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June 3, 2014updated 04 Jun 2014 1:28pm

Wogan withdraws support from Oldie awards lunch: The treacle tart wouldn’t be the same without Richard Ingrams

By William Turvill

Sir Terry Wogan will withdraw his support from The Oldie magazine if Richard Ingrams is not reinstated as editor.

The broadcaster (pictured, Reuters) has chaired the annual Oldie of the Year Awards luncheon for more than ten years, but will not do so without Ingrams at the helm.

The news comes after Ingrams urged Wogan and other friends and colleagues to back him in a row with the magazine's publisher, James Pembroke.

Ingrams, 76, resigned after 22 years as editor of The Oldie on Friday after judging himself "too old" to attend a disciplinary hearing brought by Pembroke.

Ingrams said: "Terry is a great and good friend of mine and I am most grateful for his support at a difficult time."

Wogan told Press Gazette: "The steak and kidney pudding and treacle tart just wouldn't be the same without sharing them with  Richard Ingrams."

A source close to The Oldie said the "spin-off activities" of the magazine such as the awards and regular literary lunches, are "very significant" to the success of the title commercially.

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"It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that Wogan has withdrawn his support as a result of Richard's resignation," they said.

"And this is what The Oldie, if it has a future, is up against."

They said that the magazine "relies on Richard's friends", adding: "I don't want to do it down. But it cannot be forgotten that the man who founded the magazine was also ultimately responsible for its commercial success.

"And without him the magazine is is going to have to consider… who else is going to pull out – how are they going to attract people to those commercial activities?"

This morning, Ingrams sent an email to his friends and contributors saying: “The magazine can be saved if enough protesters force Pembroke to accept the seriousness of his situation. I am prepared to resume the editorship so long as he accepts the few changes that I have already outlined.

“It is a slim hope but if enough of you rally to the flag we might prevail.”

Meanwhile, a group of campaigners, fronted by Oldie columnists Valerie Grove and Sam Taylor, called for a reconciliation between Ingrams and Pembroke.

Grove, the magazine’s 'wireless' correspondent since its founding, said Ingrams' supporters were hoping to “implore them to talk again, to try to restore the partnership which has made this unique magazine”.

She said the “history… pulling power… and strange glamour” of Ingrams combined with Pembroke’s “businessman’s energy” created the “perfect synergy”.

“And it’s unbearable,” she added. “Because we fear for the future of the magazine without either of them.”


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