Why Sir Terry Wogan was the BBC's Best

A blog from The Drum's editor, Stephen Lepitak, covering reaction to events in media, social media, marketing, advertising and communications in general.

I felt great sadness this morning at hearing of the death of Sir Terry Wogan. He was a man I wish I'd met to let him know how much he had meant to me as an inspiration. I grew up watching Sir Terry on the BBC and to me the two things were integral to each other.

My first memories of him were as the host of Blankety Blank and watching him at my parents tiny caravan where we went for weekends, on a Saturday night as he worked his cheeky charm to great effect. I loved that show but never watched it when he wasn't the presenter - even when Les Dawson was.

He was a phenomenon in the 80s and his eponymous chat show was with without rival when it aired during weeknights with the biggest star names on the planet appearing. I recently watched a repeat of an episode featuring a very young Kylie Minogue and he really did get away with asking questions that some might take offence at now and walk out to. It seemed effortless for him.

He was also the absolute mainstay of the BBC's annual charity fundraiser, Children in Need, missing it for the first time late last year when Dermot O'Leary had to step in at the last minute as Terry was too unwell to attend.

That was news - and his presence was missed then and will be forever more. The tribute they owe him next year had better be monumental as he was everything to Children in Need and was often the best thing about it. The same was true of the many years he was the main presenter and competition narrator for the BBC's annual broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest.

It could be argued that the UK coverage of Eurovision still pales by comparison since he retired, despite the best efforts of Graeme Norton who picked up Wogan's extremely tongue in cheeky commentary style but, in my opinion, has never come close to matching the off cuff remarks and wry takes on the madness that would ensue in front of him each year.

There was probably something very safe about Wogan at the BBC, especially now as it reevaluates its history and the behaviour of some of its most celebrated stars. Sir Terry by comparison could be viewed as an unsung hero by comparison and I am sure that will now be reevaluated over the next few weeks as tributes are paid to him.

His BBC Radio 2 programme was another perfect vehicle for his personality and comedic delivery and the audience he build up through it should not be underestimated. He was truly loved by his listeners and deservedly so.

The BBC owes a great debt to Wogan in my view and I hope we see it deliver a fitting tribute to a true star who is genuinely irreplaceable.

Stephen Lepitak

Hi - I'm the editor of The Drum - so give me a shout if you have any news, feature ideas, opinion insights or views or update me on then drop me a line.

All by Stephen