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The Graham Norton Show

Big Red Chair

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Our client, So Television, asked us to make a new chair rig for the Graham Norton Show. To round off each programme, audience members sit in Graham’s Big Red Chair and tell stories – usually cringe-worthy. If Graham isn’t impressed the chair is tipped backwards mid-tale.

Project Breakdown 

With the old chair looking tired after several years of hosting, So Television wanted something more robust, with additional features built in to comply with the production’s Covid risk protocols.

Artem technicians designed a tipping chair mechanism and deck (with braked casters) to incorporate a reset system operated from the sides of the deck by two people using removable levers.  The CAD data was used to CNC laser cut the majority of the mechanism’s parts which were then welded together on an assembly jig to ensure correct alignment and smooth reliable operation. The completed mechanism and frame were finished in hard-wearing vinyl co- polymer paint. 

The rig’s removable levers enable the occupant to remain seated whilst the chair is reset and locked quickly and safely. This design also ensures that the crew and audience member are socially distanced throughout the process.

A replica chair was built from scratch at Artem’s workshop and upholstered with the client’s choice of fabric.

Our soft furnishings expert also provided additional sets of slip covers for the arms and headrest to enable a quick transformation to a ‘clean’ chair when multiple stories feature in one show.

Testing at Artem

Testing the Frame

Tipping Mechanism

Fully Upholstered for Comfort and Style

Chair Mechanism

Upholstering WIP




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The chair rig was rigorously tested at Artem prior to handover - technicians of all sizes tried it out!

The 28th season of The Graham Norton show began its run on BBC One in October 2020. Past episodes are available on the BBC iPlayer.

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