Sandie Shaw first UK Eurovision winner

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”

https://youtu.be/jfeiCaRJgMY

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.

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Sam
Guest
Sam

Graham always mocks entries until he sees they give points to the UK. However, he was very arrogant to criticise countries which were really descent. To me Armenia and Larvia were fine and Norway was fine. Don’t take his words to heart. He tried your capture attention as our entry was so bad that there was nothing to tell about it. So, he had to mock everybody else to make people watch it up to the end.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Sweden is an EU country, Norway is the Scandinavian one that isn’t.
“UK is anti EU” has pretty much the same polling numbers as “Scotland is anti UK”.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Babychops: They WILL care if the EBU decides to do away with the courtesy status given U.K., FRA, GER, ITA and SPA, and that ALL countries MUST compete in the semis.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Adam: If I’m not mistaken, they said the same thing 2 years ago, about Molly Smitten-Downes and her entry, which even I thought would finish in the top 10.

David Who
Guest
David Who

@Charles. I’m right? Shocking! I’m never right. 😀 Coincidentally, BBC just released a two-part documentary called “Europe, ‘Them’ or ‘Us.'” It chronicles the political history of the UK and the old EEC from the very start onwards. It’s not exactly flattering towards Europe either, but on the other hand I was amazed to see Churchill’s speech about a “United Europe” there in the documentary. Churchill certainly believed in the UK being part of a single European community and economy, so it looks like we have moved backwards ever since then. With all the current British politics BS going on, here… Read more »

João Teles
Guest
João Teles

Graham was right about Norway last year, although completely wrong about Latvia and he exagerated with Armenia as well, in my opinion.

Babychops
Guest
Babychops

Calm down calm down , the whole competition is a joke and thats why the most of The United Kingdom could not care less if we finished last each year. Boom boom

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

@mawnck

You’re about as bad at levity as the UK is at Eurovision.

Here, I’ll help you out.

“If finishing in the bottom five by trotting out a pair of human Lite-Brites is okay with you, then it’s okay with us too. Enjoy your 40% of a One Direction ripoff finishing in last yet again, and cry into your tea like you do every World Cup.”

Not my best work, but see how much better that is?

mawnck
Guest
mawnck

“And if you take the Eurovision Song Contest so seriously you can’t appreciate a bit of levity and teasing, I feel sorry for you.”

Regardless of where you’re from, you’re STILL missing the point.

UK can’t get anybody good to represent them. The “levity and teasing” scares all the potentially decent entries away. So every year (save 2014) they’re stuck with either a has-been or a no-hoper.

If that’s OK with you, then that’s OK with us. Enjoy the bottom 5. (How’s THAT for levity and teasing?)

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

What’s with all this “YOU” crap? I’m not UK. LMAO.

And if you take the Eurovision Song Contest so seriously you can’t appreciate a bit of levity and teasing, I feel sorry for you. This isn’t life or death, people.

Charles
Guest
Charles

@David Who: Sadly you are right. It’s all pretty much connected. The views and feeling of the UK about the rest of Europe over decades, their sense of superiority and criticism against everything European and of course the “ghost” of a lost Empire in the beginning of the 20th century has trademarked the cultural perception the UK has of the rest of Europe. You’d wish such views could be by now surpassed and changed but Eurovision has served as the perfect platform to reinforce them even further. And not even the bottom 5 results of the latest years can change… Read more »

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

The quality of the songs of recent years is totally debatable – for those saying it has improved, I would ask “how long have you been following the contest”? There was a deep dip in overall quality when they abolished the orchestra. 2001 was dreadful, for example. Before that, in the 90s, there were high quality songs with high quality singers on a fairly regular basis – Poland 1994, Spain 1995, Croatia 1995/98, Ireland 1993, Russia 1994, Netherlands 1998 etc. etc.

You think today’s songs (in general) are better than those?

Denis
Guest
Denis

Norton’s commentary has everything to do with the entry because everything is connected. Mocking other countries to make your own look good isn’t the way to good. The commentary in a way reflects the countries view on the whole contest, and with Graham’ commentary it’s very clear how the Brits view the contest. If you want a good result you can’t treat the whole thing as a joke. No other commentators mock the contest and the other acts, only U.K commentator does that. Even Australia cleaned up their act by taking it super-seriously. “Eurovision is about fun- and part of… Read more »

Jacques
Guest
Jacques

Eurovision has been improving itself a lot, started by the 2011 contest, peaked in 2012, seen quite acceptable entries between 2013 and 2015, and the quality of the competiting entries peaked once more in 2016.

Something should be wrong with their head of delegation as bottom countries like Netherlands or Belgium did really well in recent years, but anything for the UK.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

5 years ago, I would have agreed with Graham- but he doesn’t seem to realise how much the quality of songs has increased in the last few years- it produces chart topping hits in Europe and Australia and some of the songs are beyond spectacular. The Brits are probably just jealous that Sweden keep beating them.

mawnck
Guest
mawnck

By the way (and sorry for the double post), having now actually read the Sandy Shaw article, I think everyone is reading way too much into it. Sandy explained (1) why she entered in 1967, and (2) why she doesn’t like the BBC’s attitude toward the other participating acts, now, in 2016. She didn’t say anything about the intervening years, or how she feels about the contest in general. I really don’t see any contradiction with her past negative comments. She obviously doesn’t know about the efforts to improve the selection process this year, and her thing about “send our… Read more »

mawnck
Guest
mawnck

“what does Graham Norton’s commentary even have to do with the UK entry?:

It’s all a part of the big picture. You can’t get a decent talent pool to participate if the contest is a national joke.

“Eurovision is about fun- and part of the fun is the weirdness of certain songs/attire/acts and having a good chuckle at their expense.”

This is exactly where you’re wrong, UK fans. So you just go ahead and keep repeating it, because it just keeps proving our point. See you in the bottom five.

Daan van Wissen
Guest

@ Pollaski. AI has a point though, it is some brittish thing. Everywhere where I run into Brits, wheter it is Eurovision in Concert, the train after some international football match, or heck, even Disneyland Paris, they seem to be so disrespectful.. In case of EIC, they kept pushing mocking laughing at everything and litterarly poking others till the point of annoyance. In trains the hooligans just shout and be obnoxious. And in the case of Disney land Paris, I was there 2 years aggo with my Ex boyfriend. And basically, during the breakfast buffet, they picked up like 20… Read more »

MikeG
Guest
MikeG

I really really feel for these 2 guys, I don’t think they deserve all this criticism cause they’re not that bad. We’ve had worst before and will surely have worst after

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

@Al

I believe you yourself are being disrespectful of the British culture with your bigoted and hateful overgeneralization. Please apologize to the British people and think about what you’ve done.

fikri
Guest
fikri

i think BBC should be allowed to do whatever the heck they want. i mean, they’re the big 5… most of my british friends watch eurovision for graham norton shady comments and i too must admit they’re hilarious. it’s pretty clear they don’t want to win eurovision based on the entries they send each year but hey, what UK has to prove? they’ve won plenty of times and their musical industry is the best in the region. with that said, the national selection this year that BBC organised was a lot of fun and i’m happy with the chosen entry.… Read more »

Al
Guest
Al

This is not about Eurovision but about Brits being generally ignorant and disrespectful to other people’s cultures. They are just like that – when they lose something, it is always outside factors to blame – they can’t win a football game, the pitch was too green or the ball too round. That is why everybody hates that bunch – you just can’t respect ignorance these days!

Random.sage2.6
Guest
Random.sage2.6

Tell em! They’re puppets on Ghram Norton’s string!

Wonder how the commentary will be this year, I wonder. Will G.N. himself address the criticism or will Terry Wogan come from the grave and address this issue? A medium or soothsayer? Jennifer Love Hewitt? Hmm.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Are Joe and Jake really considered that bad in the press? I feel like they’re getting more hate for a song that imo is the best they’ve sent since Jade Ewen :(……

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

Here’s another thing- what does Graham Norton’s commentary even have to do with the UK entry? They’re independent of each other- Norton calls the contest, the entry sings and dances on the stage. If the UK was sending Top 10 songs every year, would Norton’s commentary be an issue? If Norton’s audience enjoys him (and things suggest they do) let him call the contest. Its no concern of anyone else’s but the BBC and their viewers. At the same time, the UK oughta look into how they can get better acts arranged for the contest. Get creative, and break out… Read more »

David Who
Guest
David Who

Hmmm. Is it possible that the BBC being anti-Eurovision is a side-effect of it becoming anti-Europe? It’s an overstated question, I know, but worth pondering.

Charles
Guest
Charles

Ironically enough she’s actually agreeing with Bjökmann’s words on the way Terry Wogan made the UK believe Eurovision is nothing else but a complete bs show so let’s watch it to make fun of it. It’s not a secret the way both BBC and the UK viewers always opinionated about it.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

*She does have a mixed attitude…

Learn to proof-read, Jonas!

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I love Sandie.

She does a somewhat mixed attitude to the contest, but at least she’s not as dismissive as Lulu.

Jai
Guest
Jai

@Pollaski I never said I was offended, far from it, I just find the commentary annoying. If I wanted to listen to a cheap insult comic I’d go to a comedy club.

Fergy
Guest
Fergy

She’s one to talk! She spent the best part of her career trying to escape from any connection to the contest after winning. And she’s had a lot of negative things to say about the contest in recent years on the same level as Wogan.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Denis: “You won’t get any friends by mocking other contestants and having friends is important in this contest. To my knowledge no other country or commentators outright mock the others, apart form Australia.”

And even Australia were smart enough to know that they had to treat Eurovision with respect when choosing their entry. And that paid off with a fifth place for Guy Sebastian and good odds for Dami this year.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I’ve always thought that if Graham Norton were to offer a live commentary of a concert by any major popstar of recent years (Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Pink, Madonna, etc), he could easily make it seem like crazy, kitschy over-the-top garbage.

If a commentator approaches ESC with the viewpoint of “this is kitschy trash”, everything is going to look like kitschy trash, even when it’s not. It’s totally subjective, totally in the eye of the beholder.

Denis
Guest
Denis

That’s what I have been saying: The BBC and Norton seem to have an attitude of “Our song really is the best, so let’s laugh at others. And blame politics when we end up very low again”. You won’t get any friends by mocking other contestants and having friends is important in this contest. To my knowledge no other country or commentators outright mock the others, apart form Australia. I do love Graham Norton and every country needs one of him, but if you’re going to joke about the contest then do it with love for the contest, like you… Read more »

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

@Jai

Of course it was shallow. It was a clear dig on her dress. So what? Not every comment needs to be the most profound thing ever- especially in Eurovision, which has all the philosophical depth of a puddle.

Eurovision is about fun- and part of the fun is the weirdness of certain songs/attire/acts and having a good chuckle at their expense. If you don’t like it, either ignore it or come up with something even better to say in response. Being offended is not an option.

Juan
Guest
Juan

Brits are going through the same period we spaniards experienced from 2005 to 2011 where we weren’t giving a S about the contest after some big disappointments (2002-2004)

We even sent that “Chikilicuatre” showman in 2008 in protest mode (BTW that “insurrection” gave us 55 points LOL, twice of Edurne’s last year…go figure the kind of joke this voting system is sometimes)

The UK will get back to its powerhouse category. It’s a matter of time.

The Anders
Guest
Criticca
Guest
Criticca

Also I don’t get why you felt the need to highlight Graham Norton’s comments when other countries’ commentators do the same….this is not going to help the UK get a good result this year.

The Anders
Guest

It would be fair to say that most of their entries in this millennium have not exactly been convincing, especially given the fact that the UK is such a great music nation. But if the established music scene in the UK doesn’t want to have anything to do with Eurovision, it’s no wonder that we’re often treated to some very amateurish stuff, like last year.

There are a few exceptions, however. F.e. I think that “Children of the Universe” was quite a strong effort, and it deserved much better.

Off-topic: Here is a new set of song reviews: https://eurovisiontimes.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/eurovision-2016-spotlight-on-joe-jake-united-kingdom/comment-page-1/#comment-234634

Criticca
Guest
Criticca

She’s a hypocrite. Its unfortunate that Joe & Jake and their song entry are getting bashed right now. It is certainly one of UK’s best effort since since 2013. They’re definitely putting a lot of effort on the staging & international promotions. This pessimism needs to stop or it might create a bad first impression to the juries

Sparrow
Guest
Sparrow

No one is bashing them, it’s constructive criticism. I’ve always expected the best to come from the UK. It’s not like they don’t have the resources to pull an amazing entry. They’re just lazy and I’ve always hated the disrespect that comes poring out of their comintators mouths. I was so happy when we (Australia) were able to send our own.
Its time the UK pull their finger out and put in some actual effort,

Jack
Guest
Jack

BBC need a new team but hey never replace friends or people they like even if it wrecks quality… they always think they know best

Steven Keenan
Guest
Steven Keenan

Who else wants to get on the bash bandwagon whilst it’s in full swing?

badger
Guest
badger

It wasn’t that long ago that the UK sent a good song and finished 5th. They have the capacity to do well and people will vote for them if the song is good, but for most of the last 15 years they’ve sent sideshow acts. It’s not that there’s no place in Eurovision for sideshow acts. Of course there is! But most other sideshow acts don’t act surprised when they don’t win, haha! Sometimes it comes off like the UK/BBC thinks they should automatically place high no matter what they send to Eurovision just because they’re the UK. That’s not… Read more »

Laburnum
Guest
Laburnum

#BashTheBrits

Jai
Guest
Jai

@Pollaski Calling Aminata a toilet brush was not witty or funny it was immature and shallow, just like most of Graham Norton’s commentary.

Sarah Boucher
Guest

Freeform to air Eurovision because of ‘Peanuts’ Interval Act: The Flying Ace? Will USA Debut in 2017 with Fifth Harmony singing Once Upon A Flying Ace?

Pollaski
Guest
Pollaski

Calling Animata a toilet brush is funny and witty. Just saying somethings bad or awful isn’t. So Norton’s gotta step up his game a bit.

And LMAO- seems to me Ms. Shaw was all for crapping on the contest at every opportunity- until it became politically (and perhaps financially) feasible for her to do otherwise. Funny how frequent that happens with these celebrities.

Danny
Guest
Danny

It’s actually funny how British commentators always say horrible things about other countries and expect to get sympathy and points from those countries for the mediocre songs they send. It’s obvious that the huge and successful British music industry doesn’t give a flying f**k about the Eurovision. It’s a shame, It really could raise the music quality of this contest.