Terry Wogan - Children in Need

Iconic host of programmes such as the Eurovision Song Contest and BBC Children in Need, the late, great Sir Terry Wogan enjoyed an illustrious career in radio and television that spanned almost 60 years. The Limerick-born star became an Honorary Knight Commander in 2005 in the Queen's Birthday Honours, after being awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1997.

On leaving Belvedere College in Dublin in 1956 at the age of 18, Terry briefly went into the banking profession but after applying through a newspaper advertisement in his 20s, he was taken on by Raidió Teilifís Éireann as an announcer and newsreader.

This was the start of a long and successful career in the entertainment industry. He first worked for BBC Radio as a disc jockey on the Light Programme in 1966. His big break came in July 1969, when he stood in for regular morning show presenter, Jimmy Young, who was on holiday. Terry’s gentle Irish charm and humour proved so popular with the listeners that he was given his own weekday afternoon slot from 3pm to 5pm.

He began achieving audiences of 7.9 million listeners and even became a recording star, releasing a light-hearted vocal version of the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band's song, The Floral Dance, in 1978 - listeners who enjoyed hearing him singing along with the instrumental version kept asking him to record his own version, so he obliged!

Terry's banter was popular with listeners of all ages and he bridged the generation gap. His television career was equally successful. He hosted a number of chat shows, becoming renowned for his commentary on the Eurovision Song Contest, first for BBC Radio in 1971 and then for television.

After initially commentating for BBC TV in 1974, he became the regular presenter from 1977 until 2008. His humour often revolved around gentle ridicule of some of the contestants, referring to two singers as "Dr Death and the Tooth Fairy" in 2001, which caused some controversy!

Terry also became known as the face of the annual TV fundraiser, BBC Children in Need. He first presented the show in 1980 with Esther Rantzen and Sue Lawley and soon became a campaigner for the charity, hosting fundraising auctions on his radio show. He personally took part in sponsored activities – including an appearance in a special Children in Need fundraising episode called 'Families'.

The same year he released a single, 'Little Drummer Boy - Peace on Earth', with singer Aled Jones, which reached number three in the UK charts. All the proceeds went to Children in Need. Likewise, all the money raised from their second single, 'Silver Bells', was also donated to the charity in 2009.

The fundraiser assists more than 2,400 UK children's charities. Some of its recipients have included Hearing Dogs for Deaf Children; disabled children's charity Whizz Kids; the Pod Charitable Trust; playgroup, trips and events organiser Home Start; and Buttle UK, which buys emergency essentials for kids, such as new beds, when they are living in extreme poverty.

Since 1980, together with famous mascot Pudsey Bear, Children in Need has raised more than £890 million to assist children and young people across the UK. Pudsey was created in 1985 by Joanna Lane in the BBC's design department. He has become an iconic figure over the past three decades and far more than just a logo, with his own range of fundraising merchandise including cuddly teddy bears, clothing, key rings, badges and more.

Terry’s final appearance as the main Children in Need presenter was in 2014. He wasn't able to take part in the November 2015 live appeal, due to having had back surgery and suffering poor health. It was the first time he had ever missed a show in the appeal's history. Sadly, Terry Wogan passed away in January 2016, after being diagnosed with cancer.

In October 2016, it was announced television chat show presenter Graham Norton was to host Children in Need following Terry’s death. Norton described it as a 'huge privilege' to be asked to step in.

This year's Children in Need appeal will take place on 17th November, starting at 7.30pm on BBC1 - fundraisers will be hoping to better last year's total of £60 million. Other famous faces who will be taking part on the night include Strictly Come Dancing star Tess Daly, wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan, Mel Giedroyc of the Great British Bake Off and DJ and radio show host Marvin Humes… and I am sure Sir Terry Wogan will be there in everyone’s hearts.

If you want to support Children in Need, visit the BBC website for practical fundraising ideas.

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