TV Cream

TV: W is for...

Wogan

"You! How dare you lay hands upon this fine BBC hand-woven apparel!" "Officer! Unhand me this instant!"

LIVE FROM the verdant pastures of Shepherd’s Bush Green, this was light-touched and louche chattery at its most imperial – and we won’t hear otherwise. Born out of El Tel’s Saturday night PARKY-replacement stints, Terrence took up residence at the BBC Television Theatre the same week as EastEnders began as part of Michael Grade’s grand plan for beating the shit out of ITV. And for a time it worked. Millions tuned in, knowing there’d always be somebody of interest on Wogan’s sofa, or if not then a topical reference to something that’d been on telly earlier (“I see they’ve changed the Six O’Clock News set again!”) or later (“so why not join me, for the first in a new series…of DALLAS” cooed Tel, introducing the show via a massive monitor on the wall behind him). There was talk of it going five nights. “I am but my master’s keeper,” quoth Terence. Some of the gloss started to come of, though, c.1988 when the guests started becoming all newsy and topical instead of glittery and glamorous. Stand-in hosts dropped from the calibre of KENNETH WILLIAMS to BEN ELTON. Then the show started getting dropped whenever the Beeb could find a reason, like when there was a football match on and, instead of Tel popping up for five minutes just to reassure us he was still there, he was nowhere to be seen. Big budget stunts like meeting Madonna just looked hammy and contrived. The final insult was being axed in 1992…for something infinitely worse (i.e. ELDORADO). Much missed.

That opening night line-up in full Tel with Vikki Watson, our Song For Europe in 1985 "You hum it, JY, I'll sing it"
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