I was saddened to hear that Veteran Radio broadcaster and television presenter Sir Michael Terence “Terry” Wogan, KBE DL died aged 77 on the 31 January 2016 at his home in Buckinghamshire. Wogan was Born in Limerick. Ireland on 3 August 1938. at the age of 15, after his father was promoted to general manager, Wogan moved to Dublin with his family. While living in Dublin, he attended Crescent College’s sister school, Belvedere College. He participated in amateur dramatics and discovered a love of rock and roll. After leaving Belvedere in 1956, Wogan had a brief career in the banking profession, joining the Royal Bank of Ireland. While in his twenties, he joined the national broadcaster of Ireland, RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) as a newsreader and announcer, after seeing a newspaper advertisement inviting applicants.
Wogan conducted interviews and presented documentary features during his first two years at Raidió Teilifís Éireann, before moving to the light entertainment department as a disc jockey and host of TV quiz and variety shows such as Jackpot, a top rated quiz show on RTÉ in the 1960s. It was here that he developed his signature catchphrase, based on his name: “Wo’gwan.” When the show was dropped by RTÉ TV in 1967, Wogan approached the BBC for extra work. He began working for BBC Radio, initially ‘down the line’ from London, first broadcasting on the Light Programme on Tuesday 27 September 1966. He presented the Tuesday edition of Late Night Extra for two years on BBC Radio 1, commuting weekly from Dublin to London. After covering Jimmy Young’s mid-morning show throughout July 1969, he was offered a regular afternoon slot between 3 and 5.
In April 1972, he took over the breakfast show on BBC Radio 2, swapping places with John Dunn, who briefly hosted the afternoon show. Wogan enjoyed unprecedented popularity, achieving audiences of up to 7.9 million. His seemingly ubiquitous presence across the media meant that he frequently became the butt of jokes by comedians of the time, among them The Goodies and The Barron Knights. He was capable of self-parody too, releasing a vocal version of the song “The Floral Dance” in 1978, by popular request from listeners who enjoyed hearing him sing over the instrumental hit by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. His version reached number 21 in the UK Singles Chart. A follow-up single, entitled “Me and the Elephant”, and an eponymous album were also released, but did not chart. In December 1984, Wogan left his breakfast show to pursue a full-time career in television and was replaced by Ken Bruce. His first chat show Wogan’s World, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from 6 June 1974 to 21 September 1975.
In January 1993, he returned to BBC Radio 2 to present the breakfast show, then called Wake Up to Wogan. Which included rambling, esoteric banter and was highly interactive with much of the entertainment coming from letters and emails sent in by listeners (many of whom adopt punning pseudonyms, such as Edina Cloud, Lucy Lastic, Sly Stunnion, Roland Butter, Lucy Quipment, Anne Kersaway, Peregrine Trousers, Alf Hartigan, Mick Sturbs, Hellen Bach and “Tess Tickles”. Wogan is also widely credited with launching the career of singer Katie Melua after he repeatedly played her debut single, “The Closest Thing to Crazy”, in late 2003 Which she performed on Children in Need in 2005.
He worked for the BBC in Great Britain for most of his career. Before he retired from his BBC Radio 2 weekday breakfast programme Wake Up to Wogan in 2009, it had eight million regular listeners, making him the most listened-to radio broadcaster in Europe. Wogan began his career on the Irish national broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann where he presented shows such as Jackpot in the 1960s and became a leading media personality in the UK from the late 1960s often being referred to as a “national treasure”.In addition to his weekday radio show, he was known in the United Kingdom for his work for television, including the BBC One chat show Wogan, presenting Children in Need, the game show Blankety Blank and Come Dancing and as the BBC’s commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest from 1971 to 2008.
Wogan’s radio show included running jokes involving Wogan’s newsreader colleagues Alan Dedicoat (nicknamed ‘Deadly’ after the spoonerism ‘Deadly Alancoat’), Fran Godfrey and John Marsh (nicknamed ‘Boggy’). He also narrated a series of spoof “Janet and John” stories during the breakfast show. Which were a pastiche of children’s learn-to-read stories but are littered with humorous sexual double-entendres.Wogan’s radio show also included exchanges with “the Totty from Splotty “ – Lynn Bowles, the Welsh traffic reporter from Splott, Cardiff – which often involved reading limericks from listeners cut short after 1 or 2 lines due to risqué innuendo. On 2009, Wogan left the breakfast show with Chris Evans taking over. However Wogan returned to Radio 2 from 14 February 2010 to host Weekend Wogan, a live weekly two-hour Sunday show on Radio 2, hosted in front of a live studio audience andfeaturing live musical performance and guests, between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm and continued to host the show until November 2015 when, due to ill health, he was replaced by Richard Madeley
From 1980 Wogan presented The BBC Televised Charity appeal Children in Need alongside Esther Rantzen and Sue Lawley. Raising money for various children’s charities and good causes and also appeared on the comedy quiz show QI in 2008 In 2008, Wogan and singer Aled Jones released a single “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” which got to number three in the UK music charts. The money raised went to BBC Children in Need. The two recorded a second Christmas single “Silver Bells” in 2009 which was also in aid of BBC Children in Need. Wogan was the main regular presenter of Children in Need for more than thirty years, his last such appearance being in 2014. In November 2015, Wogan was unable to participate in the televised Children in Need appeal for the first time in its 35-year history due to poor health and was replaced by Dermot O’Leary.
In 1971, and from 1974, until 1977, Wogan provided the BBC’s radio commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest and From 1980 until 2008, he provided the BBC’s television commentary and became known for his sardonic acerbic wit and highly cynical comments. In 1998 He co-hosted the contest with Ulrika Jonsson in Birmingham when Dana International of Israel won the contest. He also hosted Eurovision in 1973, 1975 and 1977 until 1996, 1998, and from 2003 until 2008. As well as the companion show Making Your Mind Up, in which the British public voted to decide their Eurovision entry. In recent years, the Contest has become notorious for what is widely seen as an increase in political voting, the UK’s entry has in recent years often come last despite being of better quality in favor of some really ridiculous songs.In 2008, Wogan gave up presenting Eurovision after 35 years when United Kingdom once again finished last, stating it had become predictable and was no longer a music contest (I’m not sure it ever was, it’s more of a freak show sometimes) and was replaced by Graham Norton.
Wogan’s was also famous for TV chat shows including What’s on Wogan? And Saturday Live in 1981. Wogan was then given his own chat show, Wogan, which after a trial run on a midweek evening, was recommissioned for broadcast on Saturday nights from 1982 to 1984. Between 1985 and 1992, the show became thrice-weekly on early weekday evenings. Memorable incidents in the series included the interviews with a drunk George Best and Oliver Reed, a silent Chevy Chase, a nervous Anne Bancroft who was so petrified she gave monosyllabic answers and counted to ten before descending the entrance steps to the studio, Ronnie Barker announcing his retirement on the show, and David Icke claiming to be the “Son of God”. Despite it”s success, in 1992 his talk show was replaced by the ill-fated soap Eldorado and he briefly hosted a new weekly chat strand Terry Wogan’s Friday Night in 1993. In 2006 Wogan presented Wogan Now and Then where he interviewed guests from his old chat show as well as new guests. In 2015 BBC Two launched a new compilation series, Wogan: the Best Of, featuring selected interview segments and music performances from Wogan’s past chat series, linked by new introductions from Wogan.
In 1981 Wogan set the world record for the longest successful golf putt ever televised at 33 yards at the Gleneagles golf course in a pro-celebrity TV programme on the BBC and also narrated the BBC television series Stoppit and Tidyup which was broadcast in 1987.Wogan appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross four times, between 2004 and 2009 and during Top Gear, Wogan managed to become the second-slowest guest to go around the test track as the “Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car”, a Suzuki Liana.In 2010, Wogan made a cameo appearance in the second series of Being Human, and also guest-hosted Never Mind the Buzzcocks and hosted Wogan on Wodehouse for BBC Two. In 2013, Wogan appeared as a panellist on ITV game show Through the Keyhole and participated in a celebrity edition of the BBC One game show Pointless, with celebrities including Bobby Ball and Esther Rantzen, in aid of Children in Need. In 2014, Wogan appeared as a guest reporter on Bang Goes the Theory, on which he discussed old-age dementia. He also appeared on the Channel 4 game show Draw It! And guest hosted an episode of The One Show with Alex Jones.
During his long and distinguished career Wogan has received many honours. He was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1997 and elevated to an Honorary Knight Commander of the same order (KBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005. His knighthood was made substantive on 11 October 2005, allowing him to use the style “Sir and in 2007, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. In 2007, Wogan’s home City of Limerick honoured him with the Freedom of the City. In 2004, he received an Honorary D.Litt. degree from the University of Limerick as well as a special lifetime achievement award from his native city and also received an Honorary LL.D. degree from Leicester University in 2010. Wogan was also the subject of This Is Your Life in 1978.Wogan was inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame at a gala dinner held in his honour in 2009 and was announced as the Ultimate Icon of Radio 2, commemorating the station’s 40th birthday, alongside fellow nominees, The Beatles, Diana, Princess of Wales and Nelson Mandela and chose Stardust” by Nat King Cole as his iconic song of the last 40 years and Favourite song on Desert Island Discs.