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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The best thing to be said for 'Eldorado' was that it displaced Terry
Wogan's thrice-nightly ego trip. For the benefit of those fortunate
enough to have never seen it, let me explain. Each edition began with
hideously garish opening titles in which Tel's surname loomed like
Godzilla over the London skyline, backed up by a tinny B.A. Robertson
Tel ( and wig ) then walked on to tumultuous applause ( this was before he had the plastic knee fitted ), tossed off some lame quips, which he prefaced with: "Well, here we are again, me darlings, another great show for you.". At which point he would sit next to his guests, and for the next half-hour did not let them get a word in edge ways.
His favourite topics of conversation were money ( during the height of unemployment in the '80's, Tel described his salary as 'peanuts'. Three million people would have been happy earning those 'peanuts' ), and the dire U.S. soap 'Dallas', with which he was hopelessly besotted. When he had Victoria Principal on the show once, he asked her: "what did you have for Christmas dinner?" even though it was being recorded months in advance. The confusion on La Principal's face gave the game away.
On another edition, he upset veteran comic George Burns by asking a question about his deceased wife Gracie Allen. On yet another, he put Italian/American singer Tony Bennett's nose out of joint by saying he looked like a member of The Mafia. Tact was not his strong point.
Tel's right-wing sympathies came to the fore when he openly encouraged the audience to jeer Neil and Glenys Kinnock, yet when Tory chairman Norman Tebbit appeared, it was like watching a reunion of old army buddies. Labour M.P. Tam Dalyell was roundly insulted after reiterating his belief that Margaret Thatcher lied to the House Of Commons over the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands War. Tel sniggered as he introduced then-Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Roy Hattersley, but Michael Heseltine was greeted like a long-lost brother.
George Best made headlines by going on the show drunk, which made one wonder 'why did no-one remove the free beer in the Green Room?'. Likewise the late Anne Bancroft's non-interview could easily have been avoided.
Clive Anderson, Kenneth Williams, Ben Elton and Joanna Lumley stood in for Tel occasionally and they showed him up for the smarmy, ineffectual bore he is. His success was not approved by everyone though - the late T.V. journalist Bernard Falk once described him as an 'overpaid Irish gob artist' and Tel responded on air by calling Falk an 'ee-jit'. Such childish name calling was beneath Falk, but you could see his point.
Hosted by the amiable Terry Wogan, this series took over from Parkinson as the BBC's top chat show. Terry spoke to stars from all over the world and attracted massive regular audiences. Wogan certainly provides the only rival to Parkinson when it comes to the greatest British talk show.
Who can forget Wogans legendary chat show from the 1980s. From the opening theme music the fun began. He always seemed to have an unusual mix of celebrities which usually guaranteed unpredictable and great Live TV. i think it ran 3 nights a week at 7pm on BBC1 and interviews that stick in the mind are obviously George Best drunken appearance, antiques wonder-kid James Harries and the Joan Rivers, Julian Clary and Beryl Reid interview which turned into a bitch-fest. Another feature of the show was the "live" link ups to celebrities in America on the big screen. It always seemed to end with Wogan saying something like " our satellite link is fading, well have to say goodbye" or the screen would go blank or fuzzy.
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