goodbye, sir terry

The death of another national treasure, the broadcaster Terry Wogan, had us looking into The Star files for Retro to see how we'd covered him over the years.

Saturday, 6th February 2016, 1:28 pm
Terry Wogan - 12th August 1980 Wogan Week in the Star August 1980

It was quite a surprise to discover that The Star had actually run a Wogan Week in praise of the avuncular Irishman!

Wogan Week ran in The Star in mid-August 1980. At the time Terry was the hugely popular host of the Radio 2 morning show, boasting more than eight million listeners, and presenter of quiz show Blankety Blank.

Wogan Week in the Star - August 1980 Terry Wogan

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He was also commentator on the Eurovision Song Contest and presented Come Dancing.

The week kicked off with an in-depth interview with Star feature writer Val Marriott.

He said: “With everyone I meet, or talk to over the radio or from the television screen, I have to make immediate contact.

“It’s all done with the voice, me darlin’.”

Wogan Week in the Star - August 1980 Terry Wogan

Terry, then aged 42, told Val that his mum thought he’d become famous more through luck than talent.

He said he’d come up through the school of hard knocks as a broadcaster in Ireland, where the listeners weren’t afraid to tear him to shreds in person if they didn’t like what they heard.

Describing himself as an “introverted egotist”, he said he was far more comfortable on radio than TV.

Terry added: “I accept that out of every 100 people who listen to me, at least 40 are going to detest me even before I open my mouth.

“I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it.

“I’m afraid of people en masse, I have to get to know them as individuals.

“I can’t tell jokes and I don’t much like them anyway.

“I prefer understating things to knocking them over the head.”

Later in the week, Star writers gave their views for and against.

Columnist Pat Ledger confessed: “Why am I so enslaved by Wogan?

“Why am I, and so many other decent, honest, normally sensible women putty in those podgy Irish mitts?

“Who knows? The answer is as elusive as fish and chips taste better out of the paper”.

Ron Thompson countered with: “Not everyone loves Terry Wogan. I don’t for a start.

“It’s that hearty morning greeting that he bellows into my ear which ruins my day.

“You know, that ‘top of the morning and were you dancing with the pixies last night?’ chat with which he shatters one’s slumber.”

He moaned: “The man seems irrepressible.”

Readers eagerly wrote in to say why they loved Terry Wogan and received a copy of his book Banjaxed as prizes.

They may have had a lucky escape as the plan was originally to give out copies of his hit record of The Floral Dance but unfortunately copies couldn’t be purchased.

At the end of the week, Terry sent a message to The Star and its readers to say: “Thanks a million for Wogan Week – there should be more of them!”

He asked: “What brought this on, what brought this rush of blood to Sheffield’s corporate head?”

What indeed? We’ve no idea 36 years on.

He said he’d even enjoyed the criticism and claimed to have been paying off lots of fans in Sheffield to write in with their praise of him.

He vowed to visit the city to say thanks but it doesn’t look like he actually made it.