Terry Wogan accused of ‘spoiling’ Eurovision with jokes
Late Eurovision host Sir Terry Wogan has been accused of “spoiling” Eurovision with his jokes about acts.
Former British Eurovision contestants jumped to the defence of Wogan after Swedish producer Christer Bjorkman said he had ruined the credibility of the show.
Bjokman said he would not have allowed Wogan to present the show.
The late host died in January aged 77.
The Swedish producer was asked why Eurovision is not taken particularly seriously in the UK, said: “There are several reasons, one is Terry Wogan himself.
“He did this for 28 years and his commentary always forced the mockery side and there is a grown-up generation in Britain that doesn’t know anything better.
“He raised a generation of viewers believing this was a fun kitsch show that had no relevance whatsoever.”
Bjorkman went on: “It totally spoiled Eurovision. Because of what Terry Wogan did, the UK don’t put in their best efforts.
“But it’s the BBC who wanted him and let him, they did not stop him. He did his best and he did what he did very well, make fun of something, but if I would have been in charge I would never have chosen him.”
Cheryl Baker, who won Eurovision in 1981, said Bjorkman’s comments were “disrespectful”.
The former Bucks Fizz singer added: “Now he’s dead to disrepect him like that is awful.
“Terry was the face of Eurovision, to the point where other countries watched him because he was so funny, so topical, so witty and so right.
“Mr Bjorkman obviously hasn’t got the British/Irish sense of humour. We love to make fun of ourselves, that’s what we do.
“Terry was the king of self-mockery. Yes he did have the sarcastic irony but it was always done with that lovely Irish lilt and you could never take offence from it.
“He did it for all those years and it’s because people couldn’t get enough of him. Maybe this Swedish bloke hasn’t got much of a sense of humour.”
Blue star Duncan James, who performed at Eurovision in 2011, added: “Terry is a TV legend. I used to love all his comments on Eurovision – it was very much gentle humour and no one took it seriously.
“Graham Norton has taken on the mantle now and is doing something very similar, so you can’t criticise Terry.”
Speaking to the Mirror, a BBC spokesman said: “Sir Terry Wogan is and always will be part of the heritage of the Eurovision Song Contest.
“His unique brand of humour brought millions of people to the competition and he unquestionably helped to establish the show as one of the TV highlights of the year to audiences throughout the UK and beyond.”