Terry Wogan shows how to sign off

Terry Wogan’s graceful and whimsical goodbye was a victory for him as the nation’s court jester – and for BBC Radio 2 Sir Terry Wogan’s whimsical announcement yesterday morning that he will be stepping down from his hallowed Radio 2 breakfast slot left me and his millions of listeners, I’ll wager, with a sense of relief at the manner of his departure.

image There seemed no rancour in Wogan’s words to sully his achievements. It is never easy to say goodbye, but he is bowing out graciously, at the top of his game, and without moaning, at 71. To have done anything less would have undermined his status as the nation’s court jester.

The manner of Wogan’s gentle easing out is also quite unlike the bad tempered mood that marked the ousting of Radio 2’s other knight, Sir Jimmy Young, back in 2002.

Young’s disgust at being parted from his show at the age of 81, after 29 years, resulted in him accusing the BBC of brutality. It all left a nasty taste.

More generally, the BBC’s top executives can sometimes be charged with ineptitude in the way they tend to handle their big names, with Ed Stourton’s ousting from the Today programme a particularly sad recent example.

But at least Radio 2’s newish controller, Bob Shennan, has got this one right. He has also inherited some long-term succession planning from previous controller Lesley Douglas.

Chris Evans, who has been hosting Radio 2’s drivetime show for the past three-and-a-bit years, has eased himself happily into the station, and possesses the right cheery reservoir of prattle and experience to take over as seamlessly as is possible.

If Simon Mayo can be rescued from the phonein wastes of Radio 5 Live to take the vacant Radio 2 drive slot, then so much the better.

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