Eurovision 2021 is almost upon us. And it’s not just fans that are getting excited. The United Kingdom’s BBC is offering up a cornucopia of song contest content across TV, radio and its online video and audio services. British fans may not be able to travel to Rotterdam, but they’ll certainly have plenty to keep them entertained at home.
Best of all, most of the audio content will also be accessible to international listeners.
BBC Eurovision 2021 Schedule
The broadcaster’s Director of Entertainment, Kate Phillips says “Eurovision is coming back with a boom bang a bang to the BBC this year! After a year without the live contest, we can’t wait for it to return bigger and better. We’ll be celebrating Eurovision across the BBC on all our platforms, from TV, radio and online. Over on BBC Four, coverage will go beyond the semi-finals, where viewers can watch some classic Eurovision moments from across the years. Radio 2 continues to be the home of Eurovision on the airwaves, and Radio 1 Newsbeat brings an exclusive documentary to iPlayer following James Newman and his journey to Rotterdam! Not forgetting the Grand Final over on BBC One, plus so much more brilliant Eurovision content not to be missed this May on the BBC!”
All times listed are British Summer Time (BST).
Grand Final — Saturday 22 May, 8pm
As previously announced, chat show host and Drag Race UK judge Graham Norton will provide commentary for a 12th year. Meanwhile, the UK’s jury points will be delivered by Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden.
Semi-Finals — Tuesday 18 May and Thursday 20 May, 8pm
BBC’s regular semi-final commentators Rylan Clark-Neal and Scott Mills are back once again. They’ll be joined by Chelcee Grimes, a songwriter who’s worked with the likes of James Newman and Roxen.
Classic Eurovision content on Friday 21 May…
The A-Z of Eurovision
Originally broadcast last year, Rylan Clark-Neal narrates a guide to all things Eurovision in this compilation of highlights, as he takes a sideways look at the greatest singing contest on the planet.
Eurovision at 60
First shown to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest’s 60th anniversary in 2015, BBC Four joins the celebrations with an appreciation of the joy, fun, scandal and intrigue that has defined the Eurovision Song Contest. This documentary features interviews with Graham Norton, Conchita Wurst, Sir Terry Wogan and a whole host of Eurovision stars, songwriters and programme-makers.
Abba at the BBC
Abba at the BBC charts the meteoric rise of the band with some of their greatest performances at the BBC. We begin in 1974 with their Top of the Pops appearance; we even get to see the band entertaining holidaymakers in Torbay in a 1975 Seaside Special.
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 celebrates Eurovision 2021 across the station, building up to the live Eurovision Grand Final hosted by Ken Bruce on the big night itself on Saturday 22 May.
Other Radio 2 content includes…
In the weeks building up to the final, OJ Borg will be playing his very own Eurovision One Hit Wonders. OJ loves Eurovision – he’s half Maltese and, for Malta, it is like their World Cup! He’ll be playing some of the contest’s best one-hit wonders that charted in the UK, including the last Eurovision song to get to number one. He’ll also be chatting to Sally Ann Triplett from Bardo who represented the UK in 1982 in Harrogate. They finished in seventh place with their song, One Step Further, which reached number two in the charts – it was also John Peel’s favourite Eurovision song! Sally was also a member of Prima Donna who finished third in Eurovision 1980 with Love Enough For Two, but just missed out on the UK Top 40 (midnight-3am, Monday 10 May) – an Audio Always production.
James Newman picks his Tracks Of My Years from Monday to Thursday on The Ken Bruce Show (17-20 May) and is the guest on Ken’s Eurovision Preview Special where he’ll be catching up with reigning Dutch Eurovision winner, Duncan Laurence, and hearing from two of the main presenters on the night – Jan Smit and Edsilia Rombley. Also that day Ken will be looking ahead to some of the songs tipped to score big points in the final with broadcaster and self-confessed Eurovision super fan, Paddy O’Connell (9.30am-midday, Friday 21 May).
There will be lots of build-up on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show as Eurovision superfan Richie Anderson supports James and his Eurovision bid (6.30-9.30am). On The Steve Wright Show, Scott Mills and Rylan Clark-Neal will join Steve to look ahead to the semi-finals taking place that week (2-5pm). The Sara Cox Show will be featuring a Eurovision themed First & Last, chatting to a listener about their memories of the first and last Eurovision shows they attended (5-7pm, Thursday 20 May).
Rylan will have Sonia – who came second in 1993’s Eurovision with her song, “Better The Devil You Know” – as his guest (Sat 8 May) and a Eurovision Desert Rylan Mix (3-6pm, Saturday 15 May).
Michael Ball will be closing the vote for the greatest Eurovision Song of all-time (10am-1pm, Sunday 9 May); there will be a Eurovision special of his weekly On the Ball topical entertainment quiz and he’ll be re-living his own Eurovision experience, leading the nation with his One Step Out of Time routine for the weekly dance sensation that is Boogie with Ball (Sunday 16 May).
On Saturday 22 May, the day of the Grand Final…
Dermot O’Leary will be speaking to Irish singer and two times Eurovision winner, Johnny Logan (8-10am).
Claudia Winkleman will be chatting to James Newman live from Rotterdam ahead of the final that night, finding out how he’s feeling now the show is just a few hours away (10am-1pm).
Ken Bruce reveals The UK’s All Time Eurovision Top 50, counting down the chart of favourite entries as voted for by UK Eurovision fans (available on BBC Sounds from Tuesday 18 May and on Radio 2 from 1-3pm today).
Rylan and Scott’s Eurovision Party will be hearing from some of the contest’s commentators from across Europe and beyond and speaking to Michelle Visage (3-6pm).
Sophie Ellis Bextor’s Eurovision Kitchen Disco will provide the ultimate warm up for the UK for the main event (6-8pm). Ken Bruce presents the star attraction – the Eurovision Grand Final from 8pm until the end of the show.
Then it’s Richie Anderson’s Eurovision After Party continuing the celebrations for those who want to keep the party going (from the end of the Grand Final until 2am).
Radio 2 listeners may notice different sound on the station as Sander Hoogendoorn – a presenter on public broadcaster, NPO 3FM, in the Netherlands – is the network’s ‘voice’ of Eurovision. He’s recorded the promotional programming trails and jingles which are being played out across the month leading up to the Grand Final, bringing the sound of Rotterdam to Radio 2’s coverage of the event.
BBC Sounds — BBC’s podcast service
A special edition of Vanessa Feltz’s A Dance Through The Decades features classic Eurovision anthems from each of the last six decades of the contest (from Friday 14 May).
There will be two editions of Rylan’s Singalong Eurovision Anthems – The Singalongadingdong Eurovision Mix featuring all the wild tracks that have entered over the years including Cezar’s “It’s My Life”, Genghis Khan’s “Dschinghis Khan” and Netta’s “Toy” (available now), and The Classics featuring all the best-known and much-loved entries (available from 8 May).
Plus a My Life in a Mixtape Eurovision Special with Loreen, the Swedish winner of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Euphoria”, will be playing the songs that have meant the most to her – shaping her musical journey, the songs she adored as a teenager, what was the first song she sang, which artist will she’ll never stop loving and more. The show will dip a Eurovision toe into the wealth of past winners and, of course, Loreen’s own Eurovision journey.
Also available on BBC Sounds is the Eurovision Collection featuring classic shows from the BBC archive from the past 20 years, including The Luck of the Irish with Terry Wogan, From Abba to Azerbaijan with Maria McErlane and featuring Terry Wogan, Terry Wogan’s Tracks of My Eurovision Years with Ken Bruce and Terry, Steve Wright’s Eurovision Love Songs, Nil Points with Rufus Hound, Eurovision Pick of the Pops 50s & 60s with Tony Blackburn, Eurovision Pick of the Pops 70s & 80s, and Eurovision Pick of the Pops 90s & beyond.
After the Grand Final, from Sunday morning Visage’s Eurovision Review will be available with Michelle Visage giving her review of the highs and lows of the Eurovision 2021 final.
BBC iPlayer — BBC’s video on demand service
Eurovision 2021: The Road To Rotterdam — From Monday 17 May
An iPlayer documentary from Radio 1 Newsbeat with exclusive access to James Newman as he prepares to represent the UK with “Embers” at one of the world’s biggest song competitions in the world. The team follow him for the last few months as he gets ready for the biggest moment of his life… from his music video shoot, to his rehearsals… all the way to his arrival in Rotterdam. The documentary also features many of the other 38 acts to show how they’ve been navigating a global pandemic to get to the Netherlands.
There will also be a Eurovision collection on iPlayer to celebrate the contests return, including classic Eurovision Song Contest finals and a selection of music programmes including a TOTPs special and a profile of ABBA.