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For the name, see Wogan (name).
Format Chat show
Starring Terry Wogan
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 12
No. of episodes 1131
Running time 35 minutes
Original channel BBC One
Original run 4 May 1982 (1982-05-04) – 3 July 1992 (1992-07-03)

Wogan is a British television chat show that was broadcast on BBC1 from 1982 until 1992, presented by Terry Wogan. It followed the format of a series broadcast in 1980 entitled What's On Wogan?, which failed to gather viewers.[citation needed] The Wogan show was initially broadcast on Tuesday evenings on BBC1 in 1981. From 1982 to 1984, it moved into the Parkinson slot on Saturday nights.

From Monday 18 February 1985 it was moved to weekday evenings at 7:00pm, where it remained, three nights per week, from 1985 to 1992, as part of the new look BBC1 schedule. The show was generally broadcast live from BBC Television Theatre in Shepherd's Bush, London until 1991. It was then broadcast from the BBC Television Centre. Some shows were pre-recorded, but broadcast unedited, 'as live'. It was replaced by the soap opera Eldorado.

Guest hosts[edit]

When Wogan himself was unavailable to host the show, guest presenters were brought in, with Selina Scott being the first stand-in in 1985. Others included Kenneth Williams (in 1986),[1] Ben Elton (in 1989), Joanna Lumley (in 1989), Selina Scott (again in 1991), Jonathan Ross (in 1990), Gloria Hunniford (in 1991), Felicity Kendal, Esther Rantzen and Bruce Forsyth. The most successful stand in was Sue Lawley who became the most frequent replacement for the host and indeed for some time was Wogan's 'official' stand in. When Lawley gained her own prime time chat show on BBC1 in 1989, other celebrities again took it in turns to stand in for Wogan.

Notable interviews[edit]

A number of interviews on the show are well-remembered, and have featured on compilation clip shows. Some examples include:

  • Ronnie Barker announcing his retirement from showbusiness in 1988.
  • Cilla Black relaunched her career in a memorable interview in 1983, where Wogan was reduced to tears through laughter at her anecdotes.
  • Victoria Principal gave a feisty interview in 1983 and was herself crying with laughter at Wogan's mocking of her series, Dallas. The two became friends and Principal appeared many more times on the show, often via satellite.
  • Raquel Welch appeared on the original Saturday night show, but was angered before the interview began when the producers refused to show a clip of her exercise video, which she was promoting. This led to a very taciturn interview with Terry, where at one point she feigned to forget his name.
  • Patti Davis, daughter of Ronald Reagan, got into a heated argument with Wogan when he continually interrupted her and refused to allow her to make a point. She told him later in the interview that she was extremely angry at his behaviour.
  • Joan Collins was often announced as a potential guest, but always seemed to cancel at short notice, giving rise to media speculation that she was avoiding appearing on the show. When a special Christmas Day edition of the show featuring the cast of Dynasty was broadcast, Collins again refused to appear. Eventually, in the late 1980s, she did appear, in a special programme, as the sole guest. However, a subsequent appearance to promote her first novel led to an extremely irritated exchange with the host. She did not appear again.
  • The appearance of an awkward Anne Bancroft, who admitted to her dislike of chat shows, and appeared before the audience counting up to ten to calm her nerves.
  • Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, in her late nineties, reciting Juliet's death scene from Romeo and Juliet, a role she had first performed over eighty years ago.
  • David Icke appearing on the show wearing a turquoise-coloured shell suit, and claiming to be "a son of the Godhead".
  • Vincent Price talking about his success in film, horror, art and his tour of Oscar Wilde.
  • Vivienne Westwood appearing on the show when it was being guest-hosted by Sue Lawley, and displaying her latest medically inspired collection. When the audience collapsed into laughter, Westwood told Lawley that if they didn't stop laughing, she'd tell the models to stop coming out.
  • George Best appearing on the show in September 1990 while heavily drunk and being escorted off set by security.
  • David Bowie refusing to co-operate during an interview. As Wogan put it, he "would not speak ... or at least not sensibly ... he will never know how close he came to a slap on live television". Most notably, Wogan asked Bowie (appearing with Tin Machine) "I suppose that's not a real guitar." to which Bowie countered "No Terry, it's my lunch". Part of Bowie's displeasure was that BBC policy forced him to mime "You Belong in Rock 'n' Roll" instead of singing live.
  • Chevy Chase remaining silent through his interview.
  • Geoffrey Boycott talking about his bank account, which was "a proper one, not like Ken Dodd's". Dodd was waiting in the wings to come on next.
  • Fanny Cradock made her last BBC TV appearance on the show in 1986 and told Wogan his questioning was "very rude" and "very English".


  1. ^ Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 323. ISBN 1-84854-195-3. 

External links[edit]