Sunday, 31 January 2016

Terry Wogan.

Terry Wogan passing today has brought up a lot of childhood memories.  On BBC Radio 2, he used to have the early morning slot.  When going to school, my brother and I used to have to make a bus for ten to eight and the family radio was never retuned from Radio 2, well until my teenage years at least.  So it was always our mother sending us out with Terry babbling away in the background.  He had a good sense of often zany humour and his presence on the airways seemed both rousing and reassuring.  In those years Wogan was, well, cheerful.  The three DJs that made up the running order in those days were Terry Wogan, Pete Murray and Jimmy Young.

Pete Murray moved on to other things and Wogan was promoted up the running order.  His banters with Jimmy Young were three minutes of nonsense that was always a pleasure to hear, sharpened was it was by mock-rivalry and thinly-veiled rudeness.  As I recall, his early slot became occupied by a fresh-faced young Celt by the name of Ken Bruce.

Terry then switched to television, first of all with Blankety-Blank and then his own peak-slot chat show.  I did miss him from the radio but television is where the big bucks are.  Looking back, Blankety-Blank was very much of it's time.  Even then it got some rough handling from the comics.  Jasper Carrott for instance doing a joke about the male prisoner, without female company for six months...

Perhaps I grew up, for when Wogan returned to the radio it wasn't the same.  I used to enjoy his sour Eurovision commentaries but eventually just got sick of his xenophobia.  Once the family moved to Ireland, we quickly realised that Wogan wasn't too popular there.  His real name was Michael Wogan: apparently the change to Terry was to make him more palatable to Protestant audiences.  At least that is what was said.  One Irish friend this morning referred to his homophobia.  That bit passed me by but, given his age and background, would not surprise me.

So yes, I am sad today.  Condolences to his family and as for me, another piece of childhood has died.  Terry Wogan was, in his day, a great entertainer.

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