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His weekday breakfast programme on Radio 2 and reached 8 million listeners. And quite certainly some of the many millions who watched the Eurovision Song Contest, which he covered on radio and then TV from the early s to , did so more for his facetious commentaries than for the music. Wogan began his broadcasting career in his native Ireland, but secured his status as a British audience-magnet with his eponymous television chat show, which ran for up to three times a week for a decade from All his shows, from playing music to radio listeners at breakfast time to television in the evening, were exploitations of a personality that managed to be reassuring and yet also sharp-witted.
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With Wogan there was banter, but it was not always bland. And he was no pushover to those in power. I can walk out.
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At the age of five he went to Ferrybank prep school, which was run by nuns, but after 10 minutes walked home, and soon decided he was an atheist. As a child Terry tended to withdraw from any group after a certain time, and admitted to being rather the same as an adult. During the various runs of the Wogan television chat show he later declared that, for him, the high point of the evening was dinner at home with his wife, Helen nee Joyce.
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Though he had vaguely wanted to be a journalist, his first jobs were with branches of the Royal Bank of Ireland. After four years with the bank, he saw an advertisement in the Irish Independent: the radio service wanted announcer-newsreaders. He especially relished a turn of duty that came round every four or five weeks.
This was hospital requests, through which he discovered that ad-libbing from postcards and letters in between records was something he could do easily. This ease became his trademark.
Sir Terry Wogan obituary
He began to form the view that, unlike radio, where listeners got to know and cherish their favourite personalities, television was instant fame that was instantly forgotten the moment a face disappeared. However, the television quiz show Jackpot, which he chaired, topped the ratings. He then took over from Peter West for seven seasons of Come Dancing. Surprisingly it reached No 21 in the charts. By then he was mediating between the corporation and its deeply involved and demanding audience on Points of View