Sheila O’Kelly profiles the renowned radio and television broadcaster on the anniversary of his death


Sir Michael Terence Wogan, radio and television broadcaster, was born on the 3rd August 1938 at Cleary’s Nursing Home, Elm Park, Limerick. Terry was educated at Crescent College, a Jesuit school in Limerick. When he was fifteen years old, his family moved to Dublin and Terry attended Belvedere College in Dublin. He participated in amateur dramatics and discovered a love for rock and roll.

When he graduated from Belvedere in 1956, he worked in the Royal Bank of Ireland. In 1961, Terry joined Radió Éireann that was based at the time in the General Post Office in Dublin. He worked as a disc jockey for Radió Éireann notably on sponsored programmes and presented Hospital’s Requests.

In 1964, Terry commenced working for Radió Telfís Éireann. During his first two years, he conducted interviews and presented documentary features, before moving on to the Light Entertainment Department as a disc jockey and host of TV quiz and variety shows such as Jackpot – a general knowledge quiz show that was broadcasted from January 1962 to June 1965.

In April 1965, Terry married Dublin-born model Helen Joyce. The couple resided in Dublin and had four children (their daughter Vanessa died from a heart condition when she was only a few weeks old).

When Jackpot was dropped by RTÉ in 1967 and replaced by Quick Silver, presented by Bunny Carr (RIP), Terry approached the BBC for extra work. He was offered work on BBC Light programmes including Midday Spin and Housewives’ Choice.

Between 1967-1969, Terry commuted between Dublin and London to present the weekly edition of Late Night Extra on BBC One. During these years, he also presented RTÉ’s televised coverage of the ‘Rose of Tralee’ in County Kerry.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own