Wednesday 28 September 2016

David Attenborough 'rebuffed' Terry Wogan's BBC presenter job application because they had an Irish announcer

Kerri-Ann Roper

Published 09/02/2016 | 07:30

Larger than life: Terry Wogan, one of life's icons who left us recently
Larger than life: Terry Wogan, one of life's icons who left us recently

Letters unearthed from the BBC archives reveal that Terry Wogan was turned down for a job as a BBC Two presenter by David Attenborough in 1965.

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Two archive letters show that Terry wrote to BBC Two in 1964 and again a year later in 1965 but was "politely rebuffed", on the second occasion directly by David, who was the controller of the channel at the time.

BREEZY: Terry with his family in 1972. Photo: PA
BREEZY: Terry with his family in 1972. Photo: PA

The letters form part of the latest edition of Radio Times which is paying tribute to Terry following his death from cancer aged 77 at the end of January.

Talking to the Radio Times, David said he does not recall the letter addressed to him as he received more than 10,000 letters a year. He said: "Good Lord! He wrote asking me for work? I don't remember this at all."

Terry's letter, typed on the notepaper of Irish broadcaster RTE, says: "My reason for writing to you is simply ambition."

He goes on to add that he "should like to extend the sphere of my television activities, to see if the success which I have enjoyed in Ireland can be translated to British television".

David's reply is frank as he writes that "we do not have any vacancies for anyone with your particular talents and experience".

Reflecting on his reply now, David said: "To have had two Irishmen presenting on BBC Two would have looked ridiculous. This is no comment whatsoever on Terry Wogan's talents."

The BBC confirmed that Terry's funeral would take place this week, and that it would be a private service.

Herald

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