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

Wogan was 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 until 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'. Wogan ended its run in July 1992 (it was replaced by the soap opera Eldorado). Terry Wogan himself would reappear with a weekly late night chat show on BBC1, Terry Wogan's Friday Night, in October 1992. However the new series was not a success and was cancelled after 20 episodes.

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 late night chat show Saturday Matters with Sue Lawley 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:

  • Anne Bancroft was in a catatonic trance and refused to answer certain questions.[2]
  • Ronnie Barker announcing his retirement from showbusiness in 1988.[3]
  • George Best appearing on the show while drunken and swearing.[3]
  • Cilla Black appearing as a guest in 1983. By this point, Black's career had been largely reduced to performing cabaret in clubs. According to Christopher Biggins in his autobiography, she "stormed back into the public consciousness with a barnstorming performance as a guest on Wogan in 1983, proving that we can all have second chances" and after her appearance, people were "desperately trying to find her the right comeback vehicle".[4]
  • David Bowie refusing to co-operate during an interview. As Wogan put it: "David Bowie, well he probably wasn't at his best when I interviewed him. But I thought a solid slap would have helped the situation. I didn't hit him, of course, but it came close. For some reason best known to him he came on the show unwilling to talk.".[5]
  • Madonna appeared in a special show, Wogan Meets Madonna in 1991, in which Wogan interviewed her in Cannes. She had requested that the interview was filmed in black and white but was refused.
  • David Icke appearing on the show and claiming to be "a son of the Godhead".[3]
  • Victoria Principal gave a feisty interview in 1984 and was herself crying with laughter at Wogan's mocking of her series, Dallas. The two became friends and Principal made further appearances on the show, often via satellite.[citation needed]
  • 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 Wogan, where at one point she feigned to forget his name.[citation needed]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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 in 1985, Collins again refused to appear, though she did appear on the rival Des O'Connor Tonight show, which was broadcast by ITV at the same time that evening. Eventually, in 1988, she did appear on Wogan, in a special programme dedicated to her. However, a subsequent appearance to promote one of her novels led to an extremely irritated exchange with the host.
  • Jackie Collins and Barbara Cartland appeared as joint guests in 1987, in which 86-year-old Cartland proceeded to slam Collins' novels for their racey content. Actor Ed Asner was also a guest and sat silently watching from the end of the couch as Collins and Cartland verbally sparred.
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • Vivienne Westwood appearing on the show in 1988 when it was being guest-hosted by Sue Lawley, and displaying her latest medically inspired collection. When the audience collapsed into laughter, an offended Westwood told Lawley that if they didn't stop laughing, she'd tell the models to stop coming out. Russell Harty was one of the other guests present, in one of his last television appearances.[6]
  • Chevy Chase remaining silent through his interview.[citation needed]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • Fanny Cradock made her last BBC TV appearance on the show in 1986 and told Wogan his questioning was "very rude" and "very English".[citation needed]
  • Nicolas Cage appeared on the show in 1990, doing somersaults and karate kicks as he came onto the stage, and then took his T-shirt off during the interview and gave it to Wogan as a gift.


  1. ^ Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 323. ISBN 1-84854-195-3. 
  2. ^ "Terry Wogan: My kids flee the room to escape me". Mail Online. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Sir Terry's long career on radio". BBC News. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Biggins, Christopher (2009). Just Biggins: My Story. John Blake. ISBN 1844546543. 
  5. ^ "'I nearly hit Bowie' confesses Wogan". Irish Independent. 30 August 2000. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "You're not to laugh!", TV Cream

External links[edit]