Speaking a very small amount of ill of the Dead

They say you should never speak ill of the dead, unless there is something serious to be spoken of. Imagine staying quiet about Jimmy Savile. This is not a case remotely like that.

January’s toll of the famous and well-known has not been allowed to lapse, as the last day of the month sees the death of the broadcaster Terry Wogan, at the age of 77: another victim of cancer.

Being one of the apparent few immune to Wogan’s charms, I find myself similarly immune to any sense of loss. He was a presence on Radio 1 when I first began to listen to it regularly, until Radio 1 finally was given its own, separate frequency, allowing it to forego sharing with Radio 2 in the afternoon.

I watched his chat show on BBC1 regularly, because my mother liked it, and because from time to time he had on guests in whom I was interested, but when it came to chat shows, there were several others I would rather watch handling those on whom celebrity had devolved.

And when I began my fascination with the voting machinations of the Eurovision Song Contest, I rapidly began to loathe Wogan’s much-celebrated but increasingly phone-it-in commentary, with its barely disguised anti-Eastern European xenophobia and his refusal to allow the viewer to enjoy anything that smacked of the host country’s culture. Frankly, I was convinced he actually stopped commenting ten years before his retirement, and the BBC just played the same commentary over and again, in the security of knowing no-one would notice.

But these are trivial things, and all they mean is that Terry Wogan was not to my taste. His family and friends will mourn him, and so too will the listeners of all formats who thought of him as a friend, however removed they were from ever meeting him. January has been a cruel month, whether it personally affected me or not. Let us hope that February gives us more of a relief.

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