Terry Wogan

Michael Terrence (Terry) Wogan, KBE, (born August 3 1938) is a popular radio and television broadcaster on the BBC in the United Kingdom. He was born in Limerick, Ireland and educated by the Salesians and the Jesuits at Crescent College. He is married and has three children.

Because his listeners are often middle-aged or elderly, he jokingly refers to them as "TOGs" (Terry's Old Geezers), and he has become known as "The Togmeister".



Early radio presenting

After completing his education he went to work in a bank for five years, before he joined Radio Telifís Éireann as a newsreader/announcer. For two years he did interviews and presenting documentary features before moving to the Light Entertainment department as a disc jockey and host of TV quiz and variety shows. He first worked for BBC Radio presenting Midday Spin in the mid-1960s and, on the inauguration of BBC Radio 1 he presented Late Night Extra for two years, commuting weekly from Dublin to London. Eventually he was offered a regular afternoon slot (3 p.m - 5 p.m.) - officially on Radio 1, but in actual fact - due to lack of funding - broadcast over both Radio 1 and Radio 2. In April 1972 he took over the breakfast show on Radio 2, effectively swapping places with John Dunn, who hosted the afternoon show briefly - by then Radio 1 and Radio 2 had diverged sufficiently to allow separate programming on each network. During Wogan's time on the breakfast show, he had achieved audiences of up to 7.6 million. Also during this period he released his own version of "The Floral Dance", by popular request from listeners who enjoyed hearing him singing over the instrumental hit by The Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band. In 1985 Wogan left his breakfast show to pursue a full-time career in television. During this time, he was replaced on radio – initially, but briefly by Ken Bruce, followed by Brian Hayes and finally Derek Jameson.

Moving to television

Wogan is particularly famed for his sardonic commentaries on the Eurovision Song Contest which he has done annually since 1980, although he occasionally did it in the 1970s. Also in 1980 he began presenting the BBC's Children in Need telethon and continues to front the yearly event.

In 1981 he had a chance to host a one-off chat show – Saturday Live. Among his guest on this show were Larry Hagman – then promoting his new film S.O.B. - and Frank Hall - who was then the Irish Film Censor. During the course of which Hall accused Wogan of selling out his Irishness - and responding to a question posed by Wogan about his suitablility as a film censor - said there was more filth on British Television than in film, citing the BBC TV serial The Borgias as an example.

Between 1985 and 1992 he hosted the Wogan television chat show thrice-weekly. Highlights of the show included interviews with a drunk George Best; 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); David Icke claiming to be the "son of the Godhead"; and Vivienne Westwood scolding the audience for laughing at her latest collection (although Sue Lawley was guest hosting the show on this last occasion).

Other television programmes he has presented:

Return to radio

By 1992, something of a backlash began against the seemingly omni-present Wogan. This was highlighted when a poll apparently revealed him to be simultaneously the most and the least popular person in Britain. He was released from his talk-show contract after much pushing by the BBC, and was mocked for some time after this. He returned to Radio 2 to take back the breakfast show, by then presented by Derek Jameson. As a result Jameson was moved to a late night show, which he co-hosted with his wife.

In recent years Wogan's fortunes have improved. His BBC Radio 2 breakfast show is now the most popular on British radio. His tendency to go off on rambling, esoteric tangents seems to have become popular with younger listeners (however ironically) as well as the older fans.

In 2005 it was reported his Breakfast Show ("Wake Up To Wogan") attracted an audience of eight million. After he was knighted the same year (see below) the UK newspaper, The Daily Mirror, ran a front page reading "It's Sir Del and It's Sir Tel", this was in reference to Wogan (who's nickname is "Tel") and actor David Jason who's most famous for playing Derek "Del" Trotter in the classic sitcom, Only Fools And Horses.


In the Queen's Birthday Honours list of 2005, Wogan was made an honorary Knight of the Order of the British Empire. He may use the post-nominal letters KBE, but is not entitled to use the title "Sir Terry" unless he assumes British citizenship. He had previously (1997) been made an honorary Officer of the order (OBE), which is now subsumed in the knighthood.

In 2004 Wogan received an honorary doctorate from the University of Limerick.


Wogan received a mention in the song "The Dark of the Matinée" by Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand. ("So I'm on BBC2 now telling Terry Wogan how I made it and / What I made is unclear now, but his deference is and his laughter is / My words and smile are so easy now"...) He was also the subject of a 1989 single by A Tribe of Toffs, "Terry Wogan's On T.V. (Again!)".

External links

BBC webpage on Terry Wogan (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/wogan/) TOG webpage (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/wogan/togs.shtml) TOGs' website (http://www.togs.org/)


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