With a good deal of sadness, I reflect here on the death that has just been announced of Terry Wogan. According to Wikipedia: “Sir Michael Terence Wogan, KBE, DL, 3 August 1938 – 31 January 2016) was an Irish radio and television broadcaster who worked for the BBC in Great Britain for most of his career. Before he retired from his BBC Radio 2 weekday breakfast programme Wake Up to Wogan in 2009, it had eight million regular listeners, making him the most listened-to radio broadcaster in Europe”.
If I am honest, I was not a special fan of Terry Wogan. While I recognise he was a phenomenal talent, I found him a bit too smooth for my liking. I hardly ever listened to his radio show, for which he was rightly famed and I was not particularly interested in what are now considered iconic regular events, such as “Children in Need” and the “Eurovision Song Contest”, which he so ably presented. But over the years, ever since my early twenties, Terry Wogan had cropped up from time to time and his was a familiar figure e.g. in his chat shows and special events which he hosted with great mastery.
It occurs to me that the Irish, while the butt of many jokes, often give to the world some incredible talents, in this case in the area of broadcasting. Eamonn Andrews, Eamonn Holmes and Des Lynam come readily to mind, to which we can justifiably add the name of Terry Wogan. While he may not be everyone’s cup of tea (and thus my reticence in posting), he was admired by many and gave considerable pleasure and enlightenment to millions by his cool, suave, informed, professional manner, with his unique brand of wit and humour that meant that once you knew he was involved in some or other broadcast it would usually be worth tuning into. While no doubt he had an ego, I sensed little pomposity and pretension. The things I did sense, when I did get to follow one of his broadcasts, was his calm assurance, his air of bonhomie and his ability to provide a proper perspective. His death leaves an aching void.
It often struck me that Terry Wogan was a decent human being, with a good deal of authenticity, courtesy and the common touch, who was committed to doing his job well but also to his life outside of work (which he made as private as he possibly could), being devoted to his family. I felt a tinge of sadness that after a strict religious upbringing he rejected this early on, making me realize that people can do good deeds without religion but also followers of religion should pay special attention not to be a stumbling block for people having a belief. I have no doubt that when all the tributes have come in, we will see there will be many and most of them will exalt Terry Wogan’s work, talent and contributions. I have merely added my own here, concerning someone who truly was a legend and a national treasure, who has left behind a worthwhile legacy.