Wake Up to Wogan

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Wake Up to Wogan
GenreTalk, Music
Running timeWeekdays: 7:00am-9:30am (1993) 7:30am-9:30am (1994-2009)
Country of originUK
Home stationBBC Radio 2
StarringSir Terry Wogan
Produced byAlan Boyd (2006-09)
Paul Walters (1993-2006)
Recording studioWestern House, London
Original release4 January 1993 – 18 December 2009
Audio formatFM and Digital radio
WebsiteOfficial Website
PodcastOfficial podcast (archived)

Wake Up to Wogan (WUTW) was the incarnation of The Radio 2 Breakfast Show from 4 January 1993 to 18 December 2009. It was the most listened to radio show in the United Kingdom and the flagship breakfast programme broadcast on BBC Radio 2. The show was presented by Terry Wogan who previously presented the breakfast show between 1972 and 1984, but the title WUTW was only added at the start of his second tenure.

On 7 September 2009, Wogan confirmed to his listeners that he would be leaving the show at the end of the year, with Chris Evans taking over the breakfast show from 11 January 2010.[1] The final show was broadcast on 18 December 2009.[2] Regular stand-in presenter Johnnie Walker would become interim host of the breakfast show for the three-week period between Wogan's departure and Evans' arrival.

The show[edit]

Wogan originally took over the airwaves from Sarah Kennedy after the news at 7.00am, until 24 December 1993, but from 17 January 1994 until the end of the show's run, this was changed to 7.30am (following the news headlines). He always finished with a hand over to Ken Bruce at 9.30am. WUTW was a music based programme that included listeners' views and comments which were often light-hearted and whimsical. Traffic bulletins interrupted the programme at half hour intervals and had until February 2007 been presented by that morning's newsreader. Similar to other programmes during the day the traffic bulletins are now delivered by a travel announcer.

The show was produced by Paul Walters for many years and in addition to these duties Walters often traded banter with Wogan and the newsreaders on-air until illness took him away from the studio at the start of 2006. He did, however, continue to programme WUTW until his death on 21 October 2006. Alan Boyd then took over production duties in Walters' absence and remained for the remainder of the show's run. "Barrowlands" Boyd was at first rarely heard on-air, but often played a part in Wogan's "mini-dramas", usually as the dour Scottish soundalike for a Taggart character.

The newsreaders who contributed to the show are Alan Dedicoat ("Deadly"), Fran Godfrey ("Mimi"), John Marsh ("Boggy"), who retired in February 2007 but who continued presenting news bulletins on a freelance basis, which included returning to read the news on the show every 6 weeks, and Charles Nove ("Super/Bossa") who joined the team following Marsh's "retirement". Each newsreader became a star in their own right and John Marsh, along with his wife Janet, had their life "stories" told in four "Janet and John" CDs. All have been released to raise funds for the Children in Need appeal. The regular travel announcer was Lynn Bowles (known as the 'Traffic Totty'), who, prior to Marsh's retirement and a change in format, had only presented the travel on the programmes either side of WUTW. Sir Terry would often refer to Lynn and the newsreaders as his "underlings", "peons" and "numpties". This was a long-standing gag, used to make light of the fact that listeners who write into other Radio 2 shows (such as Steve Wright in the Afternoon) often address "the Team."

WUTW was one of the few Radio 2 programmes available which has edited highlights made available as a podcast.

Terry's Old Geezers and Gals – "TOGs"[edit]

Regular listeners to the show were often referred to collectively as TOGs (Terry's Old Geezers / Gals).[3] A running joke on the show was defining what it takes to qualify as a TOG. Much humour was drawn from identifying stereotypical traits of the elderly, such as absent-mindedness, cynicism and befuddlement at modern society's habits, as being those of a true TOG. Wogan, as the archetypal TOG, was sometimes referred to as the "TOGmeister".

TOGs often took on pseudonyms, as did the newsreaders, prior to February 2007.[4]

In February 2007, John Marsh took compulsory retirement, at the age of 60. He was only semi-retired, and still returned to the show every six weeks to read the news. His departure from the show caused a reshuffle of staff, and the introduction of a new Travel Announcer, Lynn Bowles, whom the TOGs often referred to as the "Traffic Totty". Charles Nove also nicknamed "Chassa", "Bossa", and "Super" later became a regular newsreader on the Wake Up To Wogan show, and was famed among TOGs for his impression of coughing sheep which became a running 'gag' on the programme. Prior to Marsh's retirement, the travel bulletins were also presented by the morning's newsreader, and Bowles presented them in the shows either side of WUTW.

Younger listeners were sometimes called "TYGs" (Terry's Young Geezers/Gals); a frequent joke being that many TYGs were children forced to listen to WUTW in the car while being driven to school. Often, younger listeners getting in touch with the show were jokingly told to "get lost".

Regular contributors[edit]

Humorous contributors[edit]

The show relied heavily on e-mailed material sent in by listeners that was then read out on air, and there were many regular contributors from the general public. Often a pseudonym was used by the contributor(s) for comic effect. A few of these regular contributors are listed below:

  • Mick Sturbs was the author of the Janet and John stories which were sent in to WUTW every three weeks so that they could be read out in the presence of John Marsh. The stories were released on four CD volumes, and the collected scripts have also been published under the title What Janet and John Did Next to raise money for the BBC Children in Need appeal. Betty Bickerdyke often featured in the Janet and John stories and she also appeared in emails relating to "Deadly", particularly those relating to the "Wealdstone Tan and Touch-Up Emporium". Melanie Frontage was a character from the Janet and John stories. See John Run: The Complete Radio 2 Janet and John Marsh Stories as Told by Terry Wogan by Kevin Joslin was published in October 2009.
  • Chuffer Dandridge, also a frequent contributor to Wake Up to Wogan, was a resting Shakespearean actor-manager who often e-mailed into the show to make comments regarding Sir Terry, or something in the news.[5] He would also mistakenly refer to a road or place featured in the travel bulletins as an old acting friend: "Did I hear Lynn mention my old friend Bradford Bypass?" Chuffer often mentioned his producer/director friend Dickie "Touch" Tingles who was, allegedly, a famous Music Hall veteran. Another long-running joke was the mention of him being owed a 'white fiver' (a pre-1957 Five Pound Note) by that person.
  • Barnsley Chop, Dora Jarr, Lou Smorrels and Edna Cloud were also regular contributors to the programme, deliberately choosing their pseudonyms as a play on words.
  • Crookey of Old Bangor Town, Horatio Q. Birdbath, Katie Mallett and Wilting Baz often wrote poetry based on the day's news stories or an ode to one of the newsreaders.

Often an e-mail was signed off with a name that was a double entendre. Wogan was (usually!) good at cutting off his reading of an e-mail if it started becoming too rude for transmission. Other contributors included Gethin Nunn, Palacia Betts, Tansy Whitebytts and Alan Scape-Gardener.

Pause for Thought[edit]

At around 9:15am, the programme included a short interlude, where a moment of religious-related opinion was shared with Wogan and the listeners. Regular contributors included:

This short section was carried over into the show's successor The Chris Evans Breakfast Show and its following incarnation, hosted by Zoe Ball. It has been broadcast at breakfast time on Radio 2 since 6 April 1970[6] though it had its roots in a similar spot on the old Light Programme, Five to Ten.[7]

Holidays and cover[edit]

Wogan was famous for the amount of holiday leave he took and had numerous presenters cover his absence over the years.

Originally, Dawn Patrol host Sarah Kennedy covered for him after persuading then Radio 2 Controller Frances Line that she was most suitable for the job. A couple of "dubious" moments whilst Kennedy was in the chair during the late 1990s under James Moir's reign, however, resulted in Ed Stewart being granted the accolade. In the last few years of the show Johnnie Walker had usually deputised for Wogan although Richard Allinson had also frequently taken this role. Allinson tended to cover the show during Bank Holidays.

During the Christmas break in 2007, Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond covered the show's slot for several days and Jonathan Ross had been known to present the show on a one-off occasion. From 2008 until Wogan's final holiday leave prior to his retirement from the breakfast show, Johnnie Walker had been the usual stand-in for Wogan. Contributors often used to joke that it was Terry Wogan who was in fact the stand-in for Johnnie Walker.


  1. ^ "Sir Terry to leave breakfast show". BBC News. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  2. ^ "Wake Up to Wogan: Programme copy". BBC Press Office. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  3. ^ "What is a Tog?". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  4. ^ "Wogan's Faithful TOGs". Daily Express. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  5. ^ Archer, Blimpe (1 February 2016). "I was Terry Wogan's `other listener'". The Irish News. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  6. ^ BBC Genome Project - Radio Times listings
  7. ^ BBC Genome Project - Radio Times listings

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