Terry Wogan has confirmed he is to step down as the host of BBC1′s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest after 35 years.
He will be replaced by Graham Norton, who will take over next year, when the 54th contest takes place in Moscow.
Wogan said he would be sad to leave but added: “I’ve had 35 wonderful years commentating on the Eurovision for radio and television. From my first, in a small music-hall in Dublin, to my last, in the huge arena in Belgrade, it has been nothing but laughter and fun. The silly songs, the spectacle, the grandiose foolishness of it all.”
Wogan first provided commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973 and again in 1978, before taking on the commentary role completely from 1980.
After this year’s contest, he hit out at the politics of the show, which he claimed was influencing voting. This year’s UK entry, performed by Andy Abraham, came joint last.
BBC1 controller Jay Hunt said: “Terry has enhanced viewer’s enjoyment of Eurovision for many years and I would like to thank him for all of his work on the programmes.”
In the new year, Norton will host Your Country Needs You on BBC1, which will allow UK public chance to choose the act that will perform Andrew Lloyd Webber’s specially composed song in Moscow 2009.