Graham Norton is planning a special tribute for Sir Terry Wogan during this year’s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The presenter said he would be urging everybody to toast the late broadcaster during the ninth song – the point in the show where Wogan always said it was OK to start drinking.
“For those who aren’t aware song number nine is famous because Sir Terry always warned me not to have anything to drink until that point,” Norton explained.
“At song number nine this year the host country Sweden will be performing, and I will be encouraging everyone to raise a glass,” he added. “It has all worked out very nicely as Swedish people in the arena will be cheering their song in the stadium, as everyone back in the UK will join me and cheers the memory and legacy of Sir Terry Wogan.”
Norton has presented Eurovision for the BBC since 2009. Wogan had fronted the show in various guises from 1971 until 2008 and became the voice of the contest for British viewers – although not everybody appreciated his wry style.
Earlier this month Eurovision producer Christer Bjorkman accused Wogan of “totally spoiling” the contest for British audiences.
“He raised a generation of viewers believing this was a fun kitsch show that had no relevance whatsoever,” he said. “It totally spoiled Eurovision. Because of what Terry Wogan did, the UK don’t put in their best efforts.”
However, Norton believes that Wogan’s Eurovision legacy will always be appreciated in the UK.
“Sir Terry Wogan will always be associated with Eurovision. He took a role that wasn’t really a role at all and he totally transformed it into the job it is today,” he said. “When I am doing the commentary I still hear Sir Terry in my head as I am sure lots of other people do too.
“I think this year will be bittersweet because we will all be thinking of Terry and I am sure I will say a few words about him as the night goes on as it is a night that will forever be associated with Terry Wogan.”
The Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals will air on BBC4 on Tuesday 10th May and Thursday 12th May
The Eurovision Song Contest will air on BBC1 on Saturday 14th May