The Schlagergeneral speaks: Christer Bjorkman talks Melfest, Eurovision and seduction in new autobiography

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He’s the Swedish television producer, famed for the Nordic nation’s recent success at Eurovision and masterminding its national selection Melodifestivalen for the past fifteen years. And now Christer Bjorkman, who produced Eurovision 2013 and Eurovision 2016, has released his autobiography Generalen

Written with the author Petter Karlsson, it covers his years at the helm of Melodifestivalen, representing Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 1992 and his many other Eurovision experiences.

Speaking to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, Christer revealed the experience has involved soul searching: “You have to turn over every stone and actually try to find your way back to what you felt when events happened.”

Christer had mixed emotions before the publication date, but Rickard Engfors — a past member of After Dark — gave him advice that put him at rest: “Two days before publication, I woke up in the middle of the night, but then Rickard said that if I had slept well it would have been the world’s most boring book, because then I wouldn’t have told anyone anything.”

NOT ALL HAPPY MEMORIES

Eurovision 1992 should have been a dream experience for Christer, but instead the dream turned into a nightmare, when a journalist learned he was gay. Rather than see a piece published that hinted toward his sexuality, Christer seduced the journalist in Saint Tropez, and the article ran without any reference to his life as an openly gay man.

“There were really mixed feelings,” Bjorkman reveals twenty five years later. “On the one hand I breathed a sigh of relief because I’d solved the situation. But was I proud of myself? No, I can’t say that.”

CHRISTER BJORKMAN AND SVT

He’s worked on Melodifestivalen since 2002, but in 2021 he’ll call time on his position and make way for fresh leadership. Part of the decision has been driven by a desire to be seen as his own man, with his own opinions.

“With this job I’ve become kind of an SVT profile. I went from being a clear character, with clear opinions, to being an SVT form where I don’t have an opinion about anything actually. You have a single opinion, which is SVT’s policy, and you’re a public servant.”

Leaving Melodifestivalen behind is a chance for him to become less one-dimensional.

There’s still a long way to go before he steps off the Melodifestivalen stage though and we can’t wait to see the acts Christer has lined up for the 2018 edition.

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