want to be loved - that’s my story. That’s why I do what I do. I can say that now and I couldn’t have said that when I was younger. I want to be connected to people.” 


Speaking about whether she would like a partner now, Lulu says, “No, not really. I’m very happy. I’ve found that I’m really happy on my own. When I was young, I wanted a white picket fence and I wanted the dream. To be honest with you, now after having two marriages and I picked two good guys, I needed to get to know myself a bit more.” 

Talking alongside her fellow guests about alternative career routes they could have taken, Lulu says, “I never imagined I’d have the career that I’ve had. I used to think I’d be a hairdresser in the day and sing in clubs at night. That was as far as my ambition went.” 

Jonathan is also joined by the much-loved Monty Python star and travelogue icon Sir Michael Palin ahead of the release of his new travel series Michael Palin: Across Nigeria.

Speaking about the iconic travel series Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin, Michael reveals he wasn’t the first choice of host, “I wasn’t the second choice or the third choice, or the fourth choice, I was the fifth choice.”

Michael adds, “I didn’t know quite what I was supposed to be. I thought ‘Am I supposed to be acting? Am I going to be a reporter? How am I supposed to play this?’ I was a bit uncomfortable to start with. By the end I realised I hadn’t thought about what I was supposed to be doing, I’d just been me and so I discovered that was the way to do it. After that I felt much more relaxed and if things went wrong, they went wrong.”

Michael reveals there is a star dedicated to him outside Shakespeare’s Globe and says, “That was outside the globe theatre. Cleese [John] arranged for me to have a star there and he gave them the name and gave them ‘Pallin’ because he likes to think they’d get my name wrong. In America they call me ‘Pallin’ and now it’s immortalised thanks to John Cleese outside the Globe Theatre.” 

Speaking about his upcoming travel series in which he travels around Nigeria, Michael says, “It is exciting - the energy of the people. After half of a minute, they’ve got their arm around your shoulder and they’re so funny.”

Touching upon immersing himself in the culture of the countries he visits, Michael says, “You’ve got to really have the local dishes. Eating is such a connective activity. If you really want to get to know people, you’ve got to eat their food.” 

Michael speaks alongside his fellow guests about jobs they had before finding fame and says “When I was at Oxford, I got a job in long vacation. I was selling encyclopaedias to troops in Germany. We were told it was a guaranteed way to make a fortune in the summer. I was completely hopeless.” Asked by Jonathan on how many he sold, Michael replies, “Three and that was over a period of about eight weeks.”

Speaking about whether his grandchildren are likely to follow in his comedic footsteps, Michael says, “Certainly the younger ones, comedy comes naturally to them. They just love disrupting the adult world and they both like performing. I think they are performers but I always quite liked larking about at that age.”

Jonathan is also joined by comedian and presenter Tom Allen following the extension of his comedy tour Completely. 

Speaking alongside Anthony Joshua, Tom reveals his love of boxing, “I’ve been training for five years actually. It’s very good exercise. I really like it. I’ve been enjoying it and apparently I have quite a strong left hook but I’m not very good with an uppercut. I do it outside my house and the children from the local school walk past and laugh at me.”

Currently on tour with his comedy show, Completely, Tom says, “It’s actually not a brand-new tour. It’s been going since last February but we’ve extended it. I love talking to people, I love that interaction with people who’ve been kind enough to come and see the show. You have a chat with people and it’s nice because I do feel like we spend too much time on our phones and getting distracted and not living in the moment.”

Asked by Jonathan about his current living situation, Tom says, “I’ve moved out at the tender age of 38 and a half. I’ve got a partner, Alfie. It’s nice being in a relationship, I’ve never been in one like this before. We like to get up together, he likes to make the bed and I don’t like the way he does that. You don’t tell them - you bury it deep down inside! We’ve got hobbies and we like to empty the dishwasher together while slagging off people we know.”

Touching upon the pressure to be positive all the time in his career as a comedian, Tom says, “I think what I’ve learned is that you have to be yourself and you have to acknowledge that if you’re feeling a certain way, just lean into it. That’s what I like about comedy. With anything, if you can show that life is sometimes difficult, it’s real and people laugh.”

Tom reveals he and his partner once accidentally went to a nudist beach and says, “I went to Tenerife. My partner and I wanted to go to a beach but we didn’t want to go to a touristy beach. We asked this hotel receptionist if she could recommend a beach. We got there and it was of course a nudist beach and you see everything.”

Speaking alongside his fellow guests about jobs they had before finding fame, Tom says, “As a teenager, I was always quite eccentric and I used to pretend to be a butler. I liked dressing up and laying the table. My friend said I could come round and be her butler for the afternoon. I was very formal about it and I was serving lunch and I spilled this hollandaise sauce all down this woman so I never got asked to return.”

Finally, comedian Laura Smyth joins Jonathan ahead of her new tour Living My Best Life.

Speaking about what people can expect from her new tour, Laura says, “I’ve had a real life. I’m a mum. I used to be a teacher. I'm from a big family, it all happens, life happens. Everything. I mug off everyone on Instagram. Parenting. Being a wife. Body image. Sex. All of it! People feel seen by my comedy.” 

Having been a teacher before being a full-time comedian, Laura reveals she once received a disciplinary from her school for speaking about her job during her routines, “I got in a disciplinary. I did a bit of material and I got pulled into the headmasters office. He played me the material and he paused it and said ‘Would you agree this constitutes bringing the school into disrepute? and I said ‘no’. 

Laura adds, “I bumped into one of my students in my local co-op and she said to me ‘Alright Miss, ain’t seen you on telly yet?’”

Speaking about taking her three children to her gigs, Laura says, “I always play the Latitude Festival because they like it - I spend my whole fee on the helter skelter. When they first saw me, my Bonnie was about six years old and she came running backstage afterwards and went ‘seven’. I thought she was giving me a Len Goodman score but she said ‘You did the F-word seven times!’”

Quizzed by Jonathan on whether she’s had any disasters on stage, Laura shares, “I was unwell, I had breast cancer but through chemo I did a lot of CBD and it made me a bit slow. It’s all legal but I had quite a high potency. I thought I was slowing down but my mum tried the CBD and said ‘The chemo isn’t slowing you down!’ 

At the end of the show, Jungle performs. 

The Jonathan Ross Show continues tonight at 8:35pm on ITV1.


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