Yesterday, Melodifestivalen impresario Christer Björkman criticised the UK’s “mocking” attitude towards Eurovision. And in the process he became front page news. But he’s not the only high profile personality to hit out at the BBC’s track record with the event. Writing for The Huffington Post, Britain’s first ever winner Sandie Shaw has expressed her disappointment at the broadcaster’s recent treatment of the contest.
Sandie Shaw “Puppet On A String”
The “Puppet On A String” singer writes:
I have been disappointed that the BBC has chosen of late to use this event to make fun of and belittle other countries and to send our worst offerings instead of our best, which would help to raise the standard of everyone.
In 2015, BBC commentator Graham Norton branded Armenia “terrible”, Norway “awful” and compared Latvia’s Aminata to a “novelty toilet brush”. Meanwhile, the UK was represented by the much derided Electro Velvet, who finished 24th with five points. Joe and Jake have picked up the baton for 2016.
Sandie Shaw and Eurovision
The 1967 winner has a coloured history with Eurovision. After her victory, she regularly derided the contest, calling it “crap” and “uncool” as recently as November 2014. However, her views seem to have mellowed of late. In March 2015, she hit out at the organisers of Eurovision’s Greatest Hits for not including her in the line-up. And now she appears to be backtracking somewhat on her previous criticisms.
I was asked by the BBC to represent Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest in order or them to capitalise on my unique career in Europe. It was a really uncool thing to do. So I refused. Until I discovered that the event was born after the Second World War from that intense desire shared by all Europeans to use culture and communication to bring the nations together in a creative rather than destructive way. I thought that was cool.
Shaw’s comments come as the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) came out in support of Britain remaining in the European Union. She is co-chair of the organisation which represents performers and musicians in the UK. Other artists to back the campaign include Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Imogen Heap, and Katie Melua.