Sir Terry Wogan: A life in TV moments
This weekend we learnt the devastating news that Sir Terry Wogan had died after battling cancer. A veteran broadcaster, Wogan was a beloved character on our screens and our radios and his soothing Irish lilt will be sorely missed.
His geniality and gentle humour have made him a national treasure in both Britain and Ireland; he oozes warmth and kindness in every appearance and presenters flocked to work with him. With a showbiz career spanning over 50 years, we decided to celebrate Sir Terry’s life in his glorious and heartwarming TV moments.
Wogan was born in Limerick in 1938, got his first job on RTÉ radio whilst in his twenties and was one of the first faces on Irish television in the early 1960s. He eventually crossed over to the BBC in the late 60s, and by 1972 he was the breakfast host on Radio 2.
His sarcasm and dad-like humour have always been celebrated and parodied – never more so than by Terry himself. This was proven in 1978 when he released a vocal version of “The Floral Dance”, a favourite of his radio fans as he often sang over the instrumental version when on air.
Terry left radio in 1984 to pursue a television career full-time after finding success hosting Blankety Blank. Here he is sparring with Kenny Everett and, once again, laughing at himself – a quality that ensured we always wanted him on our television screens.
Sir Terry will be remembered by millions as the face of Children in Need. The telethon officially started in 1980 and was presented by Terry alongside Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen. The first telethon raised £1 million and it has gone on to raise over £700 million over the 35 years it has been broadcast. Of those 35 programmes, Sir Terry has hosted 34 – he had to pull out of the 2015 broadcast due to ill health.
Wogan was never afraid to make a fool of himself on these shows, getting stuck in with whatever was required to entertain.
Sir Terry really came into his own when he was invited to provide the television commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest. Having started out commentating on the Europe-wide singing competition on the radio, Wogan rightly graduated to the television. His witty and sarcastic quips became the sole reason for British viewers to tune into the frankly painful television event.
Between 1982-92 Terry’s hosting skills were tested. His chat show, Wogan first aired on Saturday nights before being upgraded to a thrice-weekly slot. Some of the show’s interviews are now infamous in television history, fortunately more due to the bizarre habits of his guests than Terry’s interviewing skills. Below are some highlights of the show, including George Best drunkenly stumbling through his interview and David Icke claiming he was the son of God. Really.
Sir Terry is also dearly loved for his guest appearances on a variety of panel shows and game shows. He notoriously managed to get the second slowest lap on Top Gear’s “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment.
His boyish sense of humour permeated into everything he did and could make anyone and everyone chuckle.
If you’ve got a spare half hour, watch the man at his best, hosting Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2010.
Sir Terry Wogan leaves behind him a wife and three children, along with a legacy of outstanding television moments that will continue to entertain generations to come. May he rest in peace.