‘It’s coming house’: a travel again to 1998, and Britain’s final Eurovision | Eurovision

It’s 9 May 1998. All Saints are best of the charts, New Labour has been in energy for a 12 months and David Beckham has but to be despatched off in opposition to Argentina on the World Cup. Life is excellent.

Fast ahead 24 years and it’s essential to be forgiven for forgetting that, amid the haze of the past due 90s, it used to be additionally the final time Britain hosted the Eurovision track contest, scorching at the heels of Katrina and the Waves’ luck with Love Shine a Light 365 days previous in Dublin.

Before 1998, the United Kingdom had hosted the contest in London 4 instances (1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977) and as soon as each and every in Edinburgh (1972), Brighton (1974) and Harrogate (1982). And with this 12 months’s winner, Ukraine, not able to host because of the Russian invasion, Eurovision might be returning to Britain.

“Welcome one, welcome all. To paraphrase a football song, Eurovision’s coming home.” In 1998, the ones have been the outlet phrases of the past due Terry Wogan, who hosted the night time with Ulrika Jonsson at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (NIA).

The UK can have been web hosting the competition for a record-breaking 8th time however, remarkably, it used to be the primary time in 16 years. The longest earlier hole between Eurovisions in Britain used to be a trifling 5 years between 1977 and 1982.

Bizarrely, in spite of the NIA having a capability of 12,700, the BBC made up our minds to fill lower than part of the venue. Only 4,000 Eurovision enthusiasts have been in attendance at the night time, paying £60 for his or her tickets.

Hosted on Europe Day, it used to be an altogether extra modest affair than the lengthy, drawn-out presentations we’ve turn out to be familiar with in recent years. Just 25 artists competed for the coveted prize, when put next with the 40 acts who took to the level in Turin previous this 12 months.

However, it wouldn’t be Eurovision with out controversy stealing the headlines. During the scoring, Spain firstly gave its 12 issues to Israel and 10 to Norway. But it used to be later introduced that the Spanish broadcaster had were given it unsuitable and Germany will have to have were given the highest mark – 12 issues – as a substitute of receiving 0.

For Britain’s access, Imaani – most likely higher identified for her vocals on a model of Freak Like Me two years later – it used to be a case of what may were. Her track Where Are You? sooner or later completed a good moment in the back of Israel’s Dana International with the Hebrew-language hit Diva.

The second-place end would stay Britain’s highest-ranked efficiency at Eurovision till Sam Ryder accomplished the similar feat in 2022. In the intervening years, the United Kingdom racked up 5 last-place finishes, together with two – Jemini in 2003 and James Newman in 2021 – that won no issues.

The display is to be had on YouTube and, in spite of feeling slightly dated, it’s honest to mention the BBC pulled off a near-flawless manufacturing – indubitably when held up in opposition to one of the crucial cringefests we’ve observed extra not too long ago.

If the United Kingdom does host the well-known outdated contest as soon as once more in 2023, Terry and Ulrika will no doubt be a difficult act to observe.

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