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TV Pop Diaries
Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

Irishman Terry Wogan had effortlessly proved himself to be Britain's favourite DJ with his weekday afternoon show for BBC Radio 2 from 1969 to 1972. His chatty, non-patronising style, along with popular daily features Fight The Flab, Wogan's Winners and radio soap Waggoner's Walk it was the perfect package, going far beyond the usual "that was...this is" fare from some of the older DJs on the station at the time but it was his two stints as the breakfast show host that he found himself at home, and it would be his radio work most people would prefer to remember him by.

Although he had given TV a go back in Ireland in the mid sixties it would take several years for TV scouts to give him airtime in the UK. After hosting the Eurovision Song Contest from Dublin in 1971 he would be given the job as the BBCs regular TV host for the show several years later, becoming not just the voice of the UK, but internationally, with viewers from many other countries preferring Wogan's take on the event rather than the prescribed version supplied by their home country.

His first regular hosting job would be Lunchtime with Wogan broadcast by ATV in October 1972, a rival to the BBC's Pebble Mill at One, it ran for ten months and included singers Carl Wayne and Penny Lane as regulars. After taking over Peter West's job at Come Dancing he would also host the Sunday afternoon pop quiz Disco for the BBC in 1975, while a couple of live appearances on Top Of The Pops to plug his hit vocal version of the Floral Dance reminded BBC producers of what TV was missing.

The BBC had bought the rights to an American game show show format Match Game, re-named it Blankety Blank and hired Wogan to host the show from January 1979 until the end of 1983. He expressed not only an acerbic take on the game show format, but encouraged his guests to show the same disdain. The years hosting breakfast show on Radio 2 and his TV duties on Blankety Blank would be Wogan's golden era.

After hosting editions of BBC2’s Friday Night Saturday Morning in 1980 he was given his own chat show, broadcast early Saturday evening. What's On Wogan was a mis-step, but a fun one. He showed he wasn't accepting the incessant plugging nonsense of most chat shows, persuading the guests to go along with his version of events.

He was given a late Saturday evening chat show on BBC1 in January 1983, attracting many big names from pop along the way and was seen as a test run for a more frequent, permanent gig. He quit his Radio 2 breakfast show in late 1984 and prepared for his next move.

Broadcast live from the BBC's Shepherd's Bush Theatre every Monday, Wednesday and Friday Wogan was a half hour chat show, following a familiar format of a couple of chat guests plugging a film or book and a pop act miming to their new single. It would attract the biggest names from the off including Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Phil Collins, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner among others. Wogan was occasionally ruthless when it came to the interviews allowing guests to make fools of themselves if they chose not to play nice as was the case with Chevvy Chase, David Icke and Anne Bancroft. Or even sympathetic in the case of George Best's famously drunken appearance.

Bizarre Euro soap Eldorado would replace of the show in 1992, but wouldn't last long. Terry would return to Saturday nights with a new version of the show Terry Wogan's Friday Night, but that also wouldn't last.

He would continue hosting the annual Children In Need telethon each November and the Eurovision Song Contest each Spring until his health problems interrupted.



18th February 1985 -  18th December 1991