A Kiwi living in London has conquered talk-show host Graham Norton's notorious red chair with a story featuring a disastrous fall and the ashes of a woman's dead husband in Italy.

Brad Baxter, 23, originally from Christchurch, featured in the chair in an episode of The Graham Norton Show that aired in Britain on Friday.

During the popular segment, the person in the chair tells a story and if they fail to entertain Norton or his audience, a lever is pulled and the chair is tipped backwards.

Brad Baxter takes on the Red Chair. Photo / Facebook
Brad Baxter takes on the Red Chair. Photo / Facebook

If they hold the room's attention, they get to walk away.


Mr Baxter told a story from his travels in Italy, when an elderly woman, who spoke little English, took him in in the pouring rain and offered him a change of clothing.

"It was when I was in the room next door trying to put my leg through the trousers that I tripped over," he told Norton.

"I knocked a bookshelf and the urn on the top of the bookshelf came crashing down.

"I was still wet from the rain and as the urn hit the ground the ash went all over me.

"To make matters a little bit worse, as I managed to pull the pants up around my waist and started to clean up the mess that I had made, I saw a photo and it was the lady's husband.

"He was wearing the same pants that I had just put on."

Mr Baxter told the Herald the woman came in, saw the ash on him and on the ground, and grinned.

"She didn't seem angry; I'd managed to clean most of it up by the time she came in. I think she found it quite funny."


Norton said it was a "very good story" and gave Mr Baxter the option of walking away but he chose to be tipped.

Mr Baxter follows a line of Kiwis who have sat in the chair and Norton has admitted a fascination with the New Zealand accent.

Before Mr Baxter began his story, Norton said: "New Zealand must be empty. You must go to New Zealand and the airport is deserted. They're all queueing for the red chair."

Going on the red chair had been on Mr Baxter's bucket list.

"A work mate told me it was quite hard to get tickets to the show so a good way to get tickets is to go on the red chair.

"I thought I'd get flipped before I even started my story."

The 15 seconds of fame hadn't led to anyone recognising him in the street but colleagues he'd never talked to at London's Pearson College, where he worked in student recruitment, had mentioned seeing him on the show.

The episode, which featured Friends actor Matthew Perry, will be aired in New Zealand on February 12.

Mr Baxter's success follows Methven man Andy Rowe, who survived the red chair in May 2014. Mr Rowe, the first New Zealander to walk, rather than be tipped, from the chair, told the story of his friend Dunc, who needed to defecate while the pair were running past a park.

The public toilets were closed so Dunc defecated behind a bush."About 30 seconds later I saw this big german shepherd come bounding over," Mr Rowe, a former Radio Sport journalist, told Norton's audience.

"Dunc pulled his pants up, jogged off and then about 20 seconds later the owner of the german shepherd came over and she was like: 'Oh Roy, you naughty boy'."

The owner, thinking the faeces belonged to her dog, picked them up with a bag and wandered off with it tied to her belt.

The tale, which Norton also described as a "very good story", caused Norton and his guests to burst into laughter.