Northern Ireland news

BBC rejection of young Wogan did career 'no harm at all'

Terry Wogan was turned down for a job at BBC Two by Sir David Attenborough

A DECISION to turn down Terry Wogan as a BBC Two presenter did his career "no harm at all", according to the Belfast-born broadcaster whose presence was one of the reasons he was rejected.

Letters uncovered within the BBC's archive show that Sir David Attenborough, then controller of the new channel, rejected Wogan's bid for work in 1965 on the grounds it already had an Irish announcer - Denis Tuohy.

He erroneously told the Limerick-born presenter, who died last month aged 77, that they were unable to offer him a job as one of their chief announcers was from Dublin.

"We would feel, other things being equal, that we should look for someone from a different part of the country if we were to make an additional appointment," he wrote.

Mr Tuohy last night said he had been unaware of Wogan's application.

"I never knew this happened until last week when I was contacted by the Radio Times," he said.

"I have seen what David Attenborough has said, that he still stands by his decision, and I personally think it was the right decision too.

"There was only one chat programme on the channel at the time and for Terry and I both to be involved, we would have been far too similar - we even looked alike.

"We were both dark haired and with the accent, people would have thought we were the same person."

Mr Tuohy, who is originally from Belfast, also laughed off the fact his former boss believed he was from Dublin.

"I haven't been called a Dubliner before. To be fair my mother was from Dublin and my father from Clare, so it's all very mixed up."

He also added that the rejection failed to ruin Wogan's thriving television and radio career.

"Perhaps if there had been more chat show programmes on the channel at the time, then Terry might have been given a job," he said.

"But the fact he got turned down did him no harm at all, his career couldn't have gone any better."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news