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.
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.
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.
There are pillars in all our rear-view mirrors. Things that make up the vista of our lives and provide cultural cornerstones when adult life shifts underfoot. When they're suddenly not there, it's felt, sometimes deeply. Look at David Bowie and how his death caused middle-aged men to weep for teenage years of escapism and the unpleasant idea that a formative totem was now gone from the existential diorama.