An Open Letter To The BBC – #EurovisionYouDecide

Dear BBC,

Last night you asked the people of the United Kingdon to choose the song that will represent them at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. You spend vast amounts of the money that the people of the United Kingdom pay you by purchasing an annual T.V licence, yet you decide to televise last night’s show on BBC4! Why?

If you are going to take the Eurovision Song Contest seriously, shouldn’t you be televising the chance for viewers in the UK to choose their song on BBC1 or, at the very least, on BBC2? Why do you choose to broadcast the show on a channel that lays deep within your vaults and which many will probably never have watched?

Why did you choose not to advertise last night’s event very much and to not have given it the attention it deserves when you spend so much money on it? Why did you instead choose to show a rugby match on BBC1? Could that not have been moved to BBC2 so that the chance for the people of the United Kingdom to choose their song for the biggest singing contest in the world had pride of place on BBC1? After all, you do spend vast amounts of our money on the Eurovision Song Contest. If you didn’t want to screen last night’s show on BBC1 then why not have screened it on BBC2 in place of showing a programme about Queen Victoria’s Children and a repeat of ‘Dad’s Army’ both, of which, could have been shown at another time?

Why hold the event on a Friday evening rather than on a Saturday evening? Why did you, BBC, decide that the people of the United Kingdom had to choose their song on a Friday, rather than a Saturday night?

I don’t think it has anything to do with the people of Europe not liking us, BBC. No, I think that it is because you seem to be quite embarrassed by the whole Eurovision thing. Noted that you will screen the Eurovision Song Contest final on BBC1, but I do wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that the contest attracts the biggest TV audience in the world. 200 million people are, after all, a big pull.

Once again, BBC, by giving the Eurovision Song Contest a fourth citizen status, you have made the whole process of choosing a winning song into a joke. Some European countries take weeks to choose their song and, by doing so, get most of the people of that country behind them. Some European countries advertise the event and ensure the event is screened on a prime channel and on a prime day.

When we were winning the contest or ensuring we kept our record for coming second, you would preview all the entries from the various participating countries on a teatime Sunday afternoon show over a couple of weeks. We’d go on and either win the contest or, at least, finish in the top ten during those years. Why do you no longer do that BBC? Back then, the people of Europe could see that you were serious about the contest and that you were proud to televise and promote it.

This year we have two young singers, Joe and Jake, who will now represent the United Kingdom at this year’s final. After watching last night’s show I did think we’d be in with a chance of finishing in the top 10. However, after writing this letter to you, BBC, I think you’ve probably already relegated these two budding pop stars to the music store bargain bin.

It’s time to start taking The Eurovision Song Contest seriously, BBC. If you’re not going to be serious about it then stop being one of its biggest sponsors and even think seriously about letting somebody else do it on behalf on the people of the United Kingdom.

I’ll still be flying the flag for the United Kingdom on May 14th, the night of this year’s final, but will you, BBC, be flying the flag for the contest in 2017?

Your Sincerely,

Hugh Roberts ( A very disillusioned fan of the BBC )


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Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar to learn more about me and my blog.

53 thoughts

  1. Hugh, I am very behind again with your blog posts so catching up as usual. We are huge fans of Eurovision, my daughter loves it and we always set the night aside to watch it. I always wondered how our song is chosen and you bring up some excellent points here. I had no idea of this programme, no idea of the voting, this is the first time I’ve heard this song and of these two young lads, and I love this song. Are you saying it won’t go through now thanks to the BBC? I can’t believe it…I think this one could definitely be a winner and I would have voted for it definitely. I feel as enraged as you after reading your post. I am so sick of how rubbish it is for us year after year, consigned to null point, or just about… *she says blood boiling*….

    1. Hi Sherri, I like the song very much as well. Joe and Jake were contestants on ‘The Voice’ last year. Unfortunately, as far I am concerned, by showing the programme on BBC4 on a Friday evening, the BBC have already condemned the song to the lower regions of the scoreboard on finals night. It seems very few people even knew that the UK were choosing their song for Europe last Friday night. The BBC did little to promote it and they probably won’t do much promotion of the song until the day of the final. It’s almost as if the BBC are embarrassed by selecting and sending a song to represent the UK despite all the sponsorship money they pour into the contest each year. It just does not add up.

      I’ll certainly be watching the semi-finals (again, being screened on BBC4) and the final, but the BBC need to get serious about the selection and promotion process or hand the whole contest over to another broadcaster who will do the UK justice. I don’t get angry at much, but this really did make me see red this year. 😡

  2. I do love the Eurovision, but don’t take too much notice on the run up thou. I’m not sure if it is worth the BBC taking too much trouble picking a song as we are not in a voting block. I do like this years entry but we will be lucky to get anywhere near the left side of the leader board.

    1. I think half the problem is that the BBC don’t take Eurovision seriously enough, Eric. If they did then they’d go out of their way to get a good song. The UK has plenty of singers and songwriters yet over the last ten years it’s failed miserably at Eurovision because the BBC almost treat it as a joke. The voting has now been changed again, but when you send a song and artist to the contest that nobody has heard much about then it’s already doomed to failure. The last success we had was when Andrew Lloyd-Webber wrote the song for the UK. It came in 5th.

  3. Some good points here Hugh and these too lads deserve to do well.
    I can’t help but think that the voting is all very political these days and sadly the music is second on the agenda.
    I agree though, the BBC should decide to back Eurovision all the way and show the different stages and allow folk to get involved more…if they want to.
    But, I do love listening to Graham Norton on the night. And before him Sir Terry Wogan was wonderful as well.
    I think without the commentary some of it would fall flat.
    Perhaps, they can’t afford to show the earlier stages due to Mr Norton’s salary? I’d say he’s worth every penny. x

    1. Thanks, Dorne. Did you know that they’ve changed the voting structure for this year’s contest? It sounds very complicated but it’s supposed to put a stop to the political voting. We’ll soon see if anybody understands it or if it works. 😀

      I agree, both Mr Norton and the late Sir Terry add so much value to Eurovision, but the BBC need to get themselves 100% behind the contest or allow another broadcaster to take over hosting the show. A one-off 90-minute programme on BBC4 on a Friday evening is not the way to choose the UK entry unless they were really having a good laugh about it and Friday’s show was nothing but an early April-fools joke. I somehow, think not.

    1. They will be more famous in the rest of Europe, Beverley. The BBC (with what it has done) has already demoted them to the bargain basket. I feel so sorry for these young lads given that they are just starting out. Hopefully, the BBC will get more serious about the biggest music event in the world, next year.

  4. Great points. I’m a bit ambivalent about Eurovision, probably because of the way it’s gone over the years. I did know about the programme on BBC4 but only because the One Show was on. I recognise the singer, was he on The Voice?

    1. Good for The One Show to mention it, Cathy, but the BBC could have still done so much to promote Friday’s programme, given the sponsorship money they pay for the contest each year.

      Joe and Jake were both contestants on The Voice last year. Joe is Welsh and whilst they will both get some stardom over the coming months, it’s more likely to be in Europe rather than in the UK.

    1. I agree, the BBC are great at making drama, but they need to make the decision as to whether they are going to get serious about Eurovision and continue to fund it or to pull out of the funding and maybe allow somebody else to broadcast the contest. The only reason why the UK are guaranteed a place in the final is because of how much the BBC pay towards the contest. They do this and then send along a dismal song because they’ve been too embarrassed to promote it. It just does not make any sense.

  5. I am not a massive fan of Eurovision, but get sucked in every year, usually at friends’ parties to celebrate it… I completely agree though – if the BBC is going to support it, they should either do it properly, or save the money. The fact that that rugby match was one of the dullest I remember only rubs salt in the wound!

    1. And that is what Eurovision is also about Al. Fun and celebrating. Many people do it, many people say they don’t watch the show, but they do. They seem to be embarrassed to say they watch the show. Why? Because the BBC are just as embarrassed about being involved in it yet choose to spend a lot of money on it and demote it on their channels. I agree with you and they should either do it properly or hand it over to another broadcaster.

  6. Not at all annoyed are you…! I hope you sent the letter TO the BBC as well as posting it here. I don’t have strong feelings one way or another for Eurovision. I try to catch it if I can but I know some people are mad for it and super proud of it. Not sure they’d ever relegate rugby for it but a programme on the queen over euro? 😡

    1. Nope, I never get annoyed Grrrrrrr!

      Yes, it’s been sent to the BBC. Hugh has spoken and I hope somebody at the BBC will listen and respond.

      As far as the rugby goes, then why not broadcast it on BBC2, or move the show that was broadcast on BBC4 on Friday evening to BBC1 on a Saturday evening? Nope, the BBC are far too embarrassed about Eurovision to ever even think of kicking a programme about Queen Victoria’s children to another night.

  7. I do entirely agree with all your comments, and wondered why on earth it was on BBC4. It’s like the BBC don’t want anything to do with it. They did play all the entries on a morning radio show on Radio2 last week – either Ken Bruce or Jeremy Vine. Time for it to go, I think…

    1. Yes, all the songs were played on The Ken Bruce show over the last week on Radio 2, but again, why just Radio 2? This is, after all, the biggest music event in the world and the song representing the UK will be broadcast to 200 million viewers on the night of the final. I don’t think the UK should ever pull out of the contest but I do believe that the BBC should either get serious about it and stop wasting the money it currently invests in the show or hand it over to another broadcaster.

  8. I’ve actually been watching other countries selection shows and they are quite awesome. I hate to say it but I think Simon Cowell should be given Eurovision control.

    1. Exactly, Steve. Other countries choose their song by having a selection show held over many weeks. They get the whole country behind them and the artists. We, on the other hand, choose to screen our selection over one night on a BBC channel that many would not even know where to find and give priory to a programme about Queen Victoria’s children and a 1970s comedy series, both of which could have screened any night of the week.

  9. I’m with you, Hugh – I didn’t hear anything about this and I LOVE Eurovision, can’t wait for this year’s show. These songs should have been publicised, on regular airplay and promoted around the country so we could all get behind them. It does seem as though we are embarrassed to be there – but why? The only thing that’s embarrassing is how a country like Britain, which has produced some of the greatest singers/songwriters of all time, consistently sends second-rate acts to one of the world’s biggest music competitions. If America was in it you know they’d be sending Beyonce – why isn’t Britain the same?

    1. I rest my case, Helen, in that you, an avid Eurovision fan, also had no idea that the BBC were giving the people of the UK a chance to vote for the song that will represent the UK in this year’s contest. You could have heard all six songs on the BBC Eurovision website but, again, the BBC did little to promote it. My view is that the contest to choose our song should have been held over a six week period, allowing the artists to sing other songs and giving them a far better chance to prove that we should choose them.
      I strongly believe that the BBC are embarrassed about The Eurovision Song Contest yet they continue to invest vast amounts of money in it. I’m totally with you in that we have some of the best singers and songwriters in the world yet even they, I believe, are embarrassed about the contest because of the BBC’s attitude towards it.

  10. Well!! Having not watched TV for a few days I missed that this was even on. I agree with you on every point, Hugh. But I’m afraid the contest has changed a lot over the last few years; it’s more like a ‘I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine’ kind of show for most countries. The BBC should indeed pull out – and use the money for good dramas.

    1. There you go, Judith. You’re not alone in not even knowing the contest to find the UK entry was last night. They did little to advertise it and by screening it on BBC4 it tells us what they really think about Eurovision. I’m a huge fan of the Contest (and always have been) but I think it’s time they hand over the reins of Eurovision to another broadcaster.

  11. In Germany we had a similar thing. The National broadcasters put no effort in and nobody wanted to participate. Everyone spoke about Germany being unpopular in Europe and us being shunned by the political voting. Then a private channel took over and Germany won with a good enough song.
    Gets to show that you need someone who really wants to put the effort in, also that any country can win, if they pick a good song. Last year, Germany came last, despite being in favour just a few years prior, so it swings both ways.
    Both, UK and Germany (and also France and Spain), have put forward some unfortunate choices in the last ten years and didn’t deserve much better. Time to re-think on a grand scale.
    I like the song btw but doubt it will do too well. Bianca’s song was better but took too long to build.
    Looking forward to the Swedish heat this evening 🙂
    Best wishes 🙂

    1. This is very interesting, Christoph. I hope somebody at the BBC reads your comments.

      I agree that one year a country can be at the top of the leaderboard and then the next be somewhere at the bottom, but until the BBC starts to take the contest more seriously then they are wasting licence-payers money and will condemn the UK to the lower regions of the leaderboard forever.

      Yes, it’s time for a big rethink or allowing somebody else to take over the Eurovision reins for the UK.

      Enjoy the Swedish heat this evening. See, they are serious enough about it just by holding their heat on a Saturday evening.

    1. It is, Erika. The BBC are one of the biggest sponsors of the contest yet they choose to demote choosing the song that will represent the UK. They should either pull out of the sponsorship, which would mean the UK would have to be voted one of the best songs in one of the two semi-finals, or they should promote and give choosing the song far better coverage here in the UK. This year’s song is a good one, but the two lads singing it have already been relegated by what the BBC have done.

        1. I agree that sport pulls money and I have no problem with the BBC showing a rugby game on BBC1, but they should have screened last night’s contest for the UK song either on BBC1 (and moved the rugby to BBC2) or kept the rugby where it was and screened the UK heat on BBC2. Had they held the UK heat tonight then they could have screened it on BBC1, without affecting the rugby. They had choices but chose to continue to condemn the UK to the wrong half of the final scoreboard.

      1. I definitely don’t understand either why they are doing it. I understand your thoughts totally. I just listened to the song. I have to say that I was surprised most years with the winner songs. That way I would say…. you have chances… lol!

        1. I can usually guess the winning song (or have it in my top 3). This song is good and it would be in my top 10, however, with what the BBC are doing to Eurovision I don’t think it will stand a chance. I feel so very sorry for the two lads singing the song. Yes, they’ll have their stardom, but after the final, they will disappear without trace out of the world of music.

  12. Good post Hugh. I am a huge fan of Eurovision. Actually I think BBC has got it about right, the whole thing is a joke we don’t want to go getting a song that might win it! I am a little surprised that you think Eurovision should take priority over a Wales Six Nations rugby match!

    1. Well, had they shown last nights contest to choose the UK entry on BBC2, I may have not even written this letter, Andrew, but putting it on BBC4 on a Friday evening is beyond a joke. They don’t take it seriously yet they continue to be one of the big five sponsors? They’d be far better off keeping the money and letting the UK only getting to the final by being voted in on one of the semi finals. Just think what all that extra money could go to. More rugby maybe? 😀

        1. Thanks for the link to your post, Andrew.

          I’m not sure about audience numbers (certainly not in the UK, anyway). Last night’s event on BBC4 probably did not attract many viewers and that’s because the BBC did little to advertise it (apart from on Radio2) and most would probably not have a clue where to find BBC4 from their remote control.

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