England is making waves at the World Cup 2018 and are gearing up for the Round of 16. Elsewhere Wales is set to debut at this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Minsk, making it the first time one of the countries of the United Kingdom is going solo at that event. Given that, we thought it would be a nice little task to review the United Kingdom’s Eurovision track record through the lens of its four countries — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. NOTE: We’re looking at artists who represented the UK, so are not including the long list of Northern Irish acts who have represented Ireland.

The UK, of course, is a hub of international culture. So we’ll also take a look at contestants from far-flung locales who have made an impact. G’Day Miss Newton-John!

England

First contestant: Patricia Bredin, 1957 (“All”, the first song ever sung in English at Eurovision)

Most recent: SuRie, 2018 (“Storm”)

Best placing: Winners in 1967 (Sandie Shaw, “Puppet on a String”), and part of winning groups in 1976 (Brotherhood of Man, “Save Your Kisses for Me”), 1981 (Bucks Fizz, “Making Your Mind Up”) and 1997 (Katrina & The Waves, “Love Shine a Light”).

No surprise: England is the main source of Eurovision singers out of all the United Kingdom. It’s home to more than 63 million people, making it by far the largest of the four countries. Scotland, the second largest, is home to more than 5.3 million.

From famed Puppets on Strings to collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber to every iteration of a Eurovision pop group there can and will be, England’s status of keystone music producer and exporter is likely to remain for years to come. Four out of five British Eurovision winners trace their roots to England…even if some of these winners have decidedly international spice (more on that later). In any case, they’re all proud to hail from the land of London.

Wales

First: Mary Hopkin, 1970 (“Knock, Knock Who’s There?”)

Most recent: Lucie Jones, 2017 (“Never Give Up on You”)

Best placing: Winners in 1976 (as part of Brotherhood of Man)

It seems the Welsh have re-discovered their Eurovision ambition. Three of the UK’s last six entries were Welsh — Lucie Jones, Joe from Joe & Jake and Bonnie Tyler. They finished 15th, 24th and 19th, respectively.

In terms of winners, they can only count Nicky Stevens, from Brotherhood of Man, but their recent push is hard to miss. Would #YouDecide from Welsh options in the near future? Has the Big Flag debate of 2016 come swinging towards Wales’ favour at full force?

Scotland

First: Kenneth McKellar, 1966 (“A Man Without Love”)

Most recent: Scott Fitzgerald, 1988 (“Go”)

Best placing: Winners in 1969 with Lulu (“Boom Bang-A-Bang”)

Scotland has been fairly sparse when it comes to Eurovision contestants, but they can boast the only winner to not come from England: Lulu, with the international hit “Boom-a-Bang-Bang”. Since then, only a slew of contestants have had ties to the northernmost part of the isles. Most notable is Scott Fitzgerald, who led Switzerland’s Celine Dion at various points in the 1988 vote — only to finish second by one point.

Northern Ireland

First: Ronnie Caroll, 1962 (“Ring-A-Ding Girl”)

Most recent: Clodagh Rodgers, 1971 (“Jack in the Box”)

Best placing: Fourth place in 1962 (Ronnie Carroll), 1963 (Ronnie Carrol, “Say Wonderful Things”) and 1971 (Clodagh Rodgers).

Northern Ireland’s Eurovision story is short, but certainly not boring. It has fielded three entries and two artists for the UK. Belfast-raised Clodagh Rodgers was sent as a British olive branch to Dublin in the midst of the Troubles. Even if she did face threats, the contest went pretty smoothly and she was well received by the Irish jury. Now with a two-nationality system, Northern Ireland has double the doors open if they want to advance in Eurovision endeavours.

International Help!

London is a cosmopolitain hub, with countless languages, cultures and traditions mingling at every turn. That diversity extends to the country as a whole which is home to immigrant communities, which have settled and thrived in the country.

Bucks Fizz’s Mike Nolan, while raised in Britain, was actually born in Ireland.

American-born songstress Katrina Leskanich led The Waves to a smashing victory and a huge hit with “Love Shine a Light” in 1997.

Australian stars such as Olivia Newton John and Gina G made their way to stardom by holding a stint as Eurovision contestants.

They’re both British icons. But Cliff Richard and Engelbert Humperdinck have more interesting origin stories, as they were both born in what was then British India.

What do you think? Will Wales’ debut in Junior Eurovision begin a Welsh revolution in the adult version? Will we see a Scottish resurgence? Let us know down below!

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John
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England does not have 63 million inhabitants.

Alex
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Alex

Why can’t they all 4 participate separately?

Stevan
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Stevan

Northern Ireland isn’t a country tho, even within UK

Darren
Guest
Darren

True, it’s designated as a region within the United Kingdom as opposed to England, Scotland and Wales which are designated as nations.

Chris
Guest
Chris

England has 55 million residents, not 63 million. The higher number is the whole of the UK.

Jonas
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Jonas

I’ve wondered before, if you are from Northern Ireland…can you claim 12 victories?

Ireland competes as “Ireland”, not the “Republic of Ireland”, and RTÉ’s official remit does actually include Northern Ireland (I think)…it broadcasts there and includes NI in all of its competitions, broadcasts etc. – so aren’t Northern Irish citizens represented twice over each year?

Jonathan
Guest

Ryan Dolan competed for Ireland, not the United Kingdom

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I think it was just a simple mistake, forgetting the “rules” of the article as laid out at the top…he does go on to say that “Northern Ireland’s Eurovision story is short, but certainly not boring. It has fielded three entries and two artists for the UK”, the two artists being Ronnie & Clodagh. Of course that does not include songwriters, as has been pointed out.

Great idea for an article, though…! 🙂

Kim
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Kim

Didn’t Ryan Dolan sing for Ireland and not UK?

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

First of all, great article! Super interesting!
Also, I LOVED Wales in Eurovision Choir of the Year 2017! They were absolutely wonderful 🙂
Can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to Minsk for JESC 2018! So excited! 😀
I strongly hope to see Wales competing in ESC as well, would be so interesting and amazing!
Same goes for Northern Ireland and Scotland if they’re willing to 🙂

Scott
Guest
Scott

Also for Northern Ireland:
Phil Coulter born Derry/Londonderry, co-wrote Puppet on a String, Congratulations, Toi
Linda Martin born Belfast
Plus wee Dana, although born in London, grew up, was educated in Derry as well.

If you look at representing UK, as an artist NI’s best placing is 4th.
As composer, its 1st

When you include the NI representatives for Ireland, then the best place for an artist is 1st

Maitiú
Guest
Maitiú

And Muriel Day in 1969 for Ireland, Luv Bug for Ireland in 1986, and Brian Kennedy for Ireland in 2006! The author of this article seriously needs to check their research skills!

William Lee Adams
Admin

Muriel Day represented Ireland. The author is focusing on acts that represented the United Kingdom…

Maitiú
Guest
Maitiú

Considering the complex politics of Northern Ireland I, like many other Northern Irish people would normally prefer to think of Northern Irish singers in the contest, as opposed to simply limiting it to Northern Irish representation of the UK/Ireland though.

Herr Frau
Guest
Herr Frau

I do think the UK should split at Eurovision, or split altogether! Create the Celtic voting bloc LEL

beccaboo1212
Guest

Nah. I’d rather the UK stay one country at the regular Eurovision Song Contest. But at least it’s ok for Wales to compete at Junior Eurovision. 🙂

Herr Frau
Guest
Herr Frau

Can we go at least 1 conversation about the UK, without mentioning Brexit…ffs

Herr Frau
Guest
Herr Frau

Still, at least we’re not the weakest country in the big 5 (look at Spain)

I sent an email to the BBC a month ago or so about our selection method. The UK in the 21st century is like the Turkey of the 20th century!

allexo
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allexo

HOW DO YOU SEND AN EMAIL TO THE BBC !!!

Herr Frau
Guest
Herr Frau
Matt
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Matt

This is not true: “Elsewhere Wales is set to debut at this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Minsk, making it the first time one of the countries of the United Kingdom is going solo at a Eurovision event.” Wales took part in Eurovision Choir of the Year 2017.

William Lee Adams
Admin

Thanks for pointing that out!

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I am glad that Wales is trying JESC, maybe it Will inspire other parts to join the competition. However, having four seperate Britians in the adult contest would be a bad idea, so having Wales go solo in JESC is Where it should end.

Martin Månsson
Guest
Martin Månsson

Maybe UK would have a better chance of getting high placements if they competed separately and have their own block voting, or if they would vote for every country but themselves.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Scotland would never vote for England!

Leydan
Guest
Leydan

Aha. The many English people living there would. 😀 UK and Ireland supposedly don’t like each other but consistently swap votes. 10 points each this year for example.

Damo
Guest
Damo

I don’t recall there being 10 points this year ?

Leydan
Guest
Leydan

In the Televote, UK and Ireland exchanged 10 points. It would have been 12 if not for the lithuanian diaspora. Ireland has voted for the UK every single year in the Televote except 2003 and 2015 and we were 11th in 2015. Those 2 years were tragic af songs anyway. The UK has voted for Ireland every year they made the final in the Televote except for 2007. An independent Scotland would vote for the rest of the uk/England even harder than Ireland does.

Mako
Guest
Mako

Patricia Bredin participated at Eurovision in 1957. Not in 1951 (the contest hadn’t even been invented yet).

William Lee Adams
Admin

Slip of the finger – thanks so much for spotting!

Joe
Guest
Joe

Also says the most recent contestant from Northern Ireland is Ryan Dolan, which is true, but he competed for Ireland, not the UK.