Fears are growing for the mental health of Sir Terry Wogan after he spent a fourth night barricaded in his studio. Police negotiators are continuing efforts to free two producers and traffic reporter Lynn Bowles, who has been heard sobbing. There are also concerns for fellow presenter Ken Bruce who entered the studio on Friday to talk Wogan down but who hasn’t been heard from since.
Wogan has removed light bulbs and plunged the studio into darkness, but continues to broadcast around the clock with his trademark mix of light amiable banter and awful limericks. Trained experts are attempting to contact Wogan with loudspeakers and via a mobile phone, but so far he has only responded to text messages from his listeners.
‘Ian from Kidderminster has just texted in to say,’ said Wogan with a soft chuckle, ‘that his missus is worried I’ve finally gone round the twist. Well, I all I can say is that I’m mad as hell… (throaty laugh) and I’m not going to take it anymore. Here’s Eve Cassidy…’
Wogan recently stepped down from the Breakfast Show, supposedly his own decision, to make way for younger presenter Chris Evans. The veteran broadcaster first hosted the show in 1972 and returned in 1993. The 71-year-old entered Television Centre in White City shortly after Monday’s 0600 news bulletin and has refused to leave since. He has blocked the doors with water bottles, tables and chairs and is said to be armed with either a 9-iron or a putter.
Superintendent Mike Blake, of the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘If we cut off the power or end his transmissions, we risk a bloodbath. Our only hope is that he gets tired of the sound of his own voice, although frankly that would would be a miracle.’
The BBC confirmed this week that Wogan, also affectionately known as ‘El Tel’, may have as many as eight million followers, many of whom have said they will declare a ‘Jihad’ in his name should he be harmed.
‘Now, what’s all this I hear,’ Sir Terry commented in his whimsical sing-song Irish brogue, ‘about me setting off a Holy War? It’s this young fellow-me-lad lad Evans, they say, he’s after your job. Now as many of you know, I’m not a one to make a martyr of meself, but suffice to say, they’ll have to pry this microphone from me cold dead fingers.’
Radio 2 controller Rob Shannon pleaded with Sir Terry to give himself up: ‘If Terry had a genuine grievance then he should have come to us and we’d have sacked him sooner. This is why it’s important to get rid of older presenters, before they go loopy and start taking hostages. We only just got to Moira Stewart in time.’