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Sir Terry Wogan: Stars pay tribute at Westminster Abbey

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The thanksgiving service was held on the 50th anniversary of the late broadcaster’s BBC debut

Chris Evans, Joanna Lumley and Peter Gabriel were among those to pay tribute at a celebratory memorial service for Sir Terry Wogan.

The Westminster Abbey service was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 on the 50th anniversary of Sir Terry’s first BBC radio broadcast.

Radio 2 presenter Evans said: “Terry Wogan wasn’t the best – he is the best, and he will always be the best.”

Sir Terry, who died in January, used to host the Radio 2 breakfast show.

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Sir Terry’s daughter Katherine, son Alan, his widow Helen and their son Mark, left together following the service of thanksgiving

Sir Terry’s dulcet tones were heard echoing in the Abbey against a backdrop of archive images of the much-loved broadcaster as the service was opened by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall.

The Queen was represented at the service by lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey.

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Evans said he was invited to lunch at “Wogan Towers” when he took over the Radio 1 Breakfast Show

Evans, who appeared to be emotional as his tribute drew to a close, said Sir Terry’s best advice to him was when he began presenting the Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 1996, saying: “They either like you, or they don’t.”

He said he first began listening to the veteran broadcaster when he was 17, while driving his orange Mini, preferring Sir Terry’s “naughtier” and more entertaining Radio 2 breakfast show to its Radio 1 counterpart.

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Katie Melua, who performed at the memorial, had been championed by Sir Terry

BBC director general Tony Hall said during his tribute that “the bedrock of his (Sir Terry’s) life was his family”.

He spoke of the broadcaster’s “numerous” Eurovision quips, adding: “My own favourite comes from 2007, when he announced as the coverage began: ‘Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? Actually I do, I’ve seen the rehearsals!”‘

He added: “Thank you, Sir Terry, on behalf of everyone at the BBC, and all your audiences, for giving us so much sheer, unalloyed joy.”

Peter Gabriel performed That’ll Do from the film Babe: Pig in the City, which Sir Terry chose as his favourite Desert Island Disc track in 2012.

Katie Melua, whom Sir Terry championed on Radio 2, sang an acoustic version of her hit The Closest Thing to Crazy.

Other guests included Alan Titchmarsh, Tess Daly, Alesha Dixon, Maureen Lipman, Esther Rantzen, Gaby Roslin, June Whitfield, Jimmy Tarbuck, Simon Mayo, Aled Jones, Rory Bremner and Richard Stilgoe.

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Sir Terry Wogan’s service was attended by hundreds of guests

Broadcaster Gloria Hunniford said before the service: “It’s a very special event. I feel happy and sad. Sad because we have to be here to celebrate his life, happy that we’ve got a chance to say goodbye.

“He would be saying, ‘what’s this all about?’. But we never got a chance to say goodbye.”

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Joanna Lumley and Peter Gabriel both took part in the service

Radio 2 presenter Ken Bruce read a poem, WB Yeats’ The Song Of Wandering Aengus at the service, while Lumley recited a poem she wrote with Richard Stilgoe especially for the event, titled For the Former Greatest Living Irishman.

Their poem began: “How shall I praise him? Let me count the ways/I think he was the tops, the cat’s miaow; For pity’s sake, who else would you allow to mutter in your ear each dawn of days/Just rambling on, with nothing on his mind?”

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The service was also shown on big screens in the Abbey

Sir Terry’s children Alan, Mark and Katherine read prayers for their father and archive recordings of Sir Terry were played throughout the event.

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Other guests included Dermot O’Leary and Claudia Winkleman

The church collection was in aid of Children in Need, of which Sir Terry was life president. The BBC Concert Orchestra closed the service with a rendition of Floral Dance, a hit for Sir Terry in 1978.

Other music featured included Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Greensleeves and Arthur Sullivan’s Overture from The Pirates of the Penzance.

Meanwhile, Take That, Ellie Goulding and Rick Astley are among the acts who have been announced for a special BBC Children In Need Rocks concert to honour Sir Terry.

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Sir Terry and Fearne Cotton presented Children in Need together

Other artists will include Olly Murs, Gregory Porter, Michael Ball, Alfie Boe and Alexander Armstrong.

The event, on 1 November at London’s Royal Albert Hall, will be hosted by Fearne Cotton and Greg James.

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Terry Wogan began his career working as a radio DJ

A series of tribute programmes for Sir Terry are being broadcast on BBC One and BBC Radio 2.

A two-part special, titled Thank You For Being My Friend – A Tribute to Terry Wogan, featuring interviews with his friends and colleagues, is being aired on Radio 2. The first instalment of the programme, presented by Ken Bruce, was broadcast on Monday night, with the second aired on Tuesday.

The BBC One tribute, Sir Terry Wogan Remembered: 50 Years at the BBC, will be broadcast on Friday 30 September at 21:00 BST.

In January, Sir Terry’s family said the 77-year-old had died “after a short but brave battle with cancer”.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-37477934