Terry Wogan 1936 – 2016
Terry Wogan established himself as a national treasure in the hearts of millions of people who reguarly awoke to his Radio 2 breakfast show. When his death was announced on 31st January, 2016 there was a huge outpouring of grief from both fans and colleagues.
It will be for his hugely popular Radio 2 breakfast show that he will probably be best remembered. His obcession with Dallas was credited with contributing to the TV show’s popularity, his quips about the poison dwarf, the constant wind around the Ewing patio at breakfast were hugely popular with listeners. By the late 1970’s he turned his attention to road cones. Long before the government’s ‘Cone Hotline’ Terry Wogan had his audiences reporting sightings of cones everywhere from roads to lighthouses.
Terry Wogan was not a singer or a dancer or a comedian. However he kept a nation laughing for over 40 years, aided and abetted by host of regular listners, making light of everyday life. An entertainer who will long be remembered.
Born in Limerick, Ireland on 3rd August, 1938. Michael Terence Wogan the son of the manager of Leverett & Fry (a high class grocery store in Limerick).
A young Terrence Wogan had a strongly religious upbringing, he later commented “There were hundreds of churches, all these missions breathing fire and brimstone, telling you how easy it was to sin, how you’d be in hell. We were brainwashed into believing.” Despite this, he often expressed his fondness for the city of his birth, commenting on one occasion that “Limerick never left me, whatever it is, my identity is Limerick.”
Aged 15, his father received a promotion to general manager and the Wogan family moved to Dublin. Whilst living in Dublin the 15 year old Wogan continued his education at Crescent College’s sister school, Belvedere College. He participated in amateur dramatics and discovered a love of rock and roll. He left Belvedere in 1956, persuing a brief career in the banking, joining the Royal Bank of Ireland. In 1965 he married Helen Joyce, together they had 4 children and stayed together until his death. 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. It was the start of a long career that would span over 40 years.
In November, 2015, siting a bad back Terry Wogan pulled out of presenting Children In Need, making a short voiceover and a small appearance. The same reason was given for absence from his scheduled return to his Weekend Wogan radio show. On 31st January 2016 his death from cancer was announced.
Early Years and Radio
Terry Wogan began his broadcasting career at RTE, where for the first two years he conducted interviews and presented documentary features. It was not long before rthe genial host moved 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.
In 1967 RTE dropped ‘Jackpot’ prompting Wogan to approach the BBC for extra work. Upon receiving an application for a presenting role David Attenborough rebuffed Wogan’s application he felt “to have two Irishmen presenting on BBC Two would have looked ridiculous”.
He began working for BBC Radio, initially ‘down the line’ from Dublin, his first broadcast for the BBC was on the Light Programme on 27 September 1966. Next it was off to Radio 1. Here he presented the Tuesday edition of Late Night Extra for two years between 1967 and 1969, In order to present the show Wogan commuted weekly from Dublin to London. In July 1969, after standing-in for Jimmy Young, presenting Jimmy’s mid-morning show, Wogan was offered a weekday afternoon slot between 3pm and 5pm.
It was in April 1972 that Terry Wogan began to host the show he would become most famous for the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, swapping places with fellow presenter John Dunn, who briefly hosted the afternoon show. Wogan achieved record audiences of up to 7.9 million. In 1974 Terry had a chat show on Radio 4 Wogan’s World, was broadcast from 6 June 1974 to 21 September 1975.
At the peak of his powers he released his famous vocal version of The Floral Dance reaching number 21 in the UK singles chart. He left radio in 1984 to concentrate on TV work. However he returned to The Radio 2 Breakfast Show in 1993, now entitled Wake Up To Wogan it ran until Terry’s semi retirement in 2009.
Following Wake Up To Wogan Terry presented Weekend Wogan, a regular series of mid-morning Sunday shows.
Perhaps best remembered as BBC 1’s Eurovision commentator and as the host of the BBC’s annual fundraiser ‘Children In Need’, Terry also prsented Blankety Blank from 1979 – 1983. His ‘Wogan’ chat show ran from 1982 until 1992. There was Wogan’s Web in 1998. Wogan’s Perfect Recall in 2008 and the Terry and Gaby Show in 2003.