Terry Wogan Mark Lawson Talks To...


Terry Wogan

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'The ultimate achievement for a broadcaster is to be

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'in equal demand on both sides of the microphone, as host and guest.'

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Since the 1960s, when he left Ireland to do

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his first radio shows for the BBC,

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Sir Terry Wogan has been one of the most recognisable voices and faces in Britain.

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Presenting the Radio 2 Breakfast Show for 28 years in two spells

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divided by a full-time TV career that included Blankety Blank

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and the thrice-weekly Wogan chat show on BBC One.

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His radio work in particular set new standards of fluency,

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verbal inventiveness and, long before social networking technology,

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interaction with the audience.

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The two autobiographies which I've read, a frequent theme is that

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you are incredibly lazy, always took the path of least resistance

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and yet this always amazes people, because for long periods

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you were on radio and TV simultaneously, continuously, constantly.

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My conclusion is that you disguise the drive and ambition

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beneath this affable demeanour.

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That probably credits me with a bit more intelligence than I have,

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to be honest, Mark. Yeah, maybe. Years ago, I went back to Ireland

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and was talking to a friend with whom I'd worked in the bank and he said,

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"People are always saying to me that you must have had

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"some kind of determination, but I never saw it."

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And he was right. I don't really have enormous drive.

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I've never knocked on anybody's door and asked them for a job.

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What I've had is a kind of blessed life, if you like.

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I've been enormously lucky.

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Doors have opened for me without my knocking on them.

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But you haven't been cautious though, because looking at

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periods in your life, there was a time when you were broadcasting

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in both Ireland and London, commuting.

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The Wogan chat show, it's three nights a week, first person,

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these are not the decisions of a cautious person.

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There is some drive there.

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Yeah, whether it can be identified as drive...

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I'm not cautious about my career.

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I'm cautious about my family, I'm cautious about my life,

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but I've always taken risks in my career.

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I often say to Helen, my wife, that if I were older, or if it was now,

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I probably wouldn't have taken the chance of leaving Ireland,

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where I had a reasonable career and making a bit of money,

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to come across to Britain and work for the BBC

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for less money than I was making in Ireland.

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When I came here to work first for BBC on daily radio,

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it was £135 a week, that was for a daily radio show.

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It's a far cry!

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So I used to go back every second weekend and do some commercial

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radio programmes in Ireland to keep me income boosting,

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and for a while when I was actually working on Late Night Extra

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for Radio 1, I'd be living in Ireland,

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I was the most travelled DJ in the world.

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I used to fly back and forth from Ireland to London once, twice a week,

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even during the foot and mouth outbreak, in which case

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I used to have to walk through fine sprays of disinfectant

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to get back to Ireland.

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I've always been struck from the outside and knew there is

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a basic stubbornness and a determination to show people,

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because my theory is one reason, when you came back to Radio 2,

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it did become the huge success it became is that you were determined to show people,

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because a lot of people wrote you off after the Wogan TV show.

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Similarly, when the BBC cancelled your TV contract,

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you turned up on Channel 4.

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There is something in you that wants to show them, isn't there?

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There is something in me, not necessarily...

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I have enough confidence.

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I don't really feel the need to show anybody anything,

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but I'm not going to be defeated. I don't recognise failure,

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or I bypass it, if you like. I don't dwell on it, I get on with it.

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You once said something to me when I was a young broadcaster,

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I met you at one of those so-called BBC talent events in Wimbledon.

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And you said something which I've always thought,

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and as time has gone on is one of the wisest things I ever heard about broadcasting,

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you said television is about novelty

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and radio is about familiarity and repetition.

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For that reason it is easier to have a longer career in radio

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than TV, but that is borne out.

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Absolutely true. I mean, I said something that is absolutely true.

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It is not entirely my fault.

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But, yeah, I love radio because I can impose my own pausing on it,

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I can impose my own timing on it,

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and because people think while they're listening to the radio.

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Television is used thought -

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your thinking is done for you, your imagination is done for you

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and you can't really pause too much, otherwise the director will take

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the camera off you thinking you've had a heart attack.

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So you don't have the same degree of freedom.

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It was always a sort of forlorn hope of mine

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that I could somehow transcend the picture,

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get into people's minds, heads, in the same way, on television,

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in the same way that I could on radio,

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but I don't think it's possible.

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I was thinking about this, I think this is why

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the Eurovision Song Contest became such a big thing for you.

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It was a curious hybrid that, it was as if you were doing a radio show on television.

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Very occasionally we'd get a shot of you in the box

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with your headphones on, but essentially you were

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the disembodied voice but anchoring a TV show, which is very unusual.

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Yeah and I think that's why it worked

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because it did not have my face all over it.

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# ..Reggae OK

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# OK

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# Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh

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# OK. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Well, you can't say you're not getting a variety of costume here.

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Good to see the old accordion coming into reggae music, isn't it?

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That's for Finland. Reggae O.K.

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A couple of years ago, when Graham took over,

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it was the first time in 35 years that Helen and I were able to sit

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together and watch the Eurovision Song Contest.

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Slightly unnerving experience.

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I hadn't realised exactly how bad it was

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because when you're there,

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you're taken up in the whole excitement of it.

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Although, again you were a pioneer in this respect.

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There is lots of talk about ironic broadcasting

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and so much of it goes on that actually Blankety Blank

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and the Eurovision Song Contest were examples of ironic broadcasting,

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that you were sending it up even while being part of it.

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That's right.

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As you know, the Europeans don't understand irony

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any more than Americans do. They don't get it.

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Some of the European countries would get really quite angry about your attitude, wouldn't they?

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Yes, they thought we weren't, or that the British,

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were not giving sufficient respect to this major, and it is a major show.

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It's extraordinary!

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Three and a half hours of perfect television, brilliantly staged.

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We perhaps don't give them enough credit for that,

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but what I did find was that

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I became very unpopular in Denmark a few years ago

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because the two presenters on Danish television,

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staging the Eurovision,

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did every introduction as a rhyming couplet,

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which, frankly, I thought was a mistake.

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Let's go on with the show.

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-Let's start the music.

-Let's start the fun.

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BOTH: The Eurovision Song Contest 2001.

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Not before time.

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I nicknamed them Dr Death and the Tooth Fairy

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and so really, if I go through Copenhagen nowadays

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I have to go with a paper bag over my head.

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But, yes, whenever I used to go to various places in Europe,

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they would all say, "If you don't like the Eurovision Song Contest, why do you do it?"

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As you say, they miss irony, sarcasm, different sense of humour.

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They'd cheer anything here.

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38,000 people here, half of whom can't see anything.

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And I'm in that majority.

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I'm watching it on a television like the rest of you.

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We need to talk about Ireland. The first thing is the language,

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which has been a large part of your career.

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People use that shorthand blarney and this comes out

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in your autobiographies, there is something about speech in Ireland.

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It is very colourful, it is self-mocking, mocking others

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and yet you can get away with a lot as an Irish person,

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because the overall tone is friendly.

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Yes, the Irish have that piquant...mixture

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of cynicism and sentimentality.

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But the language comes because we're taught two languages,

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because Gaelic which you had to speak, or at least learn, when I went to school,

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is full of flowery expressions

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and that has seeped into the Irish use of English,

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which is why I suppose we get so many wonderful writers and poets.

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But you have that double thing growing up in Ireland

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that there was the literature Flann O'Brien that everyone loved and read,

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then there was this other literature that was dangerous and banned,

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James Joyce in particular, because the Catholic Church had

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a huge list of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum,

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-all these books that were banned.

-Exactly.

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I went to the same school as James Joyce, the Belvedere in Dublin,

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and almost directly opposite in Great Denmark Street was where the family used to live,

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but nobody in Belvedere ever spoke of James Joyce.

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There was one priest who used to say,

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"He's a wonderful writer, you should read him if you can."

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But, of course, he fell foul of the Index as so many.

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It was extraordinary but it was indicative of the kind of power that the Roman Catholic Church

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had in Ireland and that has since largely dissipated.

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You say in the autobiographies that the only comparison

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for the power that the Catholic Church had in Ireland

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when you were growing up there was the Ayatollahs.

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Absolutely.

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Absolutely, and that was true, has been true right up to the '80s.

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Ireland was in thrall to the Roman Catholic Church.

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The government, because it had no money,

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abrogated its responsibility in education, so it left education

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at the common level to the Christian Brothers

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and the middle-class level to the various orders like the Jesuits,

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Holy Ghost Fathers, Dominicans, Redemptorists.

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You have spoken and written about beatings,

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it was quite a savage environment.

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It wasn't that savage.

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It was savage if you were educated by the Christian Brothers,

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but you were protected slightly by a middle-class upbringing.

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The Jesuits didn't beat you insensible or give you a thump around the ear with a fist.

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They had a more sophisticated way of doing it.

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You go home, do your homework, make a mistake in your Latin homework,

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priest would say, "OK," and then give you a little chit

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which said, "Six biffs,"

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for doing wrong in your homework. It's tough, come on.

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And you had to wait, this would be the first lesson in the morning

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and you would have to wait until lunchtime before you had to line up,

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anticipating all morning, before you had to line up with your little chit

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and then you put your hand out and got six leathers.

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But then in one of the books, you talk about going home with your hand swollen.

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Exactly, on your little bicycle.

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It wasn't a boarding school, it was a day school,

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so I used to cycle home for my lunch.

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But, you know, I suppose it is only in retrospect that

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I think that that was in any way damaging, because it wasn't.

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It was what you expected, it was what school was about.

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It made you work harder, it made you work harder at your Latin.

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In fact, I got fantastic marks in my Latin in the intermediate exams

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and then when I went up to Dublin and things were a little gentler,

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I didn't really achieve anything like it.

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But at a religious level, the Jesuits failed with you

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because you were an agnostic or an atheist by quite a young age.

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I can never really distinguish between the two.

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I'm not against all knowledge, so I'm not agnostic

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but I have difficulty with the idea of an almighty God keeping his eye on me.

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It came... I suppose the watershed for me came

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when I was in Belvedere in Dublin and we finished, did all our exams,

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and then we went on a retreat outside Dublin, to a farm or something, to a Jesuit retreat

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and a priest got up on the first night and he said,

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"Remember, boys, it's almost impossible to commit immortal sin."

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And I thought, "Why didn't somebody tell me this five years ago?!"

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As far as I'm concerned,

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I've been committing mortal sins every ten minutes.

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You were brought up with this idea of sin.

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Sin was never very far in the corner

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and the main sins, of course, were sex and vanity.

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Vanity was a big sin.

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How any of us in Ireland grew up with self-esteem, I'll never know.

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One of the legends of Catholicism, particularly Irish Catholicism, is they say,

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"He'll come back to it, he'll call for the priest at the end."

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Yes. Yes they do say that.

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And maybe I will because, you know, let's keep all the exits open.

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HE LAUGHS

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I don't... Maybe it's arrogance but when you think that St Augstine

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the great saints, the fathers of the Church, highly intelligent men, all believed in God,

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erm, it would be... It's arrogant for somebody like me of my limited intelligence

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to just think that I don't.

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But I have a difficulty in accepting it.

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I don't have what they call the gift of faith.

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I was amazed one of the first times I went to Ireland, I watched the Gay Byrne Show,

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who was, in a way, the Irish Terry Wogan.

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He's the one that stayed and did those chat shows.

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There would be priests and cardinals in the front row on his TV show.

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If you had stayed, you couldn't have been the broadcaster you've been.

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He did an immense amount of good. He broke a lot of moulds, which wasn't easy.

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Indeed because there was no forum for opinion in Ireland, actually, television and radio

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over the years, created a kind of forum where opinions that people had been afraid to express,

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suddenly were being expressed.

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But as far as working in Ireland,

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I worked in Ireland for eight years on radio and television

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and successfully.

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But I suppose I was a bit of a West Brit.

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When I was growing up in Limerick, I didn't listen to Irish radio, I used to listen to the live programme.

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The Goon Show, Take It From Here, all those things.

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Most of my reading material, which my Auntie May used to send me every week,

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was Just William, Billy Bunter, moving up that English thing.

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So I suppose, in a way, I had more in common with British radio and television

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than I had with Irish.

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Your Auntie May, she was another great contributor to the language that you used as a broadcaster.

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-She was sending you those books. She gave you an education.

-She did. She gave me another world.

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She would send me a couple of books every couple of weeks.

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She was the manager of a bookshop in Dublin. She was my godmother. It was a Catholic bookshop

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so I didn't get any racy stuff.

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HE LAUGHS

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But there are always in life these pieces of luck

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and that was one of the pieces of luck that you had an auntie

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-who not only run a bookshop but wanted to send you the stuff.

-That's right. Yeah.

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But luck has played enormous in my life and anybody who is successful,

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and who denies that they were lucky to get where they are,

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is a fool, in my opinion.

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because it plays a disproportionate role in all our lives.

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Parents - Rose and Michael Wogan.

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Your father - this is a good parable.

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A very hard worker, he was eventually rewarded for his hard work and diligence.

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He had an enormous capacity for hard work.

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He would come home from running the grocery store in Limerick

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He would spend most of the evening doing his books. He was meticulous. His handwriting was meticulous.

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He took pains and he was a fisherman. He took more joy out of preparing to fish,

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tying flies for the fly-fishing, than he did in actual fishing.

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I would sit with him in a field, listening to the corncrake, eating my sandwiches,

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and he'd still be tying the flies and just as the sun was beginning to dip behind the hedge,

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he'd decide he was going to fish!

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That put me off fishing for life, really.

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And, erm... Obviously, although I loved him,

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It made me the kind of person I am because I am impatient.

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I like to do things immediately, possibly too quickly.

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My whole broadcasting career is about opening the microphone without a thought in your head

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and just risking it.

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You say in one of the books that if he'd been an accountant, you might have become an accountant,

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but because he wasn't a professional, he did a variety of things and eventually

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he was successful in trade.

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It was lucky for me. Certainly in Belvedere College in Dublin, most of the people,

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most of my peers, were the sons of doctors, accountants,

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executives, quantity surveyors, architects,

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and they all became architects.

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I went back to a reunion a couple of years ago and they were, in fact,

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all accountants, architects, quantity surveyors doctors and surgeons.

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My father would have liked me to be a doctor but I'm lazy.

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I did seven years of actual study and work. No!

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So I went to work in a bank, the Royal Bank Of Ireland,

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which was a small bank,

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largely a Protestant bank.

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I worked in the bank for four years, happily.

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Good people. Nice people, being paid nothing.

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Erm... I do tell a story that when I worked at the bank, twice a week

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I would have to carry £5,000 in used notes on the back of the number 19 bus

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down to head office, where they would be switched for new notes,

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another £5,000, which I would then take back on the back of the bus again, back to the branch!

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How we were never knocked over I will never know because sometimes

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I'd think, "Let's go to the port." I'd say, "Let's go for a walk."

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We'd have the new notes in the bag

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and we'd stop off at Bewley's Oriental Cafe and pop in there, put it under the table

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and have a cup of coffee!

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Extraordinary!

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The impressive benefit of your upbringing, you were never tempted to take a few of the fivers?

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No and there was very little pilfering went on,

0:21:260:21:32

although there was a fella who came in to do an inspection, a senior man,

0:21:320:21:39

who DID run off with the money!

0:21:390:21:42

To everybody's astonishment because that wasn't the way. That wasn't the way we were brought up.

0:21:420:21:47

We were honest, diligent, er, middle class people

0:21:470:21:53

who didn't boast.

0:21:530:21:54

And didn't have much sex.

0:21:540:21:58

The move to broadcasting came via amateur dramatics.

0:21:580:22:02

I did a bit of that. Nearly everybody in Ireland did am dram.

0:22:020:22:05

I joined the Rathmines And Rathgar Musical And Dramatical Society

0:22:050:22:10

and we used to sing on the stage of the Gaiety Theatre

0:22:100:22:13

where subsequently I went to do a Eurovision Song Contest once.

0:22:130:22:17

So that was the outlet for whatever creative spirit you had

0:22:170:22:20

or showing off.

0:22:200:22:23

You were allowed to show off on stage.

0:22:230:22:25

But that wasn't it. I just picked up the Irish Independent newspaper one day

0:22:250:22:32

and there was an ad and it said, "Raidio Eireann seeks announcer/newsreader

0:22:320:22:39

"continuity announcers/newsreaders.

0:22:390:22:41

"The requirements are, English, Irish, a familiarity with continental languages"

0:22:410:22:48

And I wrote off, for some reason that still escapes me,

0:22:480:22:53

filled out a form because, you know, half of the country was out of work.

0:22:530:22:59

So I would fill out this form with about 10,000 briefless barristers, out of work people,

0:22:590:23:07

and extraordinarily enough, with the little qualifications I had,

0:23:070:23:12

was called for an audition, did the audition because I'm a bit of a mimic, faked the Italian,

0:23:120:23:19

the German, the French, got by on the Irish and the English

0:23:190:23:22

and I was called for a training course!

0:23:220:23:26

So I'd work in a bank all day and then I'd go to

0:23:260:23:30

Raidio Eireann, the GPO in Dublin and do a training course as an announcer

0:23:300:23:36

and, blow me down, they offered me a job.

0:23:360:23:39

-And that was the beginning.

-That's another of these pieces of luck that the thing

0:23:390:23:45

you'd been good at at school was languages so that was why you were able to answer that ad.

0:23:450:23:50

Yeah. I still don't know why. because

0:23:500:23:55

there would be fellas with PhDs applying for this job.

0:23:550:24:00

This was a desirable job. You were something if you were a continuity announcer, a newsreader

0:24:000:24:06

on Irish radio.

0:24:060:24:08

It's amazing. I'm still astounded by the fact that I got called for an audition,

0:24:080:24:15

and then got offered the job.

0:24:150:24:19

Irish broadcasting, it was a good preparation for what was going to happen later, in that

0:24:190:24:24

it's the famous thing that you are very very famous, at least at that stage,

0:24:240:24:29

you were as a broadcaster in Ireland.

0:24:290:24:32

So you were exposed to fame, judging beauty contests very early on.

0:24:320:24:37

I was indeed. No sooner had I joined Irish radio, Irish television started, round about 1961.

0:24:370:24:44

That was fantastic.

0:24:440:24:49

They opened with an outside broadcast,

0:24:490:24:53

which was a tremendously plucky thing to do.

0:24:530:24:57

If one of the batteries had fused,

0:24:570:25:00

that was the end of it.

0:25:000:25:01

Irish television got by on a wing and a prayer because

0:25:010:25:04

all sorts of people came across claiming to be directors, who, in fact, were roadsweepers,

0:25:040:25:11

in Canada and Australia and places like that.

0:25:110:25:14

It happened and Irish flair for doing things on their toes worked.

0:25:140:25:18

When people say to me, "You must find Children In Need, seven hours of live television..."

0:25:180:25:25

doing what I do, which is always live, making it up as I go along -

0:25:250:25:30

"..you must find that very wearing and nerve-wracking!"

0:25:300:25:36

You wanted to be with Irish television in the early days!

0:25:360:25:39

Goodness sake!

0:25:390:25:41

You did one of the most disastrous live programmes in history, which is a game show called Jackpot.

0:25:410:25:45

I wouldn't put it that strongly! But it was a bit troublesome, yes.

0:25:450:25:51

The very first one I did, nobody had really bothered to tell me

0:25:510:25:55

what was going on and, of course, my nature was to say I'll do it anyway.

0:25:550:26:01

Of course, a buzzer went and I hadn't realised that was the end of the show.

0:26:010:26:06

The show was over before I knew it.

0:26:060:26:09

There were other occasions where contestants had to delete or dip so they could delete

0:26:090:26:15

their opponent's point or dip into a box in front of them and pull out a prize.

0:26:150:26:22

So Mary says... I said, "Well done, Mary, do you want to delete or dip?"

0:26:220:26:29

And she said, "I'll dip." "Fair enough," I said, "Go ahead."

0:26:290:26:33

So she said, "There's nothing in here."

0:26:330:26:36

THEY LAUGH

0:26:360:26:38

"There's nothing in here."

0:26:380:26:40

There were so many other occasions. Somebody had the bright idea of doing what was called the vertical plan,

0:26:400:26:46

which meant that various presenters were in charge of an evening.

0:26:460:26:49

I was in charge of Friday. One evening, I'm sitting down. I'm introducing

0:26:490:26:55

this girl, who's perched prettily on a stool with a guitar.

0:26:550:27:00

I said, "And now here she is with...

0:27:000:27:03

HE SPEAKS SPANISH

0:27:030:27:07

Joan...Vaughan or whatever her name was.

0:27:070:27:09

This was followed by a crash because she'd fallen off the stool.

0:27:090:27:14

with the guitar.

0:27:140:27:16

There are few things more frightening than when that happens and a floor manager goes

0:27:160:27:23

in front of you and goes...

0:27:230:27:25

-"..Three minutes."

-Three minutes!

0:27:270:27:29

There isn't a thought in your head. You don't know what you're going to say.

0:27:290:27:32

So you faff on for about three minutes

0:27:320:27:35

and then he goes... There's two more,

0:27:350:27:39

because the girl had obviously done herself a mischief.

0:27:390:27:42

These are nerve-wracking moments.

0:27:420:27:44

These do... Irish television, I'll always be grateful for it.

0:27:440:27:47

It prepared me for the vicissitudes of what I endured when I came across to Britain.

0:27:470:27:54

-There was no autocue.

-And no earpieces, either.

-No earpieces.

0:27:540:27:59

You were always at the behest of the floor manager. Fair enough but

0:27:590:28:03

when you're addressing a camera and you're trying to remember what your next lines are

0:28:030:28:10

and you're not in character, as an actor, you take on the appearance of

0:28:100:28:16

a frightened seagull.

0:28:160:28:17

Your eyes glaze over. So there's no room for expression. There's no room to interpret.

0:28:170:28:24

You're desperately trying to remember what you've got to say next.

0:28:240:28:28

So it was a godsend when I came across to British television and found that we have autocues

0:28:280:28:33

and all the rest of it.

0:28:330:28:35

Was it assumed at that time because Eamonn Andrews had made the journey from Ireland to...

0:28:350:28:40

Was it assumed that to make it big in the way that clearly it was in Scotland,

0:28:400:28:43

in the '70s and '80s, that you had to leave, you had to go to London?

0:28:430:28:47

Er, no. I don't think so.

0:28:470:28:49

What drew me was the fact that I had grown up with the BBC

0:28:490:28:56

and I'd wanted to see if I could make it.

0:28:560:29:00

I really wanted to see, "Can I do it on the BBC?"

0:29:000:29:06

Irish television and radio, at that time, I was doing fine and all the rest of it

0:29:060:29:12

but I wasn't going any place quickly.

0:29:120:29:17

So I sent off a tape to the BBC,

0:29:170:29:21

of a radio show I did and luckily it was picked up by a man

0:29:210:29:27

with a handlebar moustache who's name was Mark White.

0:29:270:29:30

He was assistant head of gramophone department,

0:29:300:29:35

and I owe him everything,

0:29:350:29:38

because this tape, when he got it,

0:29:380:29:40

hadn't been respooled so it was backwards.

0:29:400:29:44

He actually took the time and trouble to respool the tape and listen to it.

0:29:440:29:50

That could never happen nowadays.

0:29:500:29:53

That would never ever happen now.

0:29:530:29:55

But looking back at your career, I was very struck that interactivity,

0:29:550:29:58

which is the huge thing now because of the internet and...

0:29:580:30:02

Well, they have this phrase, don't they, in broadcasting now,

0:30:020:30:05

"user- or audience-driven content."

0:30:050:30:08

But you were on to that very early. I mean, even in Ireland...

0:30:080:30:12

You did a show in Ireland, "Terry A While" -

0:30:120:30:14

perhaps one of the worst titles ever!

0:30:140:30:16

Get away with you! I thought that was very catchy.

0:30:160:30:19

Ah, but it was, it was properly interactive.

0:30:190:30:21

You were one of the first people to do this,

0:30:210:30:23

to encourage the audience to respond and you would ring them up.

0:30:230:30:26

I suppose, one of the first to use the phone. I mean, the phone is...

0:30:260:30:31

totally abused now.

0:30:310:30:33

It's ridiculous - it's the forum for every eccentric and lunatic,

0:30:330:30:37

and so I absolutely abhor that now.

0:30:370:30:41

Phone-in programmes? Forget them.

0:30:410:30:43

But at the time, it was quite fresh and new.

0:30:430:30:47

And again, it was risky, of course.

0:30:470:30:49

So I was relying on myself to actually carry that off.

0:30:490:30:53

And I sent a tape of that to the BBC

0:30:530:30:56

when the BBC was starting - or about to start - Radio 1.

0:30:560:30:59

And that's what got me the job on Late Night Extra.

0:30:590:31:02

So I used to fly back and forward between Dublin and London

0:31:020:31:06

to do that on a Wednesday and/or a Friday.

0:31:060:31:09

And that was a terrific programme, I loved doing that,

0:31:090:31:12

cos I worked with journalists, news coming in, music, comment.

0:31:120:31:18

It was a very, very good radio magazine programme.

0:31:180:31:21

I was struck by something you used to say

0:31:210:31:23

in the '80s and '90s, which always...

0:31:230:31:25

Which I'd never thought about until you said it,

0:31:250:31:28

which is that you were an Irish broadcaster in the UK

0:31:280:31:31

at a time when, in Northern Ireland,

0:31:310:31:34

there was more or less a war going on

0:31:340:31:36

and there were bombs going off in the streets of London.

0:31:360:31:39

And you said that it showed great maturity of the audience here

0:31:390:31:45

that it was never an issue. But I was interested -

0:31:450:31:47

you thought there might be some sensitivity over that?

0:31:470:31:50

Well, I was amazed that there wasn't.

0:31:500:31:53

I mean, after a bomb goes off at a pub in Birmingham,

0:31:530:31:57

kills innocent British people...

0:31:570:32:01

The following morning, on a popular music network,

0:32:010:32:05

an Irish voice comes up...

0:32:050:32:07

..trying to be cheerful,

0:32:090:32:11

and whose job it was to make people cheerful in the early morning -

0:32:110:32:15

I was very conscious of that.

0:32:150:32:17

But at the same time,

0:32:180:32:20

I never felt it necessary to deny the fact that I was Irish.

0:32:200:32:23

And subsequently, people - Irish people -

0:32:250:32:27

who had lived as I did in Britain

0:32:270:32:30

during the worst of the excesses in Northern Ireland,

0:32:300:32:34

have come up to me and said that...

0:32:340:32:36

I was a kind of help to them.

0:32:360:32:39

Or I... But, you see...

0:32:390:32:42

nearly everybody in Britain knew an Irish person,

0:32:420:32:46

was friends with an Irish person...

0:32:460:32:48

and knew that, as I have said quite clearly,

0:32:480:32:51

that this has not been done in my name.

0:32:510:32:53

There is a tolerance here that was quite extraordinary,

0:32:530:32:56

given the circumstances of people dying in bomb...

0:32:560:33:00

you know, IRA bomb activities. It's extraordinary.

0:33:000:33:03

But when you first came to London, there must still have been...

0:33:030:33:06

That notorious sign that used to be seen -

0:33:060:33:09

"No blacks, no Irish" - in boarding houses

0:33:090:33:12

was almost certainly still there in some parts of Britain.

0:33:120:33:15

Did you ever feel...? Did you ever suffer any anti-Irish feeling here?

0:33:150:33:18

No. Never suffered. Cos I was in a privileged position.

0:33:180:33:21

And in a sense, if you like,

0:33:210:33:23

Eamonn Andrews had beaten a path for people like me.

0:33:230:33:27

So I was never, ever conscious - ever - of any anti-Irish feeling.

0:33:280:33:34

There IS no anti-Irish feeling in this country.

0:33:340:33:37

Even given the terrible things

0:33:370:33:39

that happened in the name of freedom in Northern Ireland.

0:33:390:33:43

And, indeed, it's reciprocated.

0:33:460:33:48

It's extraordinary, in view of the 800 years of terrible history,

0:33:480:33:53

that that tolerance, mutual respect, still exists.

0:33:530:33:58

And that first Radio 2 show.

0:33:580:34:00

Again, there interactivity - you had the Fight The Flab campaign

0:34:000:34:04

and then, when Dallas took off on TV, again,

0:34:040:34:07

that was talking about something the audience were talking about.

0:34:070:34:11

The most important programme on any radio network

0:34:110:34:14

is the morning show, the breakfast show.

0:34:140:34:17

It identifies the network

0:34:170:34:19

and it's at the time when people are more susceptible

0:34:190:34:22

or more receptive, if you like, to what's going on.

0:34:220:34:26

And so you have to reflect, I think,

0:34:260:34:29

what they're actually looking at, or what they're listening to,

0:34:290:34:33

or what they're involved with.

0:34:330:34:35

And so all I did was try and reflect that.

0:34:350:34:37

So when Dallas came on, I watched it, I found it insanely funny

0:34:370:34:44

and, you know, walk-in wardrobes with wire coat hangers,

0:34:440:34:48

the richest family in Texas...

0:34:480:34:51

with only one phone.

0:34:510:34:52

HE LAUGHS

0:34:530:34:54

All those extraordinary anomalies where...

0:34:540:34:57

Again, rich beyond the dreams of avarice

0:34:570:35:00

and they had all their weddings and, indeed, parties

0:35:000:35:05

in front of the garage on the drive.

0:35:050:35:08

There are my folks. I'd better go say hello.

0:35:080:35:11

This is where the element of acting comes in.

0:35:110:35:14

Particularly doing a breakfast show,

0:35:140:35:15

if your knee hurt or you had a cold

0:35:150:35:18

or you were worried about one of your children at school or whatever,

0:35:180:35:21

you could never show that - you had to be cheerful.

0:35:210:35:24

Absolutely. But I don't have a problem with that.

0:35:240:35:27

My wife says I'm a bit of a bore in the early morning, because I'm up.

0:35:280:35:33

Maybe, maybe it's life imitating art, I don't know.

0:35:330:35:38

But I never had any trouble.

0:35:380:35:40

Again, it's the way you're brought up, it's the way you're educated.

0:35:400:35:44

It's your job.

0:35:440:35:46

You get up in the morning, it's your job to go in and cheer people up.

0:35:460:35:52

If you walked into a doctor's...

0:35:520:35:54

..with some kind of ailment

0:35:560:35:57

and the first thing the doctor says to you is,

0:35:570:36:00

"Oh, I've a terrible pain in my stomach, myself,"

0:36:000:36:03

that's no good to anybody! THEY BOTH LAUGH

0:36:030:36:06

What I had to do was be cheerful.

0:36:060:36:10

Insofar as I could, be myself.

0:36:100:36:12

But I'm lucky that, temperamentally, I'm OK in the morning.

0:36:120:36:17

In fact, boring.

0:36:170:36:18

Actually, the only time I heard you sound unhappy on air,

0:36:180:36:21

I subsequently discovered that Paul Walters was ill,

0:36:210:36:25

very ill - your producer.

0:36:250:36:26

And it was the only time that I've ever heard that.

0:36:260:36:29

But are you able, generally,

0:36:290:36:31

to remain optimistic in the face of that kind of thing?

0:36:310:36:34

Yeah. Yeah, I am an optimist.

0:36:340:36:36

Yeah, I am. And, anyway, you have to compartmentalise.

0:36:360:36:39

You can't allow personal worries to intrude in the broadcasting.

0:36:390:36:45

The public are not interested -

0:36:450:36:47

they want to hear the same person doing the same thing every morning.

0:36:470:36:51

A lot of people do go mad with success -

0:36:510:36:54

your successor on Radio 2, Chris Evans, has been quite clear

0:36:540:36:57

that there was a period where he completely lost it.

0:36:570:37:00

-He did.

-In every way possible.

0:37:000:37:01

But he's clearly turned himself round now.

0:37:010:37:03

I was very lucky.

0:37:030:37:05

I had a career in Ireland - I was very famous in a small community.

0:37:050:37:10

Because I was one of the first faces on Irish television.

0:37:100:37:14

And, for the first time, Ireland had its own public heroes,

0:37:140:37:19

and I was one of them.

0:37:190:37:20

So, you know...

0:37:200:37:22

..it stopped me going to a pub - I couldn't got to pubs any more.

0:37:230:37:27

It stopped me playing rugby.

0:37:270:37:29

Because people were out to...

0:37:290:37:31

"You see that fella reading the news there? I gave him that black eye!"

0:37:310:37:34

And so I just stopped doing that.

0:37:340:37:37

So it changed my life, but I did learn how to cope with it.

0:37:370:37:41

As I was walking down Henry Street in Dublin, somebody shouted,

0:37:410:37:47

"There's Terry Wogan!"

0:37:470:37:48

And somebody else was saying, "Very fat, isn't he?"

0:37:480:37:51

These are the things that arm you against going mad,

0:37:510:37:57

and so when I came to Britain,

0:37:570:38:00

I'd been through that already, so I was able to cope with it.

0:38:000:38:04

As far as we can tell, you seem to have avoided

0:38:040:38:06

the showgirls and cocaine side of show business.

0:38:060:38:09

Ah, you see, but I'm not telling you! MARK CHUCKLES

0:38:090:38:12

But were there ever, um... Were there what your Jesuit teachers

0:38:120:38:16

would have called, "occasions of sin"?

0:38:160:38:18

"Occasions of sin." Ah, yes. Impure thoughts.

0:38:180:38:21

Um... Well, there was certainly... And it went on without my knowing it,

0:38:210:38:25

because when I started to work for the BBC, within two or three years,

0:38:250:38:30

there became a huge payola scandal on radio,

0:38:300:38:34

where people were playing records for sexual favours,

0:38:340:38:38

or for a drink, or for parties,

0:38:380:38:41

or for loose women, or for all that kind of stuff.

0:38:410:38:44

Now, I was doing one of the major shows of the afternoon,

0:38:440:38:49

with an audience of about, what, six, seven million.

0:38:490:38:53

Nobody ever, ever came up and offered me a sexual favour.

0:38:530:38:58

Nobody.

0:38:580:39:00

And I'm...

0:39:000:39:01

I don't know whether complimented or offended by that, really.

0:39:010:39:06

Your Jesuit teachers would be pleased.

0:39:060:39:08

It's obviously your character or your upbringing or something.

0:39:080:39:11

Maybe I look boring, that's what it is.

0:39:110:39:14

They got very into this thing in the '80s called "bi-media,"

0:39:140:39:17

and people used to go around saying, "Are you bi yet?"

0:39:170:39:20

And all that kind of thing.

0:39:200:39:21

But you always were, weren't you, really.

0:39:210:39:23

I mean, in Ireland, but then also in Britain,

0:39:230:39:26

you tended to have radio and TV on the go at the same time.

0:39:260:39:29

Yeah, I think it's important.

0:39:290:39:30

I always felt that if you wanted to really make a career...

0:39:300:39:34

or a living, you had to do both.

0:39:340:39:37

You had to cross over.

0:39:370:39:39

I was a natural, I suppose, at radio,

0:39:390:39:41

but television is a much more difficult medium.

0:39:410:39:44

And you can't be a natural at television - nobody is.

0:39:440:39:47

And so when I came across here, it took a while,

0:39:470:39:51

and then Blankety Blank started.

0:39:510:39:52

And that was the very first instance for me where I could achieve

0:39:520:39:57

the same degree of freedom of television as I could on radio.

0:39:570:40:01

Good evening and welcome again to our warm and homely little quiz game.

0:40:010:40:07

I could talk and walk

0:40:070:40:09

without wondering whether I was in the correct light,

0:40:090:40:12

and I could make it up as I go along.

0:40:120:40:14

And that was a watershed for me as far as television was concerned.

0:40:140:40:18

What's small and green and covered with red spots?

0:40:180:40:22

With measles.

0:40:220:40:23

An unripe...

0:40:230:40:25

raspberry.

0:40:250:40:26

An unripe...?

0:40:260:40:28

-Raspberry.

-Raspberry.

0:40:280:40:30

LAUGHTER

0:40:300:40:33

APPLAUSE

0:40:330:40:35

Well, let's see how many points David gets with this one(!)

0:40:410:40:44

LAUGHTER

0:40:440:40:48

Wogan On TV...

0:40:480:40:49

Still sometimes in profiles of you,

0:40:490:40:51

people refer to it as a failure or a flop.

0:40:510:40:54

It's important to establish, I think,

0:40:540:40:56

it was getting a huge number of viewers for a large number of years.

0:40:560:41:00

It used to get eight million viewers!

0:41:000:41:03

But those were in the quondam days.

0:41:030:41:05

Yeah, I think, probably...

0:41:050:41:07

..it got a certain amount of criticism

0:41:090:41:12

because they felt that the questions were a bit banal.

0:41:120:41:16

That's always levelled at all talk show hosts, but...

0:41:160:41:19

talk shows, chat shows, are cheap entertainment -

0:41:190:41:24

they don't cost a lot to do, they're light entertainment.

0:41:240:41:27

And the one I was doing,

0:41:270:41:29

which perhaps was not fully appreciated, was live!

0:41:290:41:33

And really, you were on your toes all the time. You didn't have...

0:41:330:41:37

There was no space to edit,

0:41:370:41:39

there was no room to take out somebody who wouldn't speak,

0:41:390:41:43

there was no room to take out drunken behaviour.

0:41:430:41:45

Which you had with George Best.

0:41:450:41:47

Yes. And, indeed, with Anne Bancroft, who came out in a catatonic trance.

0:41:470:41:53

'And I said to her, "You're not enjoying this much, are you?"'

0:41:530:41:56

And she said, "No."

0:41:560:41:58

Why do you hate this kind of thing so much? Is it me?

0:41:580:42:01

-Probably.

-It's probably me. LAUGHTER

0:42:010:42:04

It's not the dried flowers or anything.

0:42:040:42:07

That too, yes.

0:42:070:42:08

And dear George...he'd had a few.

0:42:090:42:11

'You'd think the whole world had been watching it,

0:42:120:42:15

'rather than eight million - it was all over the papers.'

0:42:150:42:18

But he didn't mean any harm by it - he'd just had a few drinks and, um...

0:42:180:42:21

He was a nice man. Didn't mean me any harm.

0:42:220:42:26

Terry, I like screwing, all right?

0:42:260:42:29

STUNNED LAUGHTER

0:42:290:42:31

Oh. Oh, right. So what do you do with your times these days?

0:42:310:42:34

-I screw.

-I see. LAUGHTER

0:42:340:42:36

Ladies and gentlemen, George Best!

0:42:360:42:38

APPLAUSE

0:42:380:42:40

One of the interesting bits is when you were spoke to David Icke,

0:42:420:42:45

this man who clearly was not in the best way mentally,

0:42:450:42:49

I think we can probably say.

0:42:490:42:50

I imagine now, on most talk shows,

0:42:500:42:52

the audience would be turned against him.

0:42:520:42:55

Now you didn't do that - you say to him very gently,

0:42:550:42:58

"They're not laughing WITH you, they're laughing AT you."

0:42:580:43:02

-LAUGHTER

-Fine!

0:43:020:43:05

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:43:050:43:08

I didn't mean that to be hurtful, I don't want you to misinterpret it -

0:43:090:43:12

they're not laughing in sympathy with you.

0:43:120:43:15

That was an uncomfortable moment,

0:43:150:43:17

as you didn't want to be talking to someone who was in that state.

0:43:170:43:20

That was the risk you took with live television.

0:43:200:43:23

I mean, I used to find myself looking at people who wouldn't speak,

0:43:230:43:26

thinking, "What the hell are you doing on this show

0:43:260:43:28

"if you're not prepared to talk?"

0:43:280:43:31

Americans always found it difficult that it was live.

0:43:310:43:33

Nothing on American television is live.

0:43:330:43:36

They have this odd phrase, don't they, "taped as live."

0:43:360:43:38

Yeah, come on. Yeah, you can edit out all the stuff.

0:43:380:43:42

But that was the risk I took

0:43:420:43:44

and it worked for about eight, eight and a half years.

0:43:440:43:47

And it wasn't as good a fit for you as radio shows,

0:43:470:43:50

-because I think you prefer not to prepare, don't you?

-Mm.

0:43:500:43:54

I know a producer who worked for you

0:43:540:43:55

and he said he felt you were uncomfortable.

0:43:550:43:58

They'd have briefs and they'd want to go through the questions

0:43:580:44:01

and that's not how you'd want to work.

0:44:010:44:04

No. But, of course,

0:44:040:44:05

I wasn't in a strong enough position to assert that at the time.

0:44:050:44:08

If I was doing it now, it would be different.

0:44:080:44:11

I do have a belief that you should have enough intelligence

0:44:110:44:15

or general knowledge to be able to conduct an interview

0:44:150:44:18

with anybody who comes on - you should know your stuff.

0:44:180:44:21

Obviously, with the BBC there wasn't enough trust in me

0:44:210:44:26

to carry on an interview longer.

0:44:260:44:29

We could get an interesting interview but you would have to cut it short

0:44:290:44:32

because there was a musical item coming up and two more guests.

0:44:320:44:35

And then sometimes, you would get really famous guest on last,

0:44:350:44:39

and you would only get three minutes to talk to them. I always find that frustrating.

0:44:390:44:43

I also found it frustrating that it wasn't on every night.

0:44:430:44:47

Not that I wanted to be on every night but I couldn't preserve any continuity

0:44:470:44:51

and that, I think, was the difference between that and the region.

0:44:510:44:56

If I had been able to do it every day and run and interview

0:44:560:45:03

and say to stay for a few minutes, that is what I wanted.

0:45:030:45:08

I wanted more freedom and I didn't have it.

0:45:080:45:11

But, I mean it was successful. I love doing it.

0:45:110:45:17

The problem was that it was time to give it a rest.

0:45:170:45:22

They said, no you are doing splendidly for us

0:45:220:45:26

at 150 hours of television and it makes a difference and we need it desperately

0:45:260:45:31

-and in the meantime, they were building this village in Spain to replace me.

-For Eldorado?

0:45:310:45:37

They never said a word to me about.

0:45:370:45:40

I think that's what moulds you.

0:45:400:45:42

You think, that that is never going to happen again.

0:45:420:45:47

I'll make my own timings. I'll leave when I want to leave.

0:45:470:45:54

But in the end, you were happiest as a broadcaster doing interrupted monologues,

0:45:540:45:58

monologues interrupted by the audience, rather than interviewing.

0:45:580:46:05

I thought I was OK as an interviewer. I mean, I took it lightly.

0:46:050:46:10

I didn't think it was a serious form.

0:46:100:46:13

Not what we were doing, it was a half an hour live,

0:46:130:46:17

you had three guests, music item, you are not going to get awful lot of time.

0:46:170:46:21

You try and make it as light as you can.

0:46:210:46:23

We had some wonderful guests, Leslie Nielsen, Dudley Moore,

0:46:230:46:28

and I got to meet Gregory Peck, June Allyson, Stuart Granger,

0:46:280:46:34

James Stewart.

0:46:340:46:39

I wouldn't have met those if I hadn't done this show,

0:46:390:46:44

so I don't regret doing it.

0:46:440:46:46

In a sense I regret that it finished as it did.

0:46:460:46:49

You were angry with television, weren't you?

0:46:490:46:52

I was angry with what had happened as you would be.

0:46:520:46:56

But I was able to re-established.

0:46:560:46:59

My credential was the daily radio show, I got back into it.

0:46:590:47:03

The public came back and my credibility was re-established.

0:47:030:47:08

If hadn't been for that, I could've been doing countdown!

0:47:080:47:12

But also those years on the Wogan TV show,

0:47:120:47:17

you had an astonishing level of fame.

0:47:170:47:20

It was difficult to go to restaurants,

0:47:200:47:22

it was difficult for your children. It was terrible.

0:47:220:47:26

People hadn't been exposed on TV as much is that.

0:47:260:47:31

No, that's true. It passed me as the idle wind.

0:47:310:47:36

-But it was difficult for your family.

-It wasn't easy for my children.

0:47:360:47:41

I always feel, the old cliche, if it doesn't kill you,

0:47:410:47:47

it's going to make you stronger. So, they came out unscathed.

0:47:470:47:52

But I did appreciate at the time. Nowadays, I think they are more appreciative of me.

0:47:520:47:59

But they are middle-aged people now.

0:47:590:48:03

You gave a very interesting piece of advice was which if anyone attacked you at school,

0:48:030:48:08

-about your dad and just agree with them.

-Agree with them. Absolutely. Turn away wrath.

0:48:080:48:14

There is no point arguing. 'You're absolutely right, you should try living with him.' That's what I said.

0:48:140:48:20

That is what I was to say.

0:48:200:48:22

A lot is said about the dangers of celebrity.

0:48:220:48:25

An American writer had a great phrase about fame

0:48:250:48:30

that it's a mask that eats into the face.

0:48:300:48:34

-That's brilliant.

-Were you ever aware of been damaged by it all?

0:48:340:48:40

No. I always had my family.

0:48:410:48:44

My philosophy has always been this is what I do,

0:48:450:48:49

I have been very lucky to find something I can do that suited me

0:48:490:48:55

and I suppose I was naturally gifted to do.

0:48:550:49:00

I never look at myself. I never listen to myself. It's what I do.

0:49:020:49:07

Then, I do it and them I'd go home and have my dinner.

0:49:070:49:14

That's it, the most important thing in your life is your family. That is my rock.

0:49:140:49:21

My wife and my children and nothing else. The rest, as they say, is peripheral.

0:49:210:49:29

You talk about that time in Ireland, when someone shouted, "Isn't he fat?"

0:49:370:49:42

You were commented on by people that were commenting on your hair.

0:49:420:49:48

Were you ever hurt by that?

0:49:480:49:50

No, you've got to move on.

0:49:500:49:54

I mean, if that's the worst thing they can say about you, that's OK.

0:49:540:49:59

I'm obsessed with this, for clear reasons. Can we settle this?

0:49:590:50:05

It's the kind of thing,

0:50:050:50:08

If they can't think of anything else to say,

0:50:080:50:14

they say this.

0:50:140:50:19

You've been ruder towards BBC management than any other broadcaster has been.

0:50:190:50:24

Nonsense. No, I haven't, Mark. I've only the highest respect for you.

0:50:240:50:28

I'll tell you what we have got away with on Radio 2 is Janet and John.

0:50:280:50:33

Which were the filthiest things ever to be broadcast.

0:50:330:50:37

Absolutely. I never understood them, of course.

0:50:380:50:40

Janet is just about to serve his food. Janet said, "Did you have a nice time in the park?" "Yes, I did.

0:50:400:50:47

"On the way, I fell off my scooter and Mrs Park saw me,

0:50:470:50:52

"took me to the shop and sorted me out. She got the wood out and saw I had a nasty scuff.

0:50:520:50:56

"She got on her knees, rubbed some cream in it, up and down until I could see my face in it."

0:50:560:51:03

She said it was a pleasure to find a man who wasn't afraid to

0:51:030:51:06

splash out on a decent pair.

0:51:060:51:08

HE LAUGHS

0:51:080:51:13

We could never had got away with it on Radio 4.

0:51:130:51:16

It's just that, as far as the BBC's concerned, Radio 2, Radio 1,

0:51:160:51:20

just popular broadcasting, you know?

0:51:200:51:23

Not important. No opinion-makers ever listen to it.

0:51:230:51:27

It's also something about you, though, isn't it? If Jonathan Ross

0:51:270:51:30

had read out those stories, the BBC would have been closed down.

0:51:300:51:33

But there was something about the fact that it was you that,

0:51:330:51:37

um, diluted it somehow.

0:51:370:51:38

Well, yeah, but it...it all depends on the delivery.

0:51:380:51:43

Um...I always read them absolutely straight.

0:51:430:51:47

And...uh...half the time in complete ignorance of what was going on.

0:51:470:51:53

What used to astound me

0:51:530:51:54

was the number of old ladies who got the jokes!

0:51:540:51:57

THEY LAUGH

0:51:570:52:00

A broadcaster has to face the fact that it just vanishes, the stuff you've done.

0:52:020:52:06

All those thousands of hours on Radio 2 which people greatly love,

0:52:060:52:10

they're all just gone.

0:52:100:52:11

Do you just accept that,

0:52:110:52:13

or do you regret that you didn't do something more permanent?

0:52:130:52:16

Dear old Paulie Walters, who was my...great friend of mine and my producer,

0:52:160:52:20

at the end of every show, he used to say, "Well, there it is.

0:52:200:52:23

"It's gone. On its way to Venus," he'd say.

0:52:230:52:26

And you have to keep that attitude about what we do,

0:52:260:52:32

because it's transient.

0:52:320:52:34

Nothing is forever. And it's ephemeral, it's light entertainment.

0:52:340:52:39

It's not meant to dwell.

0:52:390:52:42

And equally, you have to accept the fact that

0:52:420:52:45

when you're working in it, it's not a permanent pensionable position.

0:52:450:52:50

If I'd wanted that, I would have stayed in the bank.

0:52:500:52:52

Um, so, you move on. You don't look back.

0:52:520:52:58

You just carry on, hope for the best.

0:52:580:53:01

There is this whole question of adjustment.

0:53:010:53:03

You're not retired,

0:53:030:53:04

but you gave up the morning radio show on Radio 2.

0:53:040:53:08

Now, be honest about this.

0:53:080:53:09

Was there a difficult period of adjustment when you gave it up?

0:53:090:53:14

I would be nothing else but brutally frank with you. No.

0:53:140:53:19

To be honest, no.

0:53:190:53:21

Because, um, as you said earlier, I'm a risk-taker with my career.

0:53:210:53:27

The only permanence I require is in my family. And so...

0:53:270:53:33

..of course I miss the morning show. I miss the camaraderie.

0:53:340:53:37

I miss the contact, the interfacing with the public, you know?

0:53:370:53:42

500 or 600 emails every morning.

0:53:420:53:45

I knew what the public wanted,

0:53:450:53:47

I knew what the public thought about...about everything, if you like.

0:53:470:53:51

And I was able to build on that kind of correspondence.

0:53:510:53:56

I do miss that. I miss that fun. But...you know, you can't...

0:53:560:54:03

I've always been the kind of person that leaves parties early.

0:54:030:54:07

My mother always said that I used to come in in Elm Park, Limerick,

0:54:070:54:13

when I'd finish playing and lock the gate behind me

0:54:130:54:18

and go in the front door. And that's the way I've always been.

0:54:180:54:22

And so, I do try and go,

0:54:220:54:27

make for the exit before people start leading me to it.

0:54:270:54:30

And that is very unusual and I think it's important.

0:54:300:54:32

It's virtually unique in broadcasting that you left the morning show

0:54:320:54:36

at the time of your own choosing.

0:54:360:54:38

Most people we know are dragged out kicking and screaming, aren't they?

0:54:380:54:42

-Yes!

-And resenting it and writing articles in the papers.

-I know.

0:54:420:54:44

It's pathetic, isn't it?

0:54:440:54:46

Yeah, but you're one of the very few people who was

0:54:460:54:48

able to leave in the way you wanted.

0:54:480:54:51

I think, Mark, that's because I didn't come from a showbiz background.

0:54:510:54:55

I haven't had to battle my way up from the bottom of the bill.

0:54:550:55:00

I haven't had the classic insecurity of our business.

0:55:020:55:07

I've always been secure. I've always had reasonable self esteem.

0:55:070:55:11

And I've never starved.

0:55:110:55:12

And so, I have enough confidence to walk away

0:55:120:55:16

when I think the time is right.

0:55:160:55:18

And this is it, then. This is the day I've been dreading.

0:55:180:55:22

The inevitable morning when you and I come to the parting of the ways.

0:55:220:55:26

And that final morning on Radio 2, again,

0:55:260:55:29

I think, symbolic of your career in the BBC.

0:55:290:55:32

There was a little bit of barney there with BBC management,

0:55:320:55:35

because you said on air that one of them said,

0:55:350:55:37

"Aren't you over-doing the sentimentality a bit?"

0:55:370:55:39

No, I don't remember that at all.

0:55:390:55:41

I'm not saying I don't remember, I just don't remember that.

0:55:410:55:45

Um, yeah, obviously that was a thing I prepared. I wrote that down.

0:55:450:55:51

I don't really write anything else down,

0:55:510:55:54

but I wrote that down because I wanted to get that right.

0:55:540:55:56

It was important to me to say goodbye in the right way.

0:55:560:56:00

And, um, it was a sad morning for me. Very sad.

0:56:000:56:04

What you told me beforehand, because I asked you, you said

0:56:040:56:07

you definitely weren't going to cry, but you did, didn't you?

0:56:070:56:10

There was a slight choke, Mark, I wouldn't put it higher than that.

0:56:100:56:16

A little fogging of the eyes, yes. But, uh, yeah...

0:56:160:56:21

You know, I'd invested an awful lot of time

0:56:210:56:25

and an awful lot of broadcasting in years and years of morning radio.

0:56:250:56:29

Uh...but it was time to say, you know...

0:56:300:56:34

Time to go, uh, before everybody gets fed up with you.

0:56:340:56:38

So, I'm going to miss you.

0:56:380:56:40

Until we're together again in February,

0:56:400:56:42

have a happy Christmas and thank you.

0:56:420:56:46

Thank you for being my friend.

0:56:460:56:48

When you look at Sir Bruce Forsyth now, um,

0:56:510:56:54

this huge show either side of his 80th birthday...

0:56:540:56:58

-Bless him.

-..do you, um... do you sort of hanker after that?

0:56:580:57:02

Would you like there to be another huge show?

0:57:020:57:05

I don't care. It'll...it'll happen or it won't. It'll probably not happen.

0:57:060:57:13

It's... I'm an old geezer now. Mind you, so is Bruce!

0:57:130:57:18

But he can dance, trip the light fantastic,

0:57:180:57:22

a lot better than I can and he's remarkable.

0:57:220:57:26

It's wonderful to see and I'm sure he'll go on and on and,

0:57:260:57:31

uh...I'll probably go on and on doing little things.

0:57:310:57:36

And maybe somebody will offer me something to do that's popular.

0:57:360:57:42

And maybe it'll succeed and maybe it won't.

0:57:420:57:45

Finally, the other traditional temptation to the Irish

0:57:450:57:48

is to return in their declining years,

0:57:480:57:51

but you must have discussed that with Lady Wogan?

0:57:510:57:54

"Maybe some day I'll go back to Ireland.

0:57:540:57:57

"Only at the closing of my day." Uh, no. No. I love Ireland,

0:57:580:58:03

but you want to be where your family is. All my family live in Britain.

0:58:030:58:09

So, yeah, we'll go back - we'll see my family,

0:58:090:58:12

we'll see Helen's family and they'll come to us,

0:58:120:58:16

but I'm not sure that we'd ever want to live back there again.

0:58:160:58:20

Um... This is where we live. This is where our family lives.

0:58:200:58:23

-Sir Terry Wogan, thank you.

-Thank you, Mark.

0:58:250:58:28

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