Raising a glass to Sir Terry Wogan at Eurovision Song Contest

Sir Terry Wogan. Photo: Katie Collins/PA Wire
Sir Terry Wogan. Photo: Katie Collins/PA Wire

It’s all about anniversaries at the moment. On June 1, exactly 70 years ago, television licences were introduced in this country.

When John Logie Baird publicly demonstrated his television system in May 1925, no one could have known how influential the telly would become.

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

At first the TV was only used for military broadcasts and newsworthy stories. In 1930 Baird installed a TV set in 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister.

The television which evolved from the first device using a biscuit tin and knitting needle is now a central part of life in virtually every home in the developed world.

And, after mentioning Dallas the other week, last weekend saw another television spectacle with the return of the Eurovision Song Contest.

This year was a landmark episode as was exactly 60 years ago that the song contest was first held. It was May 24 1956 and Switzerland was poised to broadcast all over Europe.

While John Logie Baird may be excited to see how TV has changed the world of communication, I’m not sure the programmes we watch today are the newsworthy broadcasts he expected to be coming out his ground-breaking invention. He would probably be glad he was not around to witness some of the rubbish that comes out of a television set these days!

I’ve never really liked Eurovision but I do know I am in a minority. It’s a huge event for a lot of people with parties held up and down the country and houses full of enthusiasts. The Eurovision Song Contest has a following like nothing else.

This year, of course, was tinged with sadness, as it is the first year it’s been broadcast since the wonderful Sir Terry Wogan died.

Although he hasn’t presented it for a few years now, for me, Sir Terry was synonymous with the contest.

It was his wonderful warm voice, witty banter and barbed comments about the contestants which made it worth watching.