"This man is loved in Great Britain and hated in greater continental Europe. When commenting on the Song Contest, Wogan will leave no stone unturned regarding the organizing country, the presenters and their outfits, the songs and the final results of the show. He considers it funny and so do the British, who have started to watch the Eurovision more and more every year because of his ironic remarks. Booze has its affect on Wogan, who becomes more and more intolerable as the show develops."
A press release by the Estonian Eurovision team in 2002
Terry Wogan was born on the 3rd April 1938 in Limerick, Ireland. His father was a grocery store manager and, according to Wogan, his mother was Ireland's Worst Cook.
Just before Wogan was born, his father, Michael, was transferred to manage the Leverett and Fry grocery store on O'Connell Street
"I was born the following year in Mother Cleary's nursing home near our own home in Elm Park. The Cleary's were our neighbours' and Mrs Cleary's mother was a nurse."
When Wogan was the correct age, his parents enrolled him in a Salesian school which he attended until he was around 8 years old when he transferred to a Jesuit school called Crescent College.
"Limerick was a good place to grow up in. I think it is better for children to grow up in a smaller environment. My children grew up in a bigger environment where it's harder to make friends and establish relationships. I loved growing up in Limerick."
Despite enjoying his life in Limerick, when he was 15, he moved house due to his father's job, this time to Dublin where he was to be general manager of the entire Leverett and Fry Irish chain of 20 stores.
"I was very sad as I had to leave behind all my friends at an important time in my life,"
Whilst there, Wogan took part in amateur dramatics group, exhibiting a talent for being in the public eye. As well as theatrics, Wogan spent much of his time on his bicycle, and by the time he had reached his teenage years he discovered rock and roll. This love of music led to his lack of interest in his school work and exams.
After Wogan left the Jesuit college, he found himself in the banking profession. However, an advertisement in the Irish Independant newspaper caught his eye. Radio Eireann was looking for announcers and five years later he joined the Irish telelvision and Radio service as a newsreader and announcer.
For two years with this company, he conducted interviews and presented documentaries, before deciding to move to light entertainment as a disc jockey. Along with this move came jobs as the host of variety shows and quizzes on television.
First came his regular show on BBC radio called Midday Spin, and when Radio 1 was concieved, he presented Late Night Extra. This show lasted for two years with Wogan flying over from Dublin every week to present it. It was so popular that it was broadcast on Radio 1 and Radio 2 simultaneously, and in 1969 he stood in for Jimmy Young. Later in the year Wogan was given his own daily weekday afternoon show on Radio 1 and Radio 2.
Having his finger on the pulse of the nation led to his popularity growing. When Dallas had their Who Shot JR? storyline, he led a campaign which reached the British public's obsessive streak at the peak of Dallas fever.
In April 1972, Wogan took over the morning show on Radio 2 from 7am to 9:30am. Presenting this show led to him recieving award for Radio Personality of the Year in 1974 and the Radio Award of the Radio Industries Club in 1974, 1976 and 1978.
In 1977, Wogan was given his own television show to host called Blankety Blank. He presented this low budget game show until 1983 when the presenter slot was given to Les Dawson who presented until he died. More recently, Lily Savage has taken up the show and led it to higher ratings.
Whilst presenting Blankety Blank, Wogan had to constantly keep the panel of celebrities in check to make sure that they weren't up to no good, which was a task in which he failed on numerous occassions. This all added to the atmosphere of the programme and made the show prime time family entertainment.
Wogan himself describes his time presenting Blankety Blank as,
"a watershed for me, the start of a decade of extraordinary success and acclaim"
The Floral Dance
Whilst still presenting Blankety Blank, Wogan released a song called The Floral Dance which was about a traditional dance held in Helston in Cornwall once a year. This song peaked at number 21 in the UK pop charts and has been a target for wise cracks ever since it was releases due to many factors including Wogan's singing, the subject matter and the quality of the record.
Despite all this, it was recut in 1995 and sold to benefit Children in Need, a charity telethon which Wogan has co-presented since 1979.
Eurovision Song Contest
In 1980, Wogan became the commentator on the BBC's Eurovision Song Contest. After a 30 year radio career, he was used to being a voice heard by the public, and made the job his own by adding witty additions to his commentary, which over the years have become more scathing of bad songs and costumes. During the 2001 contest hosted by Denmark, Wogan gave the Danish hosts who were introducing the songs the nicknames of Dr. Death and The Tooth Fairy. People from Denmark were outraged by the remarks, but the British viewers were highly amused, and many people give Wogan's annual commentary as one of the main reasons they watch the show.
"Like most right-minded people, I don't much like Terry Wogan. He's irritating as hell. But for one night a year, he becomes my hero."
Dooyoo opinion writer
On this occassion though, the BBC went so far as to contemplate giving an official apology to Denmark for Wogan's behaviour.
He also offended the Estonian Eurovision team before he had even made his commentary by labelling Wogan as a man who is influenced by alcohol throughout the show. Even after their abrasive comments, they did have to concede slightly by saying,
"I still believe that we should not take him so seriously, He is an unusual person and so let him be."
In 1982, Wogan was given his own television chat show on the BBC which aired three times a week attracting an average of 8 million viewers per show. This programme lasted seven years, until being bumped out of its prime time slot by the unsuccessful soap opera Eldorado.
Amongst it's high points were interviews with Dolly Parton, Mel Brooks and Cilla Black. However, Wogan describes Freddie Starr as The World's most frightening interviewee and hated his interview with David Bowie, saying with hindsight that he,
"would not speak, or at least not sensibly. He will never know how close he came to a slap on live television".
Wake Up To Wogan
In 1993, Terry joined Radio 2 again to present the breakfast show Wake Up To Wogan and in the next year he won the 1994 Sony Radio Award for Best Breakfast Show.
To be prepared for this show, Terry wakes up at 5:30am to be driven to the studio in time to start the 7am show. He does little preparatory work for the show, relying on his professionalism and wit to get his through the programme. He also refuses to do a post mortem when the show has finished.
"I don't have much trouble being cheerful early in the morning mainly because I have had a very easy and good life. I have very little to be depressed about"
Whilst presenting this show, Wogan has starred in many other programmes such as The National Lottery, Wogan's Island, and Auntie's Sporting Bloomers, and in 1997 he was awarded a Honarary OBE in the New Year Honours List.
Other programmes followed and in 2000, he starred in a advert for Co-op with his wife Helen to whom he has been married to for 35 years. With his wife, whom he affectionately calls Lady Helen and on occassions The Present Mrs Wogan, he has three children. Two sons, Alan and Mark, and a daughter, Katherine who visit home most weekends.
"I give Helen breakfast in bed on Saturday and she gives me breakfast in bed on Sunday. Generally I don't get up on Sunday until about half past one. We are just Darby and Joan. Sometimes we might go out for lunch on Sunday, but we usually stay at home as Helen is a wonderful cook."
Daughter Katherine is an actress who has worked on Grafters, Aristocrats and Dalziel and Pascoe.
Wogan lives in Bray, between Windsor and Ascot, in a home set in large grounds.
"We have lived there for a long time. It is about 28 miles out from central London and I'm surrounded by green fields."
As regards work, Wogan doesn't see his contract at Radio 2 to last much longer.
"I probably will not continue beyond the extent of my next contract because that is the restrictive element in my life. And I think anyway the laws of diminishing returns will set in. You can't continue rising for ever. Since I came back to Radio 2 it has grown and grown to become the biggest radio station in Britain with the most listeners, and my morning show has the biggest listenership with about six million. It is very successful, but nothing ever keeps rising on a never ending curve. The last figures show that I have added a further quarter of a million listeners. But at six million your are as probably as close to a ceiling as you will achieve. So I feel there is another two years at Radio 2 provided that I am well, healthy and enjoying it, "
Television and film credits through 2002
On researching this write-up I found rumours that Terry Wogan was entered into the 1975 Miss World contest as Miss Venezuela and didn't come last. Unfortunately I couldn't find actual evidence of this.