Graham Norton BBC Eurovision

All across Britain, Eurovision fans awake to the sound of silence. Because, aside from official EBU communications, there hasn’t been a peep from the BBC regarding its plans for the 2021 contest. So, in such circumstances, we’re happy to gobble up whatever morsels we can. Now, we have our first tiny bit of news from Television Centre since May — Graham Norton will remain in his commentating role for 2021.

Graham Norton will continue with Eurovision

This titbit comes as Graham steps aside from his decade-long radio gig. He’ll be leaving his Saturday morning talk show on BBC Radio 2 in December.

But, this doesn’t mean that he’s leaving the BBC. In a statement on Friday 12 November, he confirmed that he’ll be holding on to all of his TV projects with the broadcaster, including his world-famous chat show, his judging role on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and Eurovision.

After thanking his radio colleagues, he says: “Happily with the chat show, Eurovision and Drag Race, the BBC continues to be my perfect TV home”.

It’s not much, but at least the first piece in the UK’s Eurovision 2021 jigsaw appears to have fallen into place.

The UK at Eurovision 2021

Atypically, the BBC has not yet said anything official about the UK’s plans Rotterdam. However, The 2020 series of popular entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing debuted a month later than usual, meaning that the BBC’s publicity team is currently busy promoting that show and may not have the time to focus on Eurovision right now.

In 2020, after four years of national finals, the BBC returned to an internal selection process. In conjunction with the BMG music label, the broadcaster selected James Newman and “My Last Breath” for Eurovision. In the month’s since the contest’s cancellation, the delegation hasn’t given any indication as to whether he’ll be asked back or not.

Many fans have pushed for James’ labelmates Steps to be picked. However, the veteran pop-band have made it perfectly clear that they have no plans to enter the contest.

What do you think the BBC is up to? Will James be back? Let us know below.

Follow all of our UK Eurovision 2021 news.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
60 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Paul
David Paul
7 days ago

I think the BBC are now thinking about a ‘You Decide’ style show in the new year. We have heard nothing about James Newman so I think the BBC have moved on. I hope they have….as ….I have composed the winning UK entry during lock down. Well….I think it’s catchy! It’s entitled ‘You’re a Vision’ and it is a very ‘ear wormy’ catchy, uplifting, fun and clever song. I have wanted to compose a Eurovision song for the past forty years and through careful study of thousands of songs, I think I have finally done it! I’ve got a song… Read more »

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
18 days ago

Just on a personal note, it has been amazing to see how much Graham Norton has changed since his days at Channel 4. There was a time when his comedy was very risqué. Becoming mainstream with his own show has been a real inspiration to me. His Eurovision commentaries got better as he went along. Sir Terry was difficult to follow, but I’m glad Graham stuck with it and succeeded. Should he stay for the 2020s? It really is up to him, since I can’t see anyone breaking down his door yet (except maybe Rylan). Pay equalisation shouldn’t be an… Read more »

Fatima
Fatima
19 days ago

I think they’d pencilled in someone else for 2021 even before Covid

Kosey
Kosey
20 days ago

I think there is so much going on at the moment (in the world and in the BBC) that it doesn’t surprise me that it is low down the priority list. There is no money available and no desire to want to invest, so my gut feeling is it will be James. If I were in a decision-making capacity, I would hold-off as long as possible before making any firm decisions, there are still so many variables at play before we know what sort of event we’ll be getting come next May. And the British public is ready to jump… Read more »

Paul
Paul
20 days ago

Please. Send. Stormzy.

Joe
Joe
20 days ago

Either their priorities haven’t been figured out and they’re sticking with James…or it’s somebody big that they don’t want to let slip just yet, maybe in negotiations. Just a thought.
(And it’s NOT FREAKING STEPS. They’re either not doing it or they’re going in with the wrong attitude. Either way, I don’t welcome them as potential British entrants. They’d basically just be Scooch without the flight attendant costumes).

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I think the UK’s gotta pivot more indie, personally. Take a page out of the Netherlands’ book. Somebody floated Dodie as a potential name and I could see her being an awesome representative. Maybe someone quirky with edge like Marina and the Diamonds, The Anchoress, Paloma Faith, or Kate Nash. They wouldn’t feel that out of place with competitors like Montaigne or Dadi Freyr. In a completely different vein, are the Noisettes or the Pipettes still together?

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I don’t know. I don’t think the BBC had priorities in the past re: Eurovision. I had the feeling they were there to be there and not to win. And the British would whine (respectfully) about lack of friends, block voting and “everyone hates us”. Also I had the feeling that the only “winners” were the writers and producers who got a credit or another one for yet another country and manage to raise their profiles. They are the ones who can get to try again for yet another couple of countries and so on. The artists were left with… Read more »

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Una

Recently, at least in the last year, I could see the tide turning, and there’ve always been a few people in the delegation every year trying to break them free of that stereotypical impression. Let’s try and be optimistic. I really think they’re trying to put their best foot forward. I could see this turning into the same kind of system that benefits Italy: the audience isn’t incredibly invested, but they are loyal, so even a bad result won’t reflect too badly on the competitor. Finishing bottom five didn’t do anything to Emma’s career momentum. In her home country, she… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by Joe
Roo
Roo
19 days ago
Reply to  Joe

The difference with Italy is they have this nonchalant “I don’t care”.

The UK has this mouthy I don’t care.

While Italy has gone on it’s merry way the UK get all upset about “politics” belieing that they do care.

Roo
Roo
19 days ago
Reply to  Una

Was interesting to see how lackluster the Michael Rice entry was compared to John Lundvik’s own entry. If my name was associated with an entry I would still want it to look good.

Una
Una
19 days ago
Reply to  Roo

The most important question is “who cares?” Not in the dismissive way but in the very serious way. Like meaning it. I feel so sorry for the artists in generaland Michael for that matter. Got to read an article from 2016 which was referenced in the one about Spain a couple of days ago. Apparently there was some intention for improvement after the 2016 result which was 22nd out of 26. Yet they managed to come last in 2017 and reach bottom 5 again in 2018 and 2019. Nothing changed. Same thing – “we don’t know”. That said the UK… Read more »

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
19 days ago
Reply to  Joe

As if Steps wouldn’t wear flight attendant costumes… 😉

Last edited 19 days ago by Jimmy Smit
Joe
Joe
20 days ago

The UK may have their ups and downs, but the best decision they ever made was getting Graham to commentate. A guy who knows what he’s talking about but still has fun. He strikes a balance Terry never could, and I think he’s much more entertaining and less condescending.

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I found Terry more likable when Peter Serafinowicz turned him into a pothead/pirate radio DJ.

Whisker
Whisker
20 days ago

I would be so upset if they didn’t give James Newman another chance. UK 2020 is my favouritest UK entry. How much longer the Strictly show? Could the BBC at least let us fans know *something* about the 2021 entry? #strictlycomejames

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

OMG that comment. You made me laugh so hard. My god. That was *great*. Please strictly come back with more!!

Whisker
Whisker
20 days ago
Reply to  Una

Thank you! I will strictly try 🙂

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

My Last Breath was not really my thing (but it was certainly a step in the right direction), however, I think James should at least write the song, if not sing it. I want us to do what is good form, and I have wanted James’ writing partner Iain James (Ell and Nikki, Roberto Bellarossa, Little Mix, Professor Green) to write our song for some time and it’s saddening that his chance to finally do so is ended by COVID.

Kim
Kim
20 days ago

Graham is a real positive advocate of Eurovision. He knows the show and he knows the UK audience and he does an excellent balancing act of joking along with the contest, giving high praise when it’s due and showing empathy with the contestants. He’s championed many ESC artists on his radio show and even on his tv show, eg Conchita on his 2014 NYE show when the rest of the UK had forgotten who had won the contest that year.

Fatima
Fatima
19 days ago
Reply to  Kim

Well, he’s a comedian first and foremost, so I think the balance swings that way, certainly in recent years. And now, there be less of a counterpoint with no radio show. I like Graham, but I feel that BBC treats the contest as a vehicle for him.

David Paul
David Paul
20 days ago

Personally, I think the BBC should revert back to choosing a Eurovision song from public submissions. Eurovision is meant to be totally inclusive meaning anyone should have the opportunity of submitting a song for consideration. This seems to have been taken away from us and now the public have no say in the choice of Eurovision song. This is not right! If you look at the rest of Europe, most countries are accepting public submissions and have a host of songs to choose from. In the UK we are being TOLD who will represent us and who will also write… Read more »

Cameron
Cameron
20 days ago
Reply to  David Paul

Just submit in 2022

mad-professor
mad-professor
19 days ago
Reply to  David Paul

No. Apart from Lucie Jones, the British public always chooses the wrong entry.

Roo
Roo
18 days ago
Reply to  David Paul

The UK public chose Scooch. I’ll never forgive them that. Cyndi would of picked up quite a few 3s and 4s for a respectable mid table result.

Leo
Leo
20 days ago

My fave things about him are:
*His voice
*And the respect he has for my fave entries from Israel (Nadav, Netta), Azerbaijan (Ell and Nikki, Cingiz) and Armenia (Athena Manoukian) amongst others.
*His sympathy for booed Russian acts.
*His humour, even jokes mocking my faves, like Origo.
*His understanding of how the show works.

Jack Fincher-Pricefield
Jack Fincher-Pricefield
20 days ago

I hope Graham sticks on as BBC commentator for another several years, he’s the sole reason why loads of British casual viewers still tune into the ESC grand final for his witty, honest, detailed and hysterical commentary along with giving shout outs to families watching at home. Rylan Clark-Neal should be his successor and also commentate the semifinals alone from next year. I seriously hope BBC don’t repeat what they did last time by remaining silent for a long 4 months until a couple of tweets finally teasing the UK entry which turns out to be disappointing even if it’s… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
20 days ago

I’m not really familiar with Rylan, but if Graham left, wouldn’t it be about time a woman got the job?

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I feel like if anyone followed Graham, it’d be another prominent comedian/presenter in that vein. Rylan, maybe, but they were setting up Mel Giedroyc as a secondary Eurovision mascot for a few years.

Jonas
Jonas
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Claudia Winkleman? I think she’s their highest-paid presenter right now, and she does have some Eurovision history – having presented the Eurovision Dance Contest twice with Graham, and “Eurovision: You Decide” once with Terry.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
18 days ago

Becky Hill, indeed. But “Space” has an annoying chorus, so it’s a no to that song from me. It’s close, but no cigar.

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
20 days ago

Has the BBC always been this quiet when it comes to Eurovision?

Roo
Roo
17 days ago
Reply to  Joseph Mendy

Yes and with the cancellation of this years contest the silence is extra noticeable. Normally this time we would be hearing about plans for next years contest, the venue, the hosts, stage design. But all that is carried over from this year as well as many of the contestants. So we haven’t much to talk about right now.

Nadiya
Nadiya
20 days ago

I realise this isn’t the focus of the article, but I’m hoping Steps change their mind. Their success in the OGAE Song Contest shows they have European appeal <3

Toinousse
Toinousse
20 days ago
Reply to  Nadiya

eurofan appeal you mean

Joe
Joe
19 days ago
Reply to  Toinousse

And not the Eurofans that know what’s best for the contest, either.

AndersP
AndersP
20 days ago

I hope James Newman comes back with a proper pop banger. There’s also a part of me hoping since McFly signed with BMG they might be encouraged – there’s an unreleased 2:59 song on their new album (but they’re scheduled to be on tour over the Eurovision fortnight). I wonder too if Since September from ‘Little Mix: The Search’ could be in the running (though again they would supposedly be on tour in May with Little Mix).

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  AndersP

Mcfly is a choice I have wished for For ages. And an LM protégée would also be a good idea.

Kim
Kim
20 days ago
Reply to  AndersP

I thought exactly the same about Since September as well!

Ashton
Ashton
20 days ago

Wiwibloggs, why do you keep trying to push Steps??? Has anyone apart from you actually asked for it?

Jordan
Jordan
20 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

William is obviously a big fan of steps and he is using his platform to push the artists he wants towards Eurovision. It’s the same as in 2016 to 2018 with article after article about Saara Aalto.

The UK would bomb hard if we sent Steps. We need artists that are going to be taken seriously in the contest. Not a band who only really appeal to the LGBT demographic and had their best days in 1998…

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  Jordan

Personally, I like William promoting acts he wants, because Chains On You is an example of an entry sent by an act that William was championing for some time (in fact many years before even the XF audition).

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Leo

Give it a goddamn rest about Athena

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I don’t want to overdo it, and I apologise for that, but this song really struck me in so many ways, and for me it is obvious that it was being slept on, and underrated, and not being given credit for its quality, its lyrics or her style, which, whilst not to everyone’s taste, is what is mine, and made me feel a sense of direction and inspiration during the tail end of the COVID first wave, after feeling bored for 6 weeks of it (before hearing it for the first time on May 13). I know it was designed… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by Leo
Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Leo

I totally get that. Look, I felt the same way about Serhat and I definitely don’t expect everyone to feel the same way.

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I know and understand, and agree to a degree. He was not a winner (in contrast to how I see Athena) but He was an enjoyable entrant who I saw as a qualifier from hearing it, and for whom it was deserved. He also got on well with the other acts. I can see why he would have an effect – he was my 17th fave, but he provided excellent fun in Tel Aviv and I’m sure made many feel better about themselves, as well as putting this country on the map, and proving that spirit and enthusiasm are the… Read more »

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I know and understand, and agree to a degree. He was not a winner (in contrast to how I see Athena) but He was an enjoyable entrant who I saw as a qualifier from hearing it, and for whom it was deserved. He also got on well with the other acts. I can see why he would have an effect – he was my 17th fave, but he provided excellent fun in Tel Aviv and I’m sure made many feel better about themselves, as well as putting the country on the map, and proving that spirit and enthusiasm are the… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by Leo
Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Leo

That’s more or less how I’d look at Athena from my perspective. I never thought of Serhat as a potential winner, though. If you’d gone into 2020 thinking Athena was going to win, you were going to have a bad year.

Last edited 20 days ago by Joe
Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I know it would have been a risk and perhaps too surprising (as much as I liked Loic Nottet And Nadav Guedj from 2015 and Joci Papi from 2017, I knew they’d couldn’t win), but I witnessed Sunstroke Project, Netta And Foureira (3 other entries i really loved) prove doubters wrong with their to-date styles, And one reason why Chains stood out for me was that it was a perfect song for people who like acts like Little Mix, like me, whose fans have a large influence. I do, however, dislike simulators thinking it would have fared below Genealogy (which… Read more »

Jordan
Jordan
20 days ago
Reply to  Leo

Is this the part where I say I don’t think Athena would’ve even qualified? SF2 was a lot stronger than people made it out to be this year and I think Armenia along with Latvia would’ve been the two fan favourites that failed to make it through. And I reckon Finland would’ve qualified and sent Erika Vikman fans into another meltdown haha 😉

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  Jordan

I am adamant that even a bereft stageshow would have not stopped Armenia, and fortunes would have been at a minimum similar to Nadav Guedj in 2015 (I have Israeli roots on one side) where the stand out quality and blend of singing and rapping allowed Israel to fare well on both counts. That Athena has sex symbol potential, does her vocals and rap in such an immersive manner, that it could be a chart song everywhere, and that the song wastes no time to get going, as well as that it was self written, and had France, Greece and… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by Leo
Una
Una
20 days ago

Well, I’m gonna hold on. And even if noone believes I’ll keep the faith …
Dear BBC, can you please give us some news soon?

Bart
Bart
20 days ago

Why Steps? After Tyler en Humperdinck we know that has been artist from a long time ago are unsuccessful at the ESC.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
20 days ago
Reply to  Bart

For some reason, Wiwibloggs keeps pushing Steps for Eurovision as a fan favourite, despite seemingly NO fans wanting Steps to represent them. 😉

CRAIG
CRAIG
20 days ago
Reply to  Bart

Steps have had two number one albums in the last three years. They are hardly in the same ‘long time ago’ basket as Eneglbert Humperdink or Bonnie Tyler

Erasmus
Erasmus
20 days ago
Reply to  CRAIG

true, but Bonnie and Eneglbert actually made some quality music, and not just guilty pleasures.

Jonas
Jonas
20 days ago
Reply to  CRAIG

Maybe the reason their albums get to No.1 is that their fans are old enough to still be buying CDs, which count toward the charts a lot more than streaming. I don’t mean that to be ageist, just a plausible theory.

Last edited 20 days ago by Jonas
mad-professor
mad-professor
19 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

You’re entirely right though.

Fatima
Fatima
19 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I can remember when only young people bought CDs, Jonas. Now they’re not buying anything.

Roo
Roo
18 days ago
Reply to  CRAIG

Those Albums haven’t made any Impact on the Australian charts. It would look like the UK sending has beens to many Australians, a country that the UK would be expecting some points from.