Wogan (BBC1, 1985-1992)
This is another show that I do remember watching, but that’s mostly because it was very regularly on TV and became one of the most-talked about of its era. I have looked back at a lot of Terry Wogan’s shows on here, so I thought that I should review this one too. Although I know he was very successful on the radio for many years, I was more familiar with his TV work which always guaranteed to be just as entertaining.
There were actually a few eras of this show. Wogan originally began in 1982 as a weekly series on Saturday nights. When it was time for BBC1 to relaunch their schedule in 1985 (and introduce their new COW symbol at the same time), Wogan would now be the centrepiece, being shown on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7pm, with new soap EastEnders on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm. The Radio Times descriptions for the show were always very entertaining as well, even if they actually never did anything like tell you who the guests were.
Wogan would be shown live from London, and feature interviews with celebrity guests, with people from all areas of showbusiness taking part, and you could always be guaranteed a masterclass in mirth. Another element to the show was appearances from pop groups with their new singles. As I have said before, groups always had to take the opportunity to appear on TV when there were fewer channels around, so knowing that there would be about ten million people watching this one must have persuaded a few of them to give it a go.
And as it was live TV, things could sometimes go wrong, but it has to be remembered that for every interview that featured a mishap, there were hundreds that went smoothly. This all became popular enough for there to also be several Christmas and New Year specials. And in 1991 there were also specials for the 1,000th show, and the final edition to come from Shepherd’s Bush. There were also several great opening sequences, mostly consisting of computer-generated things floating around for no reason, such was the trend at the time.
As it was an all-year-round show, Terry would take some time off, but the show would continue with various substitute hosts. By the end though, it was felt that the show was a little past its best and there were some format changes, and it all came to an end with an hour-long special in 1992. If some critics weren’t fond of it, they should’ve seen its replacement, the short-lived soap Eldorado, now that really was an example of a flop.
But that still wasn’t the end. In 1992, Wogan returned to the weekly format, this time on Friday nights, but it was very short-lived, at the start of 1993 Terry made his triumphant return to radio. And in 2006 there was a spin-off series on UKTV Gold called Then And Now, where classic interviews were repeated, and then there was a new interview to determine how much their life has changed since, followed by more various compilations featuring great moments from the archive.