Sir David Attenborough turned down Sir Terry Wogan for a job

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 9 February 2016
Terry Wogan

Sir Terry Wogan

Sir David Attenborough served Sir Terry Wogan a shocking blow in 1965 when he snubbed the TV personality's application for a vacancy at the BBC

Sir David Attenborough refused to give Sir Terry Wogan a presenting job in 1965.

The late legendary broadcaster, who died at the end of last month following a short battle with cancer, wrote to the 89-year-old naturalist when he was just 26 years old asking to be considered for a vacancy at the BBC but his efforts were rejected because he didn't fit the channel's criteria.

In a series of correspondence dug up from the BBC Archive, Sir Terry - who was working for Irish Broadcaster RTE at the time - said his main reason for penning the letter was "simply ambition" and he hoped Sir David would be "receptive enough of new ideas and personalities."

However, Sir David - who was controller of BBC Two at the time - shot down the application because the channel already had an announcer - Denis Tuohy - from Dublin.

He replied: "I'm afraid that at the moment we do not have any vacancies for anyone with your particular talents and experience - and as one of our chief announcers on BBC2 is also from Dublin. We would feel, other things being equal, we should look for someone from a different part of the country if we were to make an additional appointment."

However, despite the knock back, Sir Terry - who passed away on January 31, 2016 aged 77 - made his big break on the channel one year later when he was offered a job on the BBC Light Programme in 1966, fronting 'Midday Spin'.

When Sir David was asked about the exchange, he told the Radio Times magazine he had no recollection of the letter and had met Sir Terry on numerous occasions afterwards but he had never mentioned the shocking rejection.

He told the publication: "Good Lord, he wrote to me asking for work? I don't remember this at all."

But, despite his disbelief, Sir David, still stands by his decision.

He explained: "I think it was a perfectly reasonable answer. To have had two Irishmen presenting on BBC Two would have looked ridiculous. This is no comment whatsoever on Terry Wogan's talents."

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