Barely a dry eye as Sir Terry Wogan signs off

Did the Queen shed a tear? Because almost every other one of Terry Wogan’s eight million listeners must have blinked a little at 9.30 today, as with a blast of The Party’s Over, Terry Wogan signed off from the Radio 2 breakfast show he first presented in 1972.

As heavy snow brought chaos to the country, it seemed only fitting that Terry’s fans should stay inside, enjoying Wogan’s own brand of inspired broadcasting chaos for the last time.

“There’ll be no senior moments and no blubbing,” Terry promised at the beginning of Wake Up To Wogan, before presiding over an unashamed blub-fest of tear-jerking songs, tributes from fans and favourite in-jokes with his anarchic studio team, newsreader John “Boggy” Marsh , Alan “Deadly” Dedicoat , Chris Nove and Lynn Bowles “The Totty from Splotty”. As usual there were the quirky emails from fans “I’ve just heard you on the radio. I’ll be listening to you every day from now on!” but unusually there were more fulsome tributes.

Those writing in included a Mr G. Brown of Downing Street, who (perhaps a little enviously) admired Terry’s staying power, saying “Five decades at the very top of British broadcasting is a towering, indeed an unparalleled achievement” . A Mr D. Cameron also sent in a tribute, admiring Wogan’s tendency to focus on the positive and suggesting, “It is his ability to see a lighter, sunnier side of life which is why he is so loved.”

But it is the TOGs – Terry’s Old Geezers and Girls – who will miss him the most. The country’s most famous TOGs, the Queen and Prince Philip, who enjoy his breakfast show alongside their Tupperware tableware, had Terry to lunch recently to say a private thankyou. To the TOGs, Terry is more than just a radio presenter. Though Irish, he has become the deadpan voice of Middle England, the gently sardonic lilt that objects in a very British way to too much saccharine, earnestness, or political correctness. His show has been a refuge from the chill wind of current affairs and his quicksilver intelligence is matched with an endearing self-deprecation and an ability to poke fun at those who take themselves too seriously.

In particular, as in his favourite joke of reading out limericks from listeners before collapsing halfway in laughter, (“Boggy stood on the burning deck, Shouting what a farce..”) Wogan has epitomised the British habit of laughing at sex. This came to a head with his Janet And John series, a running joke based on a pastiche of the children’s learn-to-read books, which involved the show’s regulars in sexually risqué episodes, and spawned a best-selling series of CDs. Today’s programme featured a traditionally filthy tale, rigid with double entendres, involving something about bestiality and a golden shower. “If the Prime Minister’s listening to this,” said Wogan, “He’ll want to change his opinion by the next news.”

His decision to retire at the top of his game “while we’re still in love” will not stop Wogan returning in February with a Sunday morning show on Radio 2. But it is Chris Evans who from 11 January will assume the breakfast slot and the awesome task of taking on Terry’s devoted demographic. “This is the day I’ve been dreading,” Wogan, 71, told his TOGs in a tearful farewell. “It’s always been a source of enormous pride to me that you’ve come together in my name, to laugh with and poke fun at and when the world seemed a little too cruel, to shed a tear with. If anybody embodies the generous, warm spirit of this country it’s you, my listeners.” Those people outside, bracing themselves stoically in the street, might not just be awaiting another squall of snow. It might be the thought of next week, without Terry to take the edge off it.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Urgent Requirement - Central Manchester

£20000 - £23000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Guru Careers: Social Media Executive / SEO Executive

£20 - 25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Social Media...

Day In a Page

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions