The Irish TV host, who presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC One and leads the broadcaster’s coverage of Eurovision each year, toldThe Observer that he felt it would “always be under scrutiny”.
“I just wish it would defend itself more robustly,” he said. “Our commercial stations are only as good as they are because they’ve got to match the BBC’s standards.
“When you go abroad and watch terrestrial TV, it’s shockingly bad. By getting rid of the BBC, you’re essentially signing up for jaundiced news and terrible programming. That’s sad.”
He added: “One day, we’ll look back at the BBC and wonder how we were manipulated by vested interests into losing this great thing.”
In the same interview, he revealed that the celebrities he most wants to have on his famous red sofa include Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and “the young royals”.
Norton is currently promoting his new novel, Home Stretch, which is out later this month.
The Eurovision final takes place on Saturday 22 April.
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