Friday 5 December 2008

Tempora mutantur

This is sad news, if hardly unexpected. As I remarked at the time, the Great Man seemed unhappy last year, even showing signs of taking the whole thing seriously - so clearly it was time to move on. Eurovision will be very different with the twinkly, giggly, hyperfluent Norton providing the commentary. Wogan's comments were always few and far between, perfectly timed to make the silences between them eloquent - hard to see Norton managing that trick. His turns of phrase were pleasingly archaic (not, needless to say, in the arch, self-advertising Russell Brand way) and he made telling use of understatement - again not Norton's forte. Ah well, times change - and Royaume Unie seems to have been suckered into trying to win next time, with a Lloyd-Webber-led Surge. It won't work - and watching the proceedings will, I fear, no longer have its obscure but potent charm.


  1. I've just learned about this terrible news and came right here. As expected, you write about this sad day far more eloquently than ever could. Terry will be missed and Norton snubbed. What was mildly camp will become nothing but camp. The BBC never understood what a gem they had. I can't bear to watch them destroy what was a good thing. I know that I won't be watching.

    This is a dark day. A very dark day.

  2. Ken Bruce on the radio is almost as sarky as Wogan, so he would have been the ideal replacement. Or maybe Clement Freud. Or Clive James.

    I sympathise with Wogan's position - even as an evening of camp irony, the shameless vote-rigging meant it was getting unfunny and boring.

  3. I agree, the contest really did need a more arch, bemused, distant and rather hang-dog commentator along the Clive James/Clement Freud mode.

    I think if the BBC can pay Jonathon Ross 18m for a coupla years they can pay Jeremy Paxman ten or twenty to do the eurovision for a night. Would be entirely worth it.