'Everybody Loved Terry': 50 Years At The BBC
Sir Terry Wogan was one of the UK’s most well-loved broadcasters, known for his dry wit, self-deprecation and charm.
The 77-year-old star has been described as a “giant” of his profession who over his career “re-invented himself constantly while retaining the same persona”.
He was perhaps best-known for his Radio 2 programme, being the face of Children In Need, the voice of the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as his TV chat show which ran in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The star was a “genuinely good man” and “everybody loved Terry” but he was not arrogant despite his gifts, said fellow broadcaster Paul Gambaccini.
His Radio 2 breakfast show, with his velvet voice and his wry, rambling thoughts on life, achieved the UK’s biggest and most loyal audience.
Sir Terry, on hearing his audience in 2005 had passed the eight million mark, said: “Hang on: there’s 60 million people in the country – what are the other 52 million listening to?”.
He also once said: “Go out and face the world secure in the knowledge that everybody else thinks they are better looking than they are as well” and also said: “My opinion has the weight of a ton of feathers.”
Sir Terry, whose weekday Radio 2 breakfast show ended in 2009, was no less popular on television and had hosted a hugely successful chat show from 1982-1992.
And he was famous, too, for his ironic and sometimes blistering – but always amusing – commentary on Eurovision, a role he gave up in 2008.
He used the nicknames “Doctor Death and the Tooth Fairy” for the competition’s Danish presenters in 2001, which sparked controversy.
Sir Terry was born in Limerick and first headed into the world of banking after leaving college in 1956 but, after answering an advertisement, joined RTE where he worked as a newsreader and announcer.
He moved on to become a DJ and hosted quiz and variety shows.
Moving to the BBC in the mid-1960s he hosted a programme called Midday Spin and when the Corporation reorganised its output, he began working on the new Late Night Extra slot on Radio 1, for which he commuted from Dublin.
He proved himself during a stint as holiday cover for Sir Jimmy Young, and was rewarded with his own afternoon show, which was broadcast simultaneously on Radios 1 and 2 in those days.
Then from April 1972, he was given the Radio 2 morning show.
His work on television also flourished.
Sir Terry hosted the long-running humorous panel show Blankety Blank, complete with his famous ‘wand’ microphone. He also appeared as a guest on shows such as Celebrity Squares and New Faces.