BBC broadcaster Terry Wogan, who the BBC announced succumbed to cancer at age 77, interviewed Beatles Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, plus members of their families during his 50-year broadcasting career. Wogan’s style was folksy, but he wasn’t above asking a penetrating question or two on occasion. Like when he asked Ringo Starr about his decision not to sign any more autographs or George Harrison what he thought about Paul McCartney not attending the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction for the Fab Four.
Here’s a look at some of those interviews.
3/8/1985 – Cynthia Lennon
In 1985, in an appearance on his TV talk show five years after John Lennon had been killed, Terry Wogan asked his first wife Cynthia Lennon if she regretted meeting him. “I feel privileged. I feel very privileged. I had a wonderful upbringing, wonderful childhood and met a man who is remembered and loved still. And I have now have a son who’s fantastic,” she said.
8/1/1986 – Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney appeared on Wogan’s show in a solo interview to promote his upcoming album, “Press To Play.” Wogan asked him if music had gotten any easier for him. “No,” McCartney said. “Gets harder actually.” Wogan asked him how he still does it. “I just actually enjoy it, but a lot of people ask me that question. It sounds like maybe I should jack it in. But actually, I just enjoy doing it. I think I’d do it for a hobby if I didn’t do it for a profession.” He also discussed going solo and forming Wings and his family life. (Part 1, part 2, part 3)
11/20/1987 — Paul McCartney
Fifteen months after the appearance in 1986, Paul McCartney returned to Wogan’s show, this time with Linda McCartney and his band. The group began the appearance by performing a live version of “Jet.” They also played “Listen to What the Man Said.” Wogan asked about the release of the Beatles’ albums on CD that year and mentioned how George Harrison has criticized some of the songs as sounding different. He asked McCartney how he felt about them. “I was happy as you can get to a new medium, CD. That’s what’s people want to buy in. So you can’t sort of say to them you can’t have it in CD.”
2/12/1988 – George Harrison
George Harrison, with the Hollywood sign in view in the background, appeared via satellite from Los Angeles for his first appearance on Wogan’s show. The interview began with a showing of the “When We Was Fab” video and Harrison said it was nice that friends like Elton John and Ringo helped out with it.
Wogan asked him about the 1988 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction for the Beatles. “It was quite the most stressful situation I’ve been in for 15 years, but once we got to the actual induction ceremony, it was really nice to see all those people like Little Richard and those old friends. I’m glad I didn’t miss it anyway.” And what about Paul McCartney not being there? “Paul wasn’t there, but nevertheless, we did have a nice evening,” he said. (Video)
5/19/1989 – Paul McCartney
McCartney and his new band, with Linda McCartney, Hamish Stuart, Robbie McIntosh, Paul “Wix” Wickens” and Blair Cunningham, came on Wogan’s show performing “My Brave Face” and “Figure of Eight.” He and the band were about to embark on a world tour. The interview was not done by Wogan, but by Sue Lawley, Wogan’s stand-in, who asked about the upcoming tour and why he was doing it. “I do like doing it (touring). Keeps me off the streets.” (Video)
6/22/1990 – George and Olivia Harrison
The Harrisons came on the show to promote the “Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal” album to raise money for suffering children in Romania. Wogan asked George Harrison why he decided to help this cause. “When you see the photographs of what’s happening, babies in their cribs, we all have to do something occasionally and I thought it was a good thing to do.” (Video)
12/12/1990 – Paul McCartney
Wogan introduced McCartney, who began the appearance by singing “All My Trials.” Asked about the controversy over the song, he said, “It became like a political thing. In actual fact, we started liking the song. And we put a video to it. But it suddenly seemed to have a more powerful message because we used things like homeless people and NHS closures to show the trials. And then the timing was right when Maggie (British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) got dumped, remember that? Which we couldn’t have possibly known about.”
11/4/2010 – Ringo Starr
In an appearance to promote his “Y Not” album, Ringo Starr appeared on “Weekend Wogan,” the BBC announcer complimented on how fit he looked. “I can’t say the same about you,” Ringo ribbed him. He did however talk about the Beatles. “What is great about their music is that it is still relevant and it’s still out there. It’s just incredible.” He also commented about the controversy over stopping giving autographs. “I’d done millions. And it was getting bad, really, because you’re signing and then they’re on eBay the next day. So people were making money off me. And so I just decided I think I’ve done my share.”