UK: BBC confirms participation in Eurovision 2016

UK: BBC confirms participation in Eurovision 2016

There were no reasons to assume that the United Kingdom would not be represented in Eurovision 2016 but it has now been reported that the BBC has confirmed their intention to participate in next year’s contest indeed.

The BBC is yet to reveal the mechanism it will use to select its Eurovision entry and act for Stockholm. The United Kingdom is the 19th country to confirm its participation at the forthcoming 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Thus the UK joins Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, Belarus and Ireland all whom have comfirmed their presence at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

In 2015 Electro Velvet represented the United Kingdom at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest with their entry Still in love with you. The duo placed 24th in the grand final in Vienna.

The United Kingdom has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 58 times and is one of the most successful countries to compete in the contest. They first participated in the second contest in 1957. The BBC had wanted to take part in the first contest in 1956, but had submitted their entry to the event after the deadline had passed. The UK has entered every year since 1959, and has won the contest a total of five times. Along with Sweden, the UK is one of only two countries with Eurovision victories in four different decades. The United Kingdom is one of the “Big 5”, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain who are automatically allowed to participate in the final as they are the five biggest financial contributors to the EBU.

Up to and including 1998, the UK had only twice finished outside the top 10, in 1978 and 1987, with their five winners being Sandie Shaw with the song “Puppet on a String” in 1967, Lulu with “Boom Bang-a-Bang” in 1969 (tied), Brotherhood of Man with “Save Your Kisses for Me” in 1976, Bucks Fizz with “Making Your Mind Up” in 1981 and Katrina and the Waves with “Love, Shine a Light” in 1997. In addition, the UK has finished as runner-up on a record 15 occasions; including Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson (1959), Matt Monro (1964), Kathy Kirby (1965), Cliff Richard (1968), Mary Hopkin (1970), The New Seekers (1972), Scott Fitzgerald (1988), Michael Ball (1992), Sonia (1993) and Imaani (1998). Since 1999, the year in which the rule was abandoned that songs must be performed in one of the official languages of the country participating, the UK has had less success, only finishing within the top ten twice. Jessica Garlick in 2002 finished joint third and Jade Ewen in 2009 finished fifth, Ewen in particular was praised after her performance of “It’s My Time” for ending the run of poor results the country had suffered for much of the decade.

The United Kingdom has finished last in three contests. Jemini’s infamous 2003 “nul points” result was the first time that the country had come last in the contest, something that was then repeated in 2008 with Andy Abraham, who received 14 points and in 2010 with Josh Dubovie, who received 10 points. In 2015, the UK failed to reach the top 20 for the seventh time, with the duo Electro Velvet finishing 24th with only five points, the country’s worst points tally since 2003.

George Michail

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