View All Art Works By Terry Wogan & MAC
His genteel, velvety Irish brogue has entertained legions and (and dare we utter it) generations of radio fans over the past 50 years that he’s been an instantly recognisable voice on the radio and equally so, face on the TV. A long time before subsequent BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show hosts declared ratings war on Wogan’s long-standing Radio 2 early morning show, the genial Irishman ruled the airwaves with his effortless delivery, gentle prodding and cajoling and infectious laughter. This presentation quality crossed over with considerable ease to his televisual persona, and his enduring image has long been a British broadcasting crutch, which saw him establish himself as a household name throughout the 1970s/80s and 90s and beyond as a succession of popular telly shows kept him firmly in the public’s conscience.
From Blankety Blank and his own ‘Wogan’ chat show, right smack, bang up to date with the presenting duties on the National Lottery Live;Wogan has featured prominently across our more traditional media. Perhaps aside from his ‘Wake up To Wogan’ radio show, the entertainer is best known for fronting both the Eurovision Song Contest (until late) – where his subtle yet acerbic put-downs were the stuff of legend – and the Beeb’s marathonic annual fundraiser, Children in Need. Yet it’s to the radio that Wogan’s surprise artistry has stemmed, although having said that it’s my association and accident with the greatest of respect rather than by design. Of his making that is. However all will be revealed over the next paragraph or two.
Born in County Limerick in Ireland in 1938, Sir Michael Terence Wogan is often referred to as a national treasure, and deservedly so in our case, and has been a leading media personality in the UK since the late 1960s. Aside from the aforementioned live chat show, ‘Wogan’ (where he interviewed some of the biggest names in showbusiness of the day during the 1980s), he’s got an extensive back catalogue of television credits to his name. Yet everything really took off for Wogan when he landed the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show gig in 1972, after which he amassed a whopping 7.6 million regular listeners after a relatively short amount of time.
Hyperbole put to one side for a moment, it’s fair to say that ‘Wake up To Wogan’ was the most listened to programme on British radio at various stages during the past five decades he’s been presenting, and it’s those very listeners which provide the artistic link we’re looking for here. And admittedly just why Tel makes it to our Artist Biography pages on this particular occasion. You see, for those not in the know, Wogan colloquially refers to his army of listeners as TOGS, collectively speaking. The acronym meaning ‘Terry’s Old Geezers/Gals’. The TOGS are regularly identified and gently ridiculed for their somewhat stereotypical traits, as perceived by the rest of society at large. Not to put too finer point on it but typically tell-taleelderly-isms such as absent mindedness, cynicism and befuddlement at modern society’s habits. Wogan, as their unelected yet archetypal leader was often known as the ‘TOGmeister’ and of course revelled in all the silliness and light-heartedness of it all.
Any younger listeners which Wogan’s iconic radio show managed to recruit were then referred to as ‘TYGs’, which again is an acronym for ‘Terry’s Young Geezers/Gals’, who were habitually subjected to staged animosity/running joke whenever they contacted the show live on air by readily being told to ‘get lost’ by Wogan. It’s the presenter’s historical belief that the nucleus of these TYGs were children forced to listen to Wogan’s radio show in the car while being driven to school by their parents.
Either way – and back to the nature of this artistically-biased sermon – THE ART BIT, and as part of what’s been described in most quarters as an exciting collaboration between Wogan and celebrated newspaper cartoonist of yore, MAC (aka, Stanley McMurtry), Wogan’s famous TOGs have been literally brought to illustrated life by MAC courtesy of a series of humourous cartoons. These witty graphical extracts perfectly capture the satirical essence and good-natured objectivising of Wogan’s Old Geezers and Gals, and pictorially cement precisely what he believes his merry band of radio followers are like in real life. Think long-running Daily Express cartooning dynasty,Giles with an (albeit, discreet) hint of Viz, and you’ll be along the right lines as life-long friends Wogan and McMurtry banded together as artists-in-arms to originate and produce an initial and exclusive set of six beautiful prints. In Wogan’s own words; “I hope the words in this collection bring back as many happy memories for you as they do for me”. Watch this space for more OAP shenanigans soon, we fear/hope…..