Following her well-received first and second rehearsals, the UK’s Lucie Jones is fast becoming one of the Eurovision 2017 favourites. However, the same can not be said for the country’s broadcaster BBC.
For the second year running, the channel has opted to replace the semi-final interval act with an in-house comedy spoof. The skit will see BBC Four semi-final commentators Scott Mills and Mel Giedroyc parody the Taken films and take to the streets of Ukraine dressed as police officers.
Mills excitedly dropped some hints to The Sun:
“We’ve got some ridiculous filming for the semi-finals. We’re dressing up as police officers — we’re doing a pastiche of the film Taken. We’ve got Ukraine police outfits.”
— Scott Mills (@scott_mills) May 8, 2017
The yet to be broadcast clip is already causing some controversy. Also speaking to The Sun, a source says:
“Things are tense in Ukraine and by cutting out segments from Ukraine’s broadcast which celebrates love and peace, to do a silly spoof, it makes a mockery of the show. The BBC are once again the only country to boycott their interval performance in the semi-final.”
In response, a BBC spokesperson explained that the decision was purely logistical.
“In agreement with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), for the past few years, the BBC has shown short films and interviews instead of commercial ad breaks or during the voting window of the semi-final that the UK audience cannot vote in.”
In 2016, the station decided to replace SVT’s critically acclaimed The Grey People dance piece with a The Bridge parody. This year, it’s likely British viewers will miss at least part of reigning champion Jamala’s two song set.
Update: BBC showed Jamala but replaced other elements of the show.