Tuesday 20 March 2018

Terry Wogan 'trained me' by pouring water down my neck on live radio - Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy
Mike Murphy

John Brennan

Broadcaster Mike Murphy has paid tribute to his late friend Terry Wogan - who helped "train" him by pouring water down his neck during a live radio announcement.

Legendary presenter Wogan passed away after a "short but brave battle with cancer" on Sunday morning.

RTE star Murphy remembered Wogan (77) as a great tutor, with a greater sense of humour.

"When I started as a news presenter in Radio Eireann he was my boss," Mike said.

"He had a fantastic sense of humour - and he was exactly the same off as he was on the air."

In particular, he remembered one incident where Mr Wogan played a prank on him during a broadcast.

"On my first major announcement of a symphony concert he was in the studio with me - and he poured water down my neck while I was making the announcement," he told the Herald. "It was good training, you learned quickly and you learned to handle things on the air. He thought it was a big joke and initially I was taken aback - as you can imagine."

The years Murphy spent under Wogan's watchful eyes he described "as a great bit of fun".

"We used to have refresher courses where the senior announcers took the junior announcers to train them and have a day with them and he would say 'I'll meet you on the first tee in Edmondstown [golf club]'. He'd say before we teed off, 'Is there anything bothering you?' - I'd say 'No' and then he'd say, 'Right, I'll play you for a pound' and that's how we both took up golf at the same time - doing our refreshers for RTE," Mr Murphy said.

Another who remembered Wogan fondly was Stephen Ducie (66) who at 13 years of age worked in a garage where Mr Wogan would regularly fill up his car when he worked for RTE.


"He'd come in and fill up the car and he'd always tip six pence. I'd get the six pence and run down the road and get a coke and a cream bun. There was no money in those days, so I always remembered him as a kind man," he said.

Though he became a legendary broadcaster, Terry Wogan started out his career working in a Dublin bank.

The Limerick native moved to Dublin as a teenager and studied for his Leaving Cert at Belvedere College. He was offered a job four years later at a bank in Phibsboro.

"The Royal Bank of Ireland was looking for clean-living, well-brought-up, middle-class young men who could add up," he remembered in his autobiography, 'Is It Me?'.


"I had never thought I'd end up working in a bank."

He began training for his career, but feared he would be assigned to somewhere outside Dublin. As a teenager anywhere else "might as well have been a gulag" to him, he said.

Luckily, he was not to be sent too far from home. "Someone must have been storming heaven for me," he said.

"I lived a life of drinking, dancing, the pictures and coffee at the Rainbow Cafe, all on two-and-a-half quid a week."

Shortly after this he got his big break with Radio Eireann and met the love of his life and future wife Helen. He said: "There she was, the most beautiful woman in Ireland, with blindingly Titian hair, looking about six-foot tall."


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