Former Kings and Queens of Eurovision, the United Kingdom has obtained infamy within the Eurovision fanbase of late. At the last contest, the five-time winning nation gained the dubious honour for being the first country to gain nul points in the current voting system.

Many theories have been put forward behind the UK’s recent woes, but most of the criticism has been levied at their national broadcaster, the BBC. Former supervisor for Melodifestivalen, Christer Björkman, even said that it’s “remarkable” how badly the BBC handle Eurovision.

This year, however, it looks like the BBC are making efforts to turn things around. Back in October, they announced a Eurovision partnership with global music company TaP Music, and on Thursday, the BBC also announced another major move.

This year, the UK’s production and broadcast base for the Eurovision Song Contest has moved from London to Salford.

UK’s Eurovision base moves from London to Salford

In the early days of Eurovision, London was one of Eurovision’s spiritual homes. With four hostings, it held the record of the city which hosted the contest the most times until it was equalled by Luxembourg in 1984 and surpassed by Dublin in 1995. These days, with the UK last reaching the Top 10 over a decade ago, the UK really needs a shake-up. From 2022, Salford will be the new British home of Eurovision.

Rachel Ashdown, Commissioning Editor at the BBC said, “The North West of England is famously renowned for its unrivalled musical heritage not just in the UK but across the globe, so it is fitting that from now on the region will be part of the biggest music contest on the planet.”

The Greater Manchester region has undoubtedly been the birthplace of some of the greatest musical figures in British history. The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis, Take That and Pale Waves all herald from the region. Manchester Arena is the largest arena of its type in Europe and voted “International Venue of the Year” in 2007. Although Manchester is yet to host Eurovision, it would be easy to see it happening with such a good venue and musical heritage.

The BBC has a well-established production and broadcast hub in Salford. Other shows made in the city include Blue Peter, BBC Breakfast and Match of the Day. The BBC’s Eurovision coverage will continue to be commissioned by the Director of Entertainment, Kate Phillips. Other shows controlled by Kate Phillips and BBC Studios Entertainment production are The Graham Norton Show and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Andrew Cartmell, the UK Head of Delegation since 2019, will remain in his position.

It is not yet known how the move will affect the BBC’s approach to Eurovision on the whole, other than the spokesperson saying “Good evening from Salford” instead of “Good evening from London”, and perhaps a conspicuous clock will no longer be in the background. But, it is good to see the BBC taking initiative in changing their approach to Eurovision, which is something fans have been hoping for a long time.

The move reflects a broader trend at the BBC to move services and programmes away from London. In recent months the corporation has gone through a major shake-up within its news division. For instance, Newsbeat, its youth-oriented news service, is relocating its hub from London to Birmingham, while the technology show Click is moving to Glasgow. Such moves help the BBC reflect more of the country (aka not just the capital). It also helps reduce costs over the long term.

The BBC at Eurovision

The BBC has consistently organised the UK’s Eurovision participation and is amongst the 21 founding broadcasters of the EBU. However, the BBC has come under pressure in recent years to improve their results at the contest. Paddy O’Connell, former Eurovision commentator, has even suggested that the BBC hand control to ITV, also a member of the EBU.

The BBC’s funding has also been a contentious issue in British parliament this year. Nadine Dorries, UK culture secretary, has confirmed the BBC licence fee will be frozen for the next three years. While support for the BBC still remains high, the rise of streaming services as a competitor to TV is proving a challenge for public broadcasting.

Despite the UK’s dismal run at Eurovision of late, the popularity of Eurovision in the UK remains consistently high. Last year, 7.4 million viewers watched the Grand Final on BBC One, the highest since 2014. It also had an audience share of 48.5%, the highest since 1999. Thus, the prospect of the UK giving up on the contest seems incredibly low. Let’s hope 2022 will be the start of a British renaissance at Eurovision!

So what do you think? Do you think this move is a good sign for the UK at Eurovision? Let us know below!

 

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HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
3 months ago

Netherlands has used Hilversum for as long as I can remember (rather than Amsterdam or The Hague), I wonder if they will say Salford or label it as Manchester. The latter is more well known internationally but it would be incorrect! Would they have the Lowery in the background? And they could get John Cooper Clarke to read it out!

Paddy O’Connell is just salty because the BBC (deservedly) sacked him

Simon
Simon
3 months ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper
AMAAN STORM
AMAAN STORM
4 months ago

Moving from London to Salford? I’d rather see Eurovision UK move from BBC to ITV. That would likely be the move to give us a better result.

Last edited 4 months ago by AMAAN STORM
Alex
Alex
4 months ago

I hope they won’t say Salford and instead they say Manchester, viewers will be confused lol. I will miss the Good evening from London bit but it is what it is.

I don’\t get how this is new as this is a BBC move and not related to Eurovision but anyway….

James
James
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex

As stated above, the delegation will now be based in London.

tylos
tylos
4 months ago

They should have Morrissey announce the scores from the Lesser Free Trade Hall.

lisa thompson
lisa thompson
4 months ago
Reply to  tylos

or Russel Brand lol

David
David
3 months ago
Reply to  tylos

Morrissey is neither from Manchester, nor Salford.
And I’m presuming your comment is a feeble attempt at Humour, given that the Lesser Free trade hall has been a hotel for at least 20 years!

Polegend Godgarina
4 months ago

nobody moved

Craig
Craig
4 months ago

Not to say they won’t still have a London backdrop. I know in 2014 Scott Mills will still in Copenhagen when he delivered the UK points on the Saturday night , having commentated on the semis earlier In the week, but he had a London skyline behind him

Jonas
Jonas
4 months ago
Reply to  Craig

He probably just flew back to London on the Friday. His work was over, he had no reason to stay – and going home is a lot easier than setting up something in Copenhagen. Staying would just be a waste of money.

Alex
Alex
4 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

exactly they flew back on Friday

AndersP
AndersP
4 months ago

I’m not sure why you’d bother to send a press release about this unless some more news about the entry is on its way very soon.

Maybush
4 months ago
Reply to  AndersP

I hope so but last year UK didn’t announce their act until mid February and the song was announced in March.

Shuma
Shuma
4 months ago

Well there we have it folks, if UK saying “Good Evening Europe this is Manchester calling” doesn’t get us the 12 points from Estonia, I’m not sure what will.

Jonas
Jonas
4 months ago
Reply to  Shuma

The voting will have stopped by then, so that doesn’t actually make sense.

Azaad
Azaad
4 months ago

I guess this more or less confirms that unless a non English act wins, the next time the UK hosts Eurovision it’ll be in Manchester.

Una
Una
4 months ago

“The North West of England is famously renowned for its unrivalled musical heritage not just in the UK but across the globe, so it is fitting that from now on the region will be part of the biggest music contest on the planet.”

With due respect, this is a looooong “non-argument”. Give us some news about the UK act, please. A snippet of the entry. A letter from the artist’s/artists’ name(s). A clue trail or something. A serving of pie as reward.

James
James
4 months ago
Reply to  Una

The article in the BBC Media website stated that they’ll have more details on their Eurovision preparations in due time.

Paul
Paul
4 months ago

What will the background be? A disused factory? Stray dogs wandering the streets?? I don’t mind a non London background – Angel of the North, Edinburgh skyline, the white cliffs, but Salford has literally nothing to offer

Dave
Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul

That’s seriously rude and ignorant. Salford and Greater Manchester have an incredible amount to offer. To even suggest a disused factory highlights how you rely on historical archetypes.

James
James
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Isn’t Channel 4’s Hollyoaks set in Manchester? I’d like to see them have a background of The Dog in the Pond.

David
David
3 months ago
Reply to  James

no – that’s set in Liverpool

Jonas
Jonas
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul

It’s not important where they are, as Mel Giedroyc illustrated a few years ago.

Whisker
Whisker
4 months ago

ITV is ALSO an EBU member? Let them do the ESC or rotate like the Russians. Competition is healthy. Let’s see who can do it better.

James
James
4 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

That is if they even want to. If they even care, then they would have continued taking part in JESC.

Jacob
Jacob
4 months ago

Maybe less about moving out and more about song selections – that’s more important, BBC! Unless they have nothing valuable to say.

Denis
Denis
4 months ago

So finally no more London Eye in the background? Mm, let’s hope the French now stops showing us the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre..

Rich
Rich
4 months ago

This is a complete non-story.

Indamira
Indamira
4 months ago

“The United Kingdom will give it’s twelve points to.. Azerbaijan!”

I can already hear those words, so beautiful!

Jack Popfield
Jack Popfield
4 months ago
Reply to  Indamira

Fun fact: UK jury have awarded 12 points to a different country EVERY YEAR since the juries returned in 2009.

Roo
Roo
4 months ago
Reply to  Indamira

I don’t believe that the UK have ever given 12 points to Azerbaijan. Comments like this contribute to the UK problem.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
4 months ago

I have no idea why they made such a big statement over quite uninteresting meaningless news.

Una
Una
4 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

Exactly.

Dave
Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

They often make statements about moving things out of London. They have to do so for transparency as a public broadcaster. Take it up with the law.

Liam Lindsay
Liam Lindsay
4 months ago

I 1000% agree with the decision but, it was expected. The BBC is moving productions to the North of England as it is substantially cheaper to produce things up north than, down south in London. So it’s not completely surprising and the UK is one of those countries that could do a different location for the voting (Australia, Germany, Netherlands & All Nordic/Scandinavia countries are in the same boat) so its something that should of been done a few years ago, when they introduced Eurovision: You Decide. The one major caveat from this as this does make the north of… Read more »

Rifki
Rifki
3 months ago
Reply to  Liam Lindsay

Coventry doesn’t have any venue. Newcastle has the Utilita Arena (up to 11,000 for concerts), but it will be replaced by Gateshead’s Quayside Arena by the end of 2023.

Voilà monsieur
Voilà monsieur
4 months ago

Salford is the Hilversum of the UK. Good to see that there’s more to the UK than just London.

And now can we have more news on our entrant?

Una
Una
4 months ago

No one ever knew there is more to the UK than just London. We needed this statement despite the BBC being biggish everywhere. Just kidding. Yes for news about the act and entry.

Meanwhile Portugal have released their competing entries for FdC.

Jonkonfui
Jonkonfui
4 months ago

I always thought that what you see behind the person announcing votes for each country was a picture.

willchrisiam
willchrisiam
4 months ago
Reply to  Jonkonfui

Yes, most of the time it’s a green screen.

Jack Popfield
Jack Popfield
4 months ago

Interesting news although it’s gonna be weird no longer seeing the London Eye in the voting but there’s obviously far more to UK than London! I’d love to see a live crowd in Salford too. This move from BBC maybe a sign they’re finally starting to turn things around after years of woeful results, their cooperation with TaP music sounds hopeful after they spoke enthusiastically and knew a lot about Eurovision in recent years but I’m just hoping they reveal the artist now or asap, they’ve probably selected the entry or even filming the video rn but the waiting makes… Read more »

Maybush
4 months ago

I don’t think moving to another English city will make any difference. I think it would be better passing the UK Eurovision entry to BBC Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. I think they would try harder to make it a success

Nathan
Nathan
4 months ago
Reply to  Maybush

So English people are the problem? Please elaborate…

Maybush
4 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

No, I think the BBC attitude to Eurovision is the problem. A regional base might bring a breath of fresh air to our entry. My comment wasn’t intended to be anti English, I am English

Denis
Denis
4 months ago
Reply to  Maybush

And leave out the English?

Maybush
4 months ago
Reply to  Denis

No, actually I would like the UK entry to be a choice from the best all 4 UK countries have to offer. I just look at the selection processes of the other countries with envy and wish we had something like that and I can’t see the current BBC set up improving things. Going to a region would give the chance for a fresh approach.

Dave
Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  Maybush

Please, read the article again.
This is about a production base only – not the personnel.

Maybush
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Yes I know, I was focusing on the line in the article “It is not yet known how the move will affect the BBC’s approach to Eurovision on the whole”

Nancy G
Nancy G
4 months ago

While I am sure this was done as a cost-saving measure, I applaud the move. It is great to showcase another part of the country, even if only for a points segment.

John the Go
4 months ago

I’ve always thought that Manchester Central would be the ideal venue for hosting Eurovision if the UK ever had the chance again.

Dave
Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  John the Go

Too small. It only holds about 10k at full capacity. Once you’ve put in a stage and production facilities – you’d be down to about 6k.

LaToya
LaToya
4 months ago
Reply to  John the Go

It should really be in Scotland or Wales, England has hosted too many times.

ete sech
ete sech
4 months ago
Reply to  LaToya

It’d be nice, but do they have any suitable venues?
Edit: I just remembered that Glasgow has The Hydro, but the question still stands for Wales and if Scotland has another such venue

Last edited 4 months ago by ete sech
Rifki
Rifki
3 months ago
Reply to  LaToya

Scotland has OVO Hydro and P&J Live. as for Wales, a new 15,000-seat purely-indoor venue is set to open in Cardiff Bay, but it will not be until late 2024. a new arena of that size is built because Motorpoint Arena is too small (7,500), while Millennium Stadium is a combined outdoor-indoor venue and far too big (70,000).

Last edited 3 months ago by Rifki
Rifki
Rifki
3 months ago
Reply to  John the Go

Manchester Central is too small for such a big event like Eurovision. they currently have two choices:
*Manchester Arena (sponsor-wise known as AO Arena)
*the upcoming Co-Op Live Arena, planned to open in 2023

Kosey
Kosey
4 months ago

What, there is more to the UK than London?

Quelle surprise!