BBC chat show host Graham Norton has been reprimanded by the BBC after wearing an AIDS ribbon to mark World AIDS Day on his own show. 

Graham Norton appeared on Friday 29th November wearing a red AIDS ribbon, as did his guests Jeremy Clarkson, Jo Brand, Colin Farrell and Sharon Osbourne. The only difference being Norton, a long time supporter of HIV/AIDS charities, was forbidden to do so by the BBC.

Mark Linsey, Entertainment Controller for the BBC, was quoted as saying “World AIDS Day is an issue which Graham cares passionately about and he did wear a World AIDS Day insignia on his programme” 

“However, this is in breach of BBC guidelines. The production company has been contacted and reminded that he cannot do this and Graham has accepted he was wrong to do so. The BBC has been assured it will not occur again.”

An anonymous BBC source spoke to The Telegraph on the matter:  “The whole thing is totally disgraceful – Graham is a well known supporter of AIDS charities and there is no way in the world he was not going to wear the ribbon. It means so much to him and is very close to his heart and for the BBC to have a go at him is as unbelievable as it is disgusting. His guests were all allowed to wear ribbons – even Jeremy Clarkson – so if Graham didn’t wear one, can you imagine how he would feel?””

The news of the reprimand of both Graham Norton and his production company So Television has sparked outrage on Social Media from both within and outside of the HIV community.


It is also noteworthy that ITV allow its talent to wear AIDS ribbons during the World AIDS Day and the lead up period, with X-Factor judges sporting the iconic red ribbon this year.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT said:

“We sent NAT’s sparkly red ribbon brooches to Graham for his guests to wear and we were delighted when he decided to wear one to show his personal support for people living with HIV. Public awareness of HIV is generally very low and HIV-related stigma persists, so celebrities wearing a red ribbon around World AIDS Day sends out a really positive message. We hope the BBC will now rethink their policy on their presenters wearing red ribbons.”

beyondpositive would like to thank Graham Norton for standing up for what he believes in, and continuing to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS at a time when we have 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK – 22,000 of which are unaware of their positive status.


  1. Bloody ridiculous! The original point of the aids ribbon was that it cost next to nothing to make: a safety pin and a a few inches of ribbon. What GN’s wearing in that photograph isn’t an aids ribbon: it’s costume jewelry!

    • Actually Graham Norton and his guests were wearing the jewelled ribbons from NAT at £15.99 each and all the proceeds go to charity. The way we make the ribbons, like everything, has changed with time but the important thing is the message which remains as important as ever.

    • Totally agree with Steve, these tv celebs all wear bejeweld badges, including the red poppy day ones, fashion statements that thy are given before recording. All should wear the simple pin and ribbon. 🙂

  2. I’m aware of all that, but I maintain that the “aids ribbon” GN was wearing was jewelry based on the concept of the original ribbon and therefore outside the ambit of the BBC’s ban… Perhaps a little disingenuous, butit lets both sides off the hook

  3. When I think back to three weeks ago sitting in St Georges Hall in Liverpool and being part of the the very moving vigil for WAD13 and the BBC can reprimand GN for wearing a small emblem for such a hugely important cause is beyond me.


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