Terry Wogan Biography

(Radio and Television Broadcaster Known for His Radio Show ‘Wake Up to Wogan’ and Game Show ‘Blankety Blank’)

Birthday: August 3, 1938 (Leo)

Born In: Limerick, Ireland

Sir Michael Terence Wogan or Terry Wogan was an Irish radio and television broadcaster who was one of the most loved and popular media personalities in Britain for several decades. He was considered a national treasure. He began his broadcasting career with RTE, the Irish national broadcaster but worked most his life for the BBC. His most popular radio shows include Wake Up to Wogan and Weekend Wogan. The television shows that boosted his fame include Blankety Blank and Come Dancing as well as a chat show Wogan. He also covered Eurovision Song Contest for BBC Radio and became the television voice for the contest for around three decades. He was the main presenter of Children In Need show for around thirty four years too. During his career, he was believed to attract the maximum numbers of radio listeners in Europe. He was awarded knighthood in the year 2005 and was later inducted into Radio Academy Hall of Fame. His television and radio career aside, he was also the author of numerous fiction, non-fiction and travel books. He also wrote two memoirs.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In August

Also Known As: Sir Michael Terence Wogan

Died At Age: 77


Spouse/Ex-: Helen Joyce (m. 1965)

father: Michael Wogan

mother: Rose Wogan

children: Alan Wogan, Katherine Wogan, Mark Wogan, Vanessa Wogan

Born Country: Ireland

TV Presenters Radio Personalities

Died on: January 31, 2016

place of death: Taplow, Buckinghamshire, England

Cause of Death: Cancer

City: Limerick, Ireland

More Facts

awards: Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Childhood & Early Life

Terry Wogan was born as Michael Terence Wogan on 3 August 1938 in Limerick, Ireland, to Michael and Rose Wogan. He had a younger brother Brian.

At the age of eight, he attended Crescent College, a Jesuit school in Limerick. Later, when his father, who was a manager at an upmarket grocery store, Leverett & Frye, in Limerick, got promoted to the post of general manager, the family moved to Dublin. He was 15 then.

There, he joined Belvedere College and took part in amateur dramatics and developed a liking for rock and roll.

Growing up, his family did not have a television, but they did have a radio and he enjoyed listening to BBC Radio Light Programmes and comedy shows.

Continue Reading Below

After Terry Wogan left Belvedere College in 1956, he picked up his first job at the Royal Bank of Ireland and spent the next four years working there.

He then came across and responded to an advertisement in the Irish Independent about the requirement of announcers/newsreaders on national Radio Station RTE, Radio Telefis Eireann. He was selected from a group of 10,000 aspirants.

When RTE launched its television service in 1961, he became one of its host and hosted a quiz show, Jackpot, that topped the rating charts. The show was dropped in 1967.

In mid 1960s, he sent a tape of his radio work to BBC Light Programme and was offered a show Midday Spin.

Later, in 1967, with the launch of BBC Radio 1, Terry Wogan began presenting Tuesday edition of Late Night Extra. He continued with the show for two years.

In 1969, he was offered his own weekday afternoon show after he filled in for Jimmy Young in latter’s mid-morning show. The new show was simultaneously broadcast on Radio 1 and Radio 2.

He became quite popular and in 1972 took over the hosting duties of the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 which further boosted his fame. The show ran up till 1984 before he left to focus on his television work full time.

In 1971, he covered for BBC Radio the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time and then repeated it from 1974 to 1977.

In 1973, he provided television commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time and then repeated it in 1978. From 1980 onwards, he became a regular television commentator for the contest and continued with it every year till 2008. In 1998, he even co-hosted the show.

Continue Reading Below

Additionally, he hosted the UK selection show (1977-1996, 1998, 2003-2008) and presented UK Eurovision Song Contest Previews (1973, 1975, 1977-1984, 1994) too. However, before this, he had already made his British television debut presenting shows like Miss United Kingdom and launching his own chat show Lunchtime with Wogan (both in 1972) on ITV.

In 1973, Terry Wogan was assigned the hosting responsibilities of a British ballroom dancing competition show Come Dancing. He presented seven seasons of the show till 1979.

In 1974-1975, he presented his first radio chat show, Wogan's World, on BBC Radio4.

In 1978, on public demand, he released his version of The Floral Dance, a song by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. The song was a hit and climbed up to the 21st spot in the UK Singles Chart.

In 1979, Terry Wogan began hosting the celebrity quiz show Blankety Blank. The show ran till 1984 and further elevated his television career. His easy going and fun interaction with the contestants and celebrity guests made the show tremendously successful.

In 1980, he presented one series of the evening celebrity talk show What's On, Wogan? for BBC 1. The same year, along with Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen, he became the main presenter of BBC’s UK charity, Children In Need show. He got immensely involved in the show and helped raised a huge amount of money for the benefit of disadvantaged children and youth. He continued presenting the annual live telethon till 2014 when due to his health, he bowed out.

In 1982, his Saturday night TV chat show – Wogan – on BBC1 began and continued for two years. It was later revived as thrice a week early evening show in 1985 and was broadcasted till 1992.

After this, he hosted more television shows including Auntie's Bloomers (1991–2001), Points of View (1999–2008), The Terry and Gaby Show (2003–2004), Wogan Now and Then (2006) and Wogan's Perfect Recall (2008–2010).

In 1993, he made a comeback on BBC Radio 2 with a weekday breakfast show, Wake Up To Wogan which continued till 2009.

Continue Reading Below

A popular segment of the show was his parody version of the Janet and John Stories which were full of humour and naughty innuendo. The series popularity led to the release of six CDs and two books, the proceeds of which were donated to Children in Need.

In 2008 and 2009, along with singer Aled Jones, he released two Christmas singles – Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth and Silver Bells – the earnings from which were donated to Children in Need.

Beginning 2010, he began hosting the Sunday Morning show, Weekend Wogan, for Radio 2 and continued with it till 2015, when he left due health reasons.

His last television work was a documentary series Terry and Mason's Great Food Trip which aired on 2015.

He authored numerous books in his career. These include non-fictions Banjaxed (1979), Wogan on Wogan (1987), Wogan's Twelve (2007); fiction, Those Were the Days (2015); travel books, Irish Days (1991) and Wogan's Ireland (2012) as well as memoirs Is It Me? (2000) and Mustn't Grumble (2006).

Awards & Achievements

In 1997, he was named Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

In 2005, he was appointed Honorary Knight Commander of OBE after he successfully acquired British citizenship along with retaining Irish citizenship.

Few years later, in 2009, he was inducted into Radio Academy Hall of Fame.

Family & Personal Life

Terry Wogan married Helen Joyce in 1965 and the couple had four children. One of their children, daughter Vanessa died of heart condition when she was only three weeks old.

He died of cancer on 31 January 2016, at the age of 77. at his home in Taplow, Buckinghamshire.

See the events in life of Terry Wogan in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Terry Wogan Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com

People Also Viewed

Graham Norton Biography
Graham Norton
Conor Woodman Biography
Conor Woodman
Keith Duffy Biography
Keith Duffy
Sue Perkins Biography
Sue Perkins
Uri Geller Biography
Uri Geller
Sandi Toksvig Biography
Sandi Toksvig
Holly Willoughby Biography
Holly Willoughby
Trevor Noah Biography
Trevor Noah
(South African)