50 Comments

United Kingdom: Sir Terry Wogan Passes Aged 77


TerryUnited Kingdom – Sir Terry Wogan, the British voice of Eurovision for many years has passed away aged 77. Born in Limerick, Ireland, Terry has worked on BBC Television for 50 years and he started commentating for the UK at the contest in 1971 before retiring from the job in 2008

Terry Wogan also worked on BBC’s Children in Need ever since the charity started in 1980 and is a household name all across the UK and of course, with Eurovision Fans.

Terry was known for his sarcastic and sometimes pessimistic comments during his Eurovision run including his ability of being able to predict who would give points to who. He quit the job in 2008 after “Even If” by Andy Abraham finished last in the Grand Final. The song had gone on to win the UK National Final that year after making the super-final after being handed the wildcard, given by Terry himself.

Sir Terry Wogan has died following a short battle with Cancer.

50 comments on “United Kingdom: Sir Terry Wogan Passes Aged 77

  1. He’ll always be connected to one of the best times in my life. When I studied in London, I watched ESC on BBC with Terry Wogan’s comment in 1992 and 1993. I still remember that already then it was perfectly obvious that he did neither understand nor endorse the changes in musical styles the influx of Eastern European countries entailed. Unfortnately, he never got it and even criticized every major set of points that went to a masterpiece like “Lane moje” in 2004. I recorded the 1993 contest, which became the first contest ever I knew by heart, and I still remember many of Terry Wogan’s comments: “Well … I don’t think they have a winner there.” (Germany) … “The backing singers have been dressed in the dark.” (Slovenia) … “That went very big in the hall. Lovely gentle little song.” (Norway). I will remember those and many more comments for all my life. Thank you, Terry Wogan.
    A controversial legend has passed away, but a legend without doubt.
    R. I. P.

  2. He was a man that you either loved or disliked, he could definately evoke some strong emotions to the viewers with his commentary. I never thought he was a good eurovision commentator personally but he undoubtedly left a mark.

    May he rest in peace.

  3. In a way today’s British Opinion on the contest has been mouldered from Terry’s Opinions on it… I feel anway

    • I agree. The problem is that he degraded everything that did not fit into the Anglo-American pop universe. The result is that many British perceive ESC as a novelty contest, even if countries send very strong entries by their regional music standards. :(

  4. I loved sir Terry not just in Eurovision but across a lot of his shows he was very funny with great humour a clean humour which is rare nowadays. Europeans don’t and never will understand British and Irish humour. He loved the Eurovision Song Contest, that’s why he did it every year and that’s where the criticism came from he didn’t mind eastern countries in it but felt it was damaging a contest he loved by distorting the voting so much.

    I feel I owe a large part of my knowledge of European geography and history thanks to him. He could call it instantly Bulgaria would give the 12 to Greece, Bosnia would give the 12 to Serbia etc. He had an eye for patterns and knew where the mood lay.

    Graham Norton sadly is not as funny nor as aware of Eurovision history (didn’t know who lordi was) nor knowledgable (he seems confused when someone awards 12 points even though geographically or culturally its obvious.

    But enough about Graham, a star has gone out today and I can’t help but feel the world is a slightly darker less funny place because of it.

    Rest in piece sir Terry and thank you for introducing me to a show I know love and making me and countless others continually laugh.

  5. I hated his commentary. What I even hated more that his commentary was considered part of the contest. Disregarding the fact that he was the commentator for only one country and that there were dozens of other commentators. As if his opinion was worth more then the opinion of others.

  6. Very sad to hear of Terry’s passing, may he rest in peace. Like many other Irish people I grew up watching the ESC on BBC, partly to avoid the dreary Irish commentators but mostly to hear Terry’s commentary. Yes he poked fun at the contest but he only said what most of us were thinking. I think the popularity of the contest in the UK and Ireland was in no small part due to his wit and humour.

    • Exactly people don’t seem to get that his commentary was actually a draw for people. The block voting turned a lot of people off. His funny and entertaining ways of pointing it out and holding them to account, was what kept a lot of people with it who might otherwise have left.

      He made such a firm and clear mark, you can see it even now by the way other commentators try to copy him, but they just don’t have the same talent or wit that he has.

      I was reading on the telegraph tributes from his friends and turns out he was actually something of a genius and that shows in his humour and understanding of the contest and voting patterns

  7. Another legend gone. RIP Sir Terry Wogan. Will always be in our hearts.

  8. What a January…
    R.I.P

  9. Have copied this from another user on wiwi bloggs but it’s so perfect I had to share it:

    Some words from Terry from shortly after he stopped doing commentary:

    “That’s what I’ve tried to bring to the Contest that I love : A spirit of joy, the
    sheer fun of it. Through the many years I’ve been accused of not taking the
    contest seriously enough, of sending it up, of jeering it, of not showing
    enough respect. Wrong. I’m a friend of this Contest, possibly it’s oldest
    friend.

    “How do friends behave to each other ? Do they flatter each other,
    like lovers? Are they sycophantic ? Do they constantly tell each other what
    they want to hear? Do real friends pretend ? Do they tell each other little
    white lies? No. Real friends tell each other the truth. They don’t indulge in idle flattery. They send each other up, they make fun of each other. If a friend does
    something silly, you tell him so, and you laugh at him, just as he would at
    you.

    “Friends may laugh at your expense, but never hurtfully. That’s the spirit in which this Contest should take place every year, the spirit in which I’ve been presenting it since 1971. It’s that spirit of unity and friendship among the nations of Europe that was behind the beginning of this great enterprise.

    “You must never, no matter how big this Contest may become in the future,
    never forget what it’s really about : Nations coming together in friendly,
    musical competition.”

  10. May he rest in peace!

  11. EBU’S tweet on Terry Wogan’s death:

  12. Sad news. :( May he R.I.P.

  13. I will say that I geuinely hated his comments and his approach to the contest. I’m one of those who has seen all of his “presentation” shows in the late 70s and then 80s and know pretty well how he viewed the contest. And I must say I don’t agee with the way he did see it, and sadly I think the main problem with the BBC’s current approach to the contest is based on public opinion which in turn has been set by sir Terry Wogan.

    However, for all his friends and families, my condolences. I don’t know if it’s a legend as Toggie said above, but it is indeed one of those esc figures whether we like it or not, like Lys Assia or Johnny Logan (and I realize as I say these names that I tend to hate all esc figures, not personally, but for what they stand for).

  14. I have deleted some inappropriate comments from this thread and cannot believe I have had to do so on such an article.

    Yet again may I remind people of the ET community rules. Continued personal attacks, sarcasm and being patronising to fellow contributors will result in you being put on moderation.

    – Respect Your Counterpart: The discussion should be founded on mutual respect. You can disagree, but never get personal! Disagree without being disagreeable.

    – Respect Your Fellow Participants: Read everything in the discussion thread before replying. This will help you avoid repeating something someone else has already contributed. Acknowledge the points made with which you agree and suggest alternatives for those with which you don’t. Be thoughtful and generous in your response to other people’s messages – try to consider what might be useful in what they are trying to say even if you disagree with it. Some would say this is the most important guideline of all!

    – No Flaming: Criticism must be constructive, well-meaning, and well articulated. Please, no tantrums. Rants directed at or about any of your classmates are simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The same goes for profanity! (Expressions that are frequent in oral English are exempted from this rule)

    There’s no need to reply to this post.

  15. Rest in peace :-(

    Some of my Eurovision DVD’s have Terry Wogan on them because the DVD’s issued by the Danish OGAE club often include both Danish and British commentary for some reason (1999, 2014 and 2015 also have Peter Urban’s comments on them).

    Clearly I did not really approve on Wogan’s attitude towards the songs which I often found rather patronizing. I think I prefer Graham Norton to him. He may be joking about the contest, but he is more nuanced, and clearly less cynical.

    In any case, I always watch the contest knowing that I don’t have to agree with everything that the commentator is saying, so I can’t get really pissed off.

  16. When it comes to the Danish commentators, my favourite is probably Nikolaj Molbech who commentated for DR between 2008 and 2010. He was very understated and subtle.

  17. It’s true I’ve never been much a fan of Terry Wogan in Eurovision. His comments about the song could often have that British dry wit I enjoy, so I don’t really mind him there, even if he way too often could sway away and start talking about things that didn’t have to do with the song at all.

    What I didn’t like was his comments during the voting. Always having to comment this and that vote whether it was good or not, and giggle when a song he didn’t like got a high score. And how much did he actually know about European geography in the end? Like when Moldova gave 12 points to Latvia in 2005 and he was like “yeah, just look at the map”. What the…, since when is Moldova and Latvia close to each other?!

    But with that said, I still appreciate things he has done with the contest. He is the one who has managed to somewhat keep the ESC spirit alive in Britain, and he clearly had a dear, yet somewhat odd relationship with the show.

    RIP.

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