Page last updated at 00:47 GMT, Friday, 5 December 2008

Norton is Eurovision's new Wogan

Terry Wogan

Sir Terry Wogan is stepping down as commentator on the Eurovision Song Contest after three decades.

Fellow Irishman Graham Norton will take over for the 2009 contest, which will be hosted in Moscow.

Veteran presenter Wogan, 70, cast doubt on whether he would be involved in covering the event again following this year's contest.

He said it was "no longer a music contest" and that prospects for western European participants were "poor".

The show has suffered from accusations of bloc voting, which was blamed by some for leaving Britain's 2008 contestant, Andy Abraham, with only 14 points.

Sir Terry Wogan criticising bloc voting - archive interview from May 2008

Wogan said he would be "sad to leave it all behind".

He said: "I've had 35 wonderful years commentating on the Eurovision for radio and television.

"From my first, in a small musichall 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.

"Let's hope that between (Norton) and the musical brilliance of Lloyd Webber, Royaume Uni will gather its proper share of 'Douze Points' and bring the Grand Prix home to where it belongs."

Norton described it as "an amazing job and a huge honour".

He said: "Sir Terry is nothing less than legend and is an impossible act to follow, but somebody must and I just couldn't say no.

"I can't wait to get to Moscow. With a combination of cheap vodka and a language barrier what could possibly go wrong?"

Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One, thanked Sir Terry for his work on the programmes.

"Terry has enhanced viewers' enjoyment of Eurovision for many years," she said.

"I am delighted that Graham Norton will now be bringing his wit to bear on this iconic music event."

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