After more than 30 years spent guiding viewers through the highs and lows, panache and pizzazz of the extraordinary world of the Eurovision Song Contest, Sir Terry Wogan, the doyen of the show is bowing out of the competition. He will leave the prestigious BBC One presenting reins in the capable hands of Eurovision fan Graham Norton. Terry says: “I’ve had 35 wonderful years commentating on the Eurovision for radio and television.
“From my first, in a small music-hall in Dublin, to my last, in the huge arena in Belgrade, it has been nothing but laughter and fun. The silly songs, the spectacle, the grandiose foolishness of it all.”I’ll be sad to leave it all behind, but I’ll be watching and listening, and happy to leave it in the witty hands of Graham.
“Let’s hope that between him and the musical brilliance of Lloyd Webber, Royaume Uni will gather its proper share of ‘Douze Points’ and bring the Grand Prix home to where it belongs.”
Graham says: “As a long time fan of the Eurovision this is an amazing job and a huge honour.
“Sir Terry is nothing less than legend and is an impossible act to follow but somebody must and I just couldn’t say no.
“I can’t wait to get to Moscow â€“ with a combination of cheap vodka and a language barrier what could possibly go wrong?”
In the new year Graham hosts Your Country Needs You on BBC One â€“ the UK public’s chance to choose the act that will perform Andrew Lloyd Webber’s specially composed song in Moscow 2009.
Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One, says: “Terry has enhanced viewer’s enjoyment of Eurovision for many years and I would like to thank him for all of his work on the programmes.
“I am delighted that Graham Norton will now be bringing his wit to bear on this iconic music event.”
Graham’s association with the Eurovision title began with the Eurovision Dance Contest which he has presented for the last two years.
Terry Wogan first provided commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973 and again in 1978, before taking on the commentary role completely from 1980.
The Eurovision Song Contest has been broadcast every year since 1956, which makes it one of the longest-running television programmes in the world.
The United Kingdom first participated at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1957, the second competition.
The UK first won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967 when Sandie Shaw sang Puppet On A String. Lulu, Brotherhood of Man and Bucks Fizz have also shared the honour.
The last UK entry to win the title was in 1997 â€“ Love Shine A Light performed by Katrina And The Waves.
In 2003 the UK got the infamous “nul points” with Jemini’s Cry Baby.
Graham Norton’s association with the Eurovision began in 2007 when he presented the first Eurovision Dance Contest.
The 54th Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the Olimpiyskiy (Olympic) Stadium, Moscow in 2009.
MAIN PHOTO BY FABRIZIO BELLUSCHI