Sir Terry Wogan: Make sure I get paid

Sir Terry Wogan has insisted he receives his payment for presenting Comics In Need upfront this year, after last year’s fee mysteriously failed to materialize despite hours of hard work by the veteran broadcaster.

“I read through my November payslip last year and although the final balance was healthy enough the BBC had left out the hours I’d done for Comics In Need. I was incensed because I knew I was due at least time-and-a-half for that overtime and they had completely overlooked it.”, he said yesterday. “I phoned up the payroll clerk and they said that they’d include it in next month’s pay packet, but it never appeared. I gave up hope of ever receiving that money in the end.”

Speaking at the launch of Pudsey Bear’s banana liqueur, which will be sold to raise funds for this year’s appeal, Sir Terry insisted that he “added value” to Comics In Need and that it would fail to raise as much money without his involvement. “Put it this way – how much would Vernon Kaye generate? Exactly. You’ve got to remember that the average viewer at home believes that all the money goes to me and that I distribute it to all the needy people myself. With that in mind, you need a presenter with a face that people trust, which you wouldn’t get with a pairing of Vernon Kaye and Sara Cox, for example.

“Lenny Henry does the other charity thing and people trust him implicitly. He actually goes out there and helps the people himself and that makes him a very compelling figure when it comes to prising money out of the wallet of your average Peter Ian.”

Although Sir Terry still rankles over the missing earnings from last year, he generously agreed to waive the fee: “I’m a reasonable man when all’s said and done, and I feel that life’s ultimately too short to hold grudges over things like this. I’m satisfied enough with the new arrangement, as it stops anything like this from happening again. I’ve decided for my payment for last year to go straight to Comics In Need, as it’s all about the comedians at the end of the day. It puts things in perspective when you realize that at least 5 comics die during the show every year, and that these deaths could ultimately be prevented with the necessary funds.”

The liqueur will be on sale in Selfridges for the next fortnight before hitting supermarket shelves in September, priced £10.59, with 50p of every sale going to Comics In Need.

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