Eurovision 2020 is cancelled, but British viewers will definitely have song contest feels this May. The BBC has announced an extensive schedule of Eurovision-related programming across TV and radio. It mixes original programming made for 2020 and programmes pulled from the archives to help get y’all through the next few weeks.
British Eurofans will be particularly excited to hear that the official EBU replacement show Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light will get primetime billing on BBC One, rather than being relegated to BBC iPlayer. You’ll recall that fans were up-in-arms when it seemed the shoe was destined for the online streaming site rather than traditional telly.
The BBC’s original production Eurovision: Come Together will air on BBC One from 18:30 local time on BBC One. The EBU’s Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light will follow at 20:00.
At 22:00 Rylan will host a special highlights show on BBC Two called The A-Z of Eurovision, which “takes a sideways look at the greatest singing contest on the planet.” And, wrapping up an extensive evening of Eurovision coverage, BBC Two will re-air a Eurovision-themed edition of Top of the Pops 2, which first aired in 2007.
The details are long and extensive, so we’re re-publishing the BBC press release in full below.
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May still means #Eurovision! With programmes across TV, Radio and a special night of @Eurovision on May 16. ? Eurovision: Come Together – 6.30pm @BBCOne ? Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light – 8pm @BBCOne ? The A-Z of Eurovision – 10pm @BBCTwo Get the schedule – link in bio ??
BBC Eurovision 2020 programming schedule
The contest might not be going as planned this year, but we are promising plenty of Eurovision content across TV, Radio and Online in celebration of the biggest music competition in the world.
From a night of special programmes celebrating this year’s contest on BBC One, to revisiting classic moments on BBC Two and a host of specially themed programmes and treats from the archives to enjoy on BBC Radio 2, there will be a wealth of Eurovision content for you to look forward to this May.
Eurovision: Come Together – 6.30pm on Saturday 16 May on BBC One
Graham Norton will be on hand to kick off a night of Eurovision fun on BBC One on Saturday 16th May.
In this one-off special from BBC Studios, Graham will give UK viewers the opportunity to take part in a live vote to crown their favourite Eurovision performance from an eclectic short list compiled by experts and celebrity super fans. Graham will also have a chat with James Newman, the act who was due to fly the UK flag in The Netherlands in 2020.
Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light – 8pm on Saturday 16 May on BBC One
Following Eurovision: Come Together, BBC One will be broadcasting Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light, which will honour all 41 songs that would have competed in the 2020 contest but in a non-competitive format, as well as providing plenty of surprises for fans and viewers at home. Just like the contest itself, the live show will be simultaneously broadcast across Europe and beyond and will be hosted by the original Dutch presenters for Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley and Jan Smit from The Netherlands.
There will also be an unforgettable virtual sing-a-long where fans from across the world will dress up and form a huge Eurovision choir performing Johnny Logan’s winning song for Ireland in 1980, ‘What’s Another Year’.
Graham Norton will provide live commentary.
The A-Z of Eurovision – 10pm on Saturday 16 May on BBC Two
Rylan Clark-Neal narrates a guide to all things Eurovision in this brand new compilation of highlights from BBC Studios as he takes a sideways look at the greatest singing contest on the planet.
Moving through the alphabet, Rylan will be taking us from A, which is of course for Abba & Azerbaijan but also animals – featuring the Italian gorilla man and Azerbaijan’s backing dancer wearing a horse’s head through Z is for Zelmerlöw, Måns Zelmerlöw to be precise. The only Eurovision performer to have won the contest, hosted the contest and taken part in an interval act.
The A-Z of Eurovision will feature all the memorable musical moments from 65 years of Eurovision.
TOTP2 Goes Eurovision! 10.30pm on Saturday 16 May on BBC Two
First shown ahead of the 2007 Contest, Steve Wright introduces a special Eurovision-themed edition of the show, featuring archive songs by stars of the famous competition. Artists include Cliff Richard, Lulu, Bucks Fizz, Sandie Shaw, Brotherhood of Man, Johnny Logan and Abba, plus 2007’s UK entrants, Scooch.
Eurovision at 60 – 9.30pm on Friday 15 May on BBC Four
First shown to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest’s 60th anniversary in 2015, BBC Four joins the celebrations with an appreciation of the joy, madness, scandal and intrigue that has defined the Eurovision Song Contest.
It’s a story of pioneering songs, singers and programme makers; complex and extraordinary technology, laborious voting and a bit of naughtiness. Above all, it can be argued that Eurovision is a symbol of tolerance. As Graham Norton says of Conchita Wurst’s 2014 win: “The people had spoken…and they were nicer and more tolerant people than their governments let us think.”
Featuring interviews with Graham Norton, Conchita Wurst, Sir Terry Wogan and a whole host of Eurovision stars, songwriters and programme makers.
Dana – The Original Derry Girl – BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday 11 May at 10.45pm and 11pm on Friday 15 May on BBC Four
Fifty years ago, an 18-year-old schoolgirl left the Bogside and headed off to Amsterdam to represent Ireland in the 15th Eurovision Song Contest. What happened that night was to change her life forever.
Dana – The Original Derry Girl on BBC One Northern Ireland, is a look back at that young schoolgirl’s incredible life story, retracing her steps to the stage of the RAI theatre, where against the odds she became Ireland’s first Eurovision winner.
Eurovision 2020 The Cancelled Coronavirus Year – BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat – available from 6am on Monday 11 May on BBC iPlayer
Filming for this exclusive behind the scenes documentary began back in February – before it was revealed that the 2020 Eurovision song contest in Rotterdam was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat follows James Newman as he prepares to be unveiled as the UK’s Eurovision representative, filming him in rehearsals, and backstage at his first public performance of his Eurovision entry, accompanied by his brother, artist John Newman and their mum.
Following the cancellation of Eurovision, James shares what this means for him and he speaks to some of this year’s other contestants in other countries about their experiences and future plans. The documentary features commentary from artists who have worked with James, including Olly Murs, Mollie King and Piers from Rudimental.
BBC Radio 2 will be bringing the spirit of Eurovision to listeners, and all the programmes are also available on BBC Sounds. On Ken Bruce’s mid- morning weekday show, the featured album of the week will be Eurovision 2020 – the official compilation album of the artists and songs from the contest – plus clips from previous winners and their entries will be broadcast (Monday 11th May, 9.30am-12pm).
Ahead of his tv show on Saturday night, in the morning Graham Norton will be getting listeners into the Eurovision spirit by playing some of contest’s finest songs, both past and present (Saturday 16th May, 10am- 1pm). And later that night is another chance to hear Graham Norton, Douze Points in which he looks back on his first ten years as UK Commentator of the Eurovision Song Contest. From Moscow in 2009, to last year’s show in Tel Aviv, he remembers the big winners and the artists the UK sent, from Blue to Electro Velvet. Along with super fan Paddy O’Connell, he also recalls the controversies and triumphs, shocks and surprises… and that infamous stage invasion in Lisbon, 2018 (Saturday 16 May, 9-10pm,).
Afterwards, Rylan Clark-Neal presents Eurovision Kings and Queens of Pop where he’ll be selecting his choice of the greatest Eurovision moments from the history of the competition and his favourite songs that would have been a part of this year’s event in Rotterdam. Also packed with nostalgic tracks the show features Eurovision favourites including Abba, Sandie Shaw, Bucks Fizz, Mans Zelmerlow, Netta, Celine Dion, Gina G, Dana International, Katrina and The Waves, Conchita Wurst, and last year’s winner Duncan Laurence who triumphed for the Netherlands with his song, Arcade. Plus there are joyous hand-picked archive clips from the BBC vaults (Saturday 16th May, 10pm-midnight).
Additionally, there will a Eurovision Collection broadcast on Radio 2 and on BBC Sounds, featuring fantastic programmes from the archive. In From ABBA to Azerbaijan (56 Years of Eurovision), Maria McErlane is the listeners’ tour guide to 56 years of the Eurovision Song Contest (Saturday 16th May, 3-4am); Ken Bruce’s Ultimate Eurovision Chart celebrates 60 years of the Eurovision Song Contest, counting down the Top 40 all-time favourite Eurovision winning songs as voted for by Radio 2 listeners (Sunday 17th May, 2-4am); and Let’s Abba Party marks the twentieth anniversary of hit stage musical, Mamma Mia!, with Nicki Chapman presenting a two-hour special featuring a non-stop mix of classic hits, covers, and selections from the cast recordings and film soundtracks (Sunday 17th May, 5-7pm).
All programming will be available on catch-up on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.
Which shows will you be watching? Let us know down below! And if you need even more Eurovision programming, you can re-listen to my hour-long radio documentary from Tel Aviv!