BBC Radio 2’s Mark Goodier was on-air at BBC Radio 2 when the news of Sir Terry’s death was announced. He writes his thoughts and memories on the broadcaster for RadioToday.
When I told my 17-year-old daughter Grace the News Terry Wogan’s passing she cried. She’d been lucky enough to meet him with me on a couple of occasions at the annual Children in Need lunch that Terry hosted every year for Radio 2, that was so important to him.
She experienced what so many others have over the years. He was gracious and charming to her and she said that what made her so sad to hear he had died was that he was such a lovely man.
There have been many tributes and everybody says it: Terry Wogan was witty, self effacing, charming, generous and courteous in equal measure. That is rare in our business.
My dear friend Alan “Barrowlands” Boyd had the tough gig of following Paul Walters as Terry’s breakfast show producer, a task that anyone might regard as daunting. In no time at all though Alan was made to feel that he was trusted and the job was his. And so began the last five years of Wake Up To Wogan that Alan described as laughter from the opening jingle until the last note of the final song. Lots of those laughs were on the air but there were many that were unfit for broadcast. In Terry, Alan had met his match for appreciation of the indelicate joke.
When my company Wise Buddah won the contract to produce Weekend Wogan, I put a new team in place with Terry. Ste Softley was producer with David Manero as AP. Every now and again I would check in with Terry on how the team was doing, whether there were things I needed to attend to, fix or change. I always got the same answer. Terry loved his producer and had made them feel right at home – and no there was nothing I needed to do, he was delighted.
This was because they were doing a great job, they got Terry and they knew how to feed his love of music and humour and to make sure that every show was a laugh. But it was about something else too. Terry was incredibly loyal to people he worked with, he believed in them and was as happy for them to learn from working with him as much as they valued doing everything they could to create a perfect show for him to present.
When Ste left to work for Simon Cowell last year, Terry didn’t hesitate in welcoming David’s promotion as his new producer.
Steve Wright called me today after Richard Madeley and I had presented the Radio 2 programmes where we invited listeners to pay tribute to a soundtrack of Terry’s favourite music. He told me a story of arriving at Radio 1 around 1980 and being awestruck by the standing of his colleagues. Terry though was always warm and supportive.
Early on when I started deputising for Ken Bruce at Radio 2 I experienced the same thing. I knew I was following a legend and was terrified that I would be inadequate in the 09.30 handover. I needn’t have been. Yes, if he wanted to Terry could have wiped the floor with me, but that wasn’t in his nature. He was kind, giving and supportive, as he had been to so many that he worked with over the years.
Terry Wogan knew how to capture the hearts of listeners of all ages. He was loved and admired as much by my mum in law who was born the same year as him, as her daughter and as her 17-year-old grand daughter.
They say you should never meet your heroes. Now we know there’s at least one exception:
Sir Terry Wogan, Rest In Peace.