Rod Stewart on Downton Abbey, Obama’s re-election, and blushing on “pornographic” Graham Norton

"I almost needed a doctor after Celtic beat Barcelona!"


Which programme can’t you miss?


I’ve always enjoyed Downton Abbey but my wife didn’t know much about it, so we recently went back to the beginning and watched it all again. It’s really intelligent storytelling. Our favourite character is Lady Mary.

Who controls the remote?

We have a democratic house so everyone watches what we want. We have more than one TV.

What makes you blush?

I blushed a lot on The Graham Norton Show that I did recently. That show has got a lot more pornographic since the last time I appeared on it and the language… As a rule, I don’t like doing chat shows when I have singing to do. I have to protect my voice so I try to keep talking to a minimum. Before a gig, I have a warm-up, but the most important things for keeping your voice in top form are sleep and water – and plenty of both.

What else do you watch?

I’m a big fan of CNN. I’m a bit of a news junkie and I find CNN’s coverage the best. The US election coverage was interesting: if you watched Fox, you’d have thought Romney was going to win, but CNN leaned towards Obama. I’m OK with him getting re-elected. It’s going to cost me a lot more money, but I don’t mind as we should let the guy finish the job he started.

You’re famously passionate about football and even cried when your team Celtic beat Barcelona recently. What’s the appeal?

It’s athletes at their finest, the element of surprise. I watched Celtic play Barcelona and the fact a team worth £6.5m beat a team worth £165m was amazing. It was a brilliant match – I almost needed a doctor!

As a Celtic fan, were you sorry when Rangers went bankrupt and were relegated?

I feel sorry for the fans who didn’t have anything to do with the mess that the club got into. I know how much fans love their clubs because I know how much I love mine.

What do you think of the music industry today?

It couldn’t be healthier. I mourn the passing of pub rock, but I’m fine with The X Factor. Good talent will always find a way.

Is there a musician whose talent you think is underrated?

My daughter, Ruby Stewart. She’s got tremendous talent and what she needs is a bit of a luck and she’ll be on her way. I could be helpful and open doors or whatever, but it can be tougher if people think you’ve got it easier when you haven’t. Ruby is good, but if she wasn’t, I would be honest with her and tell her.

You’ve duetted with an array of stars, from Diana Ross to Dolly Parton. Is there anyone you would love to sing with but haven’t?

Sam Cooke. Definitely Sam Cooke. What a voice.

Do you enjoy the ritual and preparation of Christmas or, as a proud Scot, are you more of a Hogmanay man?

I don’t enjoy being told to have a good time, so I’m wary of that aspect of the festive season – I like being spontaneous. That said, I suppose I like Christmas and New Year.

What can viewers expect from your Christmas special?

I don’t know until we do it! There’s great talent involved [he duets with Kylie Minogue and Michael Bublé], it’s in the spectacular setting of Stirling Castle, and as long as we all sing in tune, it should be fine.


Rod Stewart’s Christmas is on tonight at 9:40pm on ITV1 (not STV)