Secrets of the Body Clock with Terry Wogan, BBC1 - TV review: guide to the body clock shows it's still a treat to wake up to Wogan


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The Independent Culture

Are you a "lark", who rises every morning, comfortably at the crack of dawn? Or an "owl", who goes strong until the early hours, then fails to emerge until midday? Either way, you'll have found companionship last night from "semi-lark" Terry Wogan, whose familiar voice guided us through this lightweight look at the science behind our circadian rhythms.

The rhythms of the human body change as we go through life, which gave Wogan an excellent opportunity to demonstrate his cross-generational appeal. On a university campus he was mobbed by students after a photo, as if he were the sixth member of One Direction: "This is going to absolutely crucify your street cred," he cautioned. You'd think teenagers would sneer at a self-described "oldie" scolding them about their bedtimes, but the pupils at the progressive school he visited seemed just as charmed by Wogan's patter as the elderly residents at the Anisha Grange care home.

Perhaps teenagers are just nicer, when teachers allow them to start lessons at 11.30am, in accordance with the typical adolescent body clock.

What can be done to help regulate the sleep patterns of the young and old? Is there an optimum time of day to exercise? Why are most babies born between 6am and 1pm? These and most of the other topics covered in Secrets of the Body Clock with Terry Wogan (BBC1) were already familiar from half-remembered magazine articles and few of the revelations were earth-shattering, yet, somehow, seen through Wogan's twinkly eyes, they appeared newly interesting.

As of last year, the twin ravages of death and Operation Yewtree have erased several BBC veterans of Wogan's generation from fond remembrance, and Wogan is now one of the last still making television. Semi-retired oldie he may be, but it's not misguided nostalgia that ensures Terry Wogan remains so treasured. As last night's viewing reminded us, he's just a brilliant broadcaster. He's so good, in fact, he can transform even a below-par documentary like this one into an entertaining treat.