Sheridan Smith says she was ‘humiliated’ after Graham Norton joke at Baftas

Actor was experiencing mental health and addiction issues when the TV host appeared to suggest she was an alcoholic

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 25 August 2020 11:19 BST
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Graham Norton jokes about Sheridan Smith's rumoured alcohol abuse in 2016 BAFTAs clip

Sheridan Smith has offered more insight into her reaction after TV host Graham Norton made a joke about her at the 2016 Baftas.

The 39-year-old actor, who was nominated for her performance in The C Word at the ceremony, said she “went off the deep end” after Norton’s comment.

“Graham Norton was hosting and made a joke at my expense about me being a drunk,” Smith recalled, in a new ITV documentary about motherhood and mental health.

“I was so humiliated,” she continued. “It’s a room full of your peers, people you want to work with or have worked with. That night, for me, was like the final straw before my brain totally went off the deep end.”

Around the time of the Baftas, Smith had been experiencing personal difficulties following her father’s cancer diagnosis, and pulled out of her starring role in a production of Funny Girl due to mental health issues.

Sheridan Smith in rehearsals for Funny Girl
Sheridan Smith in rehearsals for Funny Girl (Marc Brenner)

This came after a performance was cancelled midway through, with theatre management citing “technical difficulties” as the cause.

Norton referenced her departure from the show while addressing the audience at the Baftas.

“We’re all excited for a couple of drinks tonight. Or, as it’s known in theatrical circles, a few glasses of technical difficulties,” he said.

The Independent has contacted Norton’s representatives for comment.

Smith also revealed that, contrary to what many people were aware of at the time, she had “become addicted to anti-anxiety tablets”.

“That night I took myself off to a hotel on my own,” she wrote. “In my crazy mind, I thought, ‘I’ll do it [stop taking the tablets] myself’.”

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Smith stated that it was a “miracle” a friend of hers happened to call her and come to the hotel.

“It’s like someone was looking out for me because what I didn’t realise is that if you stop these tablets abruptly, you seizure,” she said.

“I seizured five times and got rushed to A&E and she’s the one who got me breathing again.”

Sheridan Smith: Becoming Mum airs on ITV, Tuesday 1 September at 9pm.

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