I am one of the millions brought up with Terry Wogan’s morning programme, Wake Up to Wogan, on BBC Radio 2 while eating breakfast preparing for school. I didn’t particularly enjoy school as it was a place of conforming, which I’ve never done (or wished to do) very well. Neither did Terry Wogan. I realise now what I liked about him was that he was his own man – not a rebel – but someone comfortable in his own skin and who valued the company and friendship of others. I went to school feeling a little stronger in myself after I listened to him.
Thinking of him now and his dearly missed presence, he taught us how to laugh at ourselves – to value what needed valuing – those who love us and whom we love. His taste in music reflects this too. He introduced me to the likes of Eva Cassidy, Katie Melua, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Bonnie Raitt, as well as appreciating the established greats like Frank Sinatra and Irish band The Fureys. All of these sing about the important things in life.
In the many tributes following his death he’s been described as everybody’s friend – in a world where warmth and the longevity of friendship and understanding is hard to find, he was a constant, even though he didn’t know you personally. He has also been described as kind to all – another quality which seems in short supply in the world today.
His sense of humour was unbeatable, combined with wisdom. The fact is he was a one-off, from his many conversations on chat-shows on the TV and interaction of pure silliness with the likes of actress Caroline Quentin on his Sunday morning show, Weekend Wogan, on radio 2 (when he stopped doing his daily one in the week). His banter on the Eurovision Song Contest, Proms in the Park, Children in Need and his brilliant narration of the hilarious cartoon Stoppit and Tidyup will all be remembered. He wasn’t just another presenter – he was able to be and ‘present’ himself and you got the feeling that the charm and care he radiated to viewers and listeners, was the same that he radiated to everyone whoever they were.
He is missed.