Entertainment & Arts

Sir Terry Wogan in his own words

Sir Terry Wogan

Sir Terry Wogan was known to millions of fans for his wit, charm and humorously acerbic put-downs. Here are some of his best quotes:


On the Eurovision song contest:

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Media captionSir Terry Wogan provided some of his legendary barbed critique for the presenter of the Swedish results

"I don't make the mistake of thinking it's a major musical event. I love the Eurovision Song Contest and it will continue long after I'm gone. Just please don't ask me to take it seriously."

"Nobody died. It's a television programme. It wasn't the general election. People got a bit confused," - speaking after he announced the wrong act had won a UK Eurovision selection show.

"There's a definite Baltic bloc and a Balkan bloc and they've been joined in recent years by a Russian bloc. I've said it so many times it has become a cliché. We won the Cold War but we lost the Eurovision." - speaking in 2007 about the Eurovision voting system.

"You've got four dancers, for whom modern dance stopped about 30 years ago." - commentating on an act featuring a dancing troupe from Malta in 2006.

"It's supposed to be bad. And the worse it is, the more fun it is."

"Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? Actually I do, I've seen the rehearsals."

Introducing the Danish hosts in 2001 to BBC viewers: "Doctor Death and the tooth fairy."


On broadcasting:

"Television contracts the imagination and radio expands it."

"I am being paid to come on and be Cheerful Charlie. You don't go to the doctor for him to tell you he is not well."

"I don't see eight million listeners. I see them as individuals - the man listening in his lorry, the woman getting her children ready for school, the husband in his car."

"I have always believed in conversation rather than a deep interview. The essence of the chat show should be like a daily radio show. The audience like familiarity, repetition and a comfortable relationship with the presenter."

"Get on your toes, keep your wits about you, say goodnight politely when it's over, go home and enjoy your dinner."

"I know one should never say never but I hope I'll get off the beach before the tide goes out."


On television today:

"Television has changed. It's not what it was like 50 years ago. Light entertainment is no longer the expensive quality that it used to be. It's all quiz games, reality TV and talk shows. Talk shows these days are just cheap TV. In the same way that reality TV is cheap television that humiliates people. There's no point saying there can't be any humiliation, because the public seem to respond to it, it seems to be something they want. But then again the public liked mass executions as well but we don't do those any more. To be honest, I don't know where we go from here."


On news reading:

"News reading is not something to get self-important about. Get your good suit and tie on, a quick dab in make-up (in Fiona Bruce's case, the lippy is going to take a tad longer), make yourself comfy and here comes the six o'clock news, all written nicely and clearly before your very eyes. Read it clearly and distinctly, ask the reporter the questions you have written down in front of you. And before you start with the 'fair play old boy, there's more to it than that', I was a radio and TV newsreader and there isn't."


On work:

"I was brought up in that ethic that 'It's your job, you do it and you do it cheerfully.' Nobody's paying you to be a miserable geezer at all hours of the morning are they?"

"Gratuitously hurtful folk declare that I am very popular in hospitals because the listeners abed there are too weak to reach out and switch me off."


On success:

"I put it all down to clean living and plenty of roughage."

"The price of fame? Who in their right mind would want to pay it?"


On religion:

"I don't believe in God. My mother was devout and so is my wife. But I have the intellectual arrogance that makes it very hard to believe in him. I don't have the gift of faith. I remember at school I used to make up sins at confession - what we were told were sins by priests were not sins at all."


On restaurant critic and TV cook Fanny Cradock:

"The lethal combination of Margaret Thatcher and Vlad the Impaler."


One-liners:

"A Yorkshireman said to me once: 'I'm only rude to people I like.'"

"The Irish want you to like them. The English don't care if you like them or not."

Paired on a panel show with Jack Dee, who by his own admission was doing some "vulgar material", Sir Terry jokingly responded: "I can see I'm going to have to lower my game."

"The only physical adornments which grow bigger with passing years are the nose and ears. The rest, regrettably, diminishes."

"So many things I miss. And, you know, I wouldn't have missed them for anything."

"Is it me?"

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