Honorary Degrees, July 2010: no.10 – Wogan!

Posted by mjs76 at Jul 14, 2010 01:04 PM |
El Tel. The TOGmeister. Lord Wogan of Radio2shire.

He has been confirmed by NASA scientists as the greatest living broadcaster in the solar system. He is regarded as a minor deity on some isolated South Pacific islands, In the UK he is a national institution on a par with roast beef, Routemaster buses and the Red Arrows (even though he is, of course, actually Irish). He is Sir Terry Wogan – and he is receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Leicester on 16 July.

To say the campus is abuzz with excitement would be an understatement.

Summarising Sir Terry’s career would be an exercise in futility, not just because he has done so much, but also because everyone knows what he has done because we all watched it or listened to it. At its peak, his Radio 2 show had eight million listeners, more than any other European radio programme.

wogan3.jpgThe man’s broadcasting output is prodigious. He presented the Radio 2 Breakfast Show for 12 years until 1984 and then for a further 16 years (as Wake Up to Wogan) from 1993 until last year. During this time he also presented Come Dancing for five years, Blankety Blank for five years, his thrice-weekly TV chat show Wogan for seven years, Auntie’s Bloomers for ten years, the Eurovision Song Contest for 28 years and Children in Need for thirty years and counting.

More esoteric work has included his notorious version of ‘The Floral Dance’ (which reached number 21 in the charts), voicing the cartoon series Stoppit and Tidyup and cameos as himself in The Vicar of Dibley, Ashes to Ashes and Being Human.

Truly the man is a legend. But what is his connection with Leicester?

The Leicester Connection

wogan4.jpgWay back in the 1980s, Wogan observed on his radio show that Leicester was mentioned in traffic reports but nobody ever seemed to go there. It was just somewhere signposted off the M1. He called it “the lost city”. It became something of a running joke on the programme, but the inhabitants of Leicester were less amused.

Regular listeners to Wake Up to Wogan are known as TOGs, which stands for Terry’s Old Geezers/Gals, and the most loyal, hardcore coterie of TOGs have a three-day convention each year where they do silly things and raise money for Children in Need.

In 2005, the TOGs convention came to the ‘lost city’ of Leicester, specifically the University of Leicester’s conference facilities. They have been back ever since and for the last few years the TOGmeister himself has graced the event with his presence, along with members of his Radio 2 production team.

All this has generated lots of goodwill and good publicity for the city of Leicester. So at last year’s TOGs convention, our Vice-Chancellor announced that Sir Terry would be awarded with an honorary degree from the University – which he will collect on Friday afternoon, in front of graduating students from our College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology.

As Private Eye might say:

Salutamus Terrius Wogansis, broadcastus Hiberniae et descoverent ‘citius incognito' Lecesteria."