He’s the Dutch creative who worked with national delegations to craft their on-stage spectacles in Rotterdam and Turin. And Twan van de Nieuwenhuijzen is holding on to his role as Head of Contest as the Eurovision Song Contest moves to Liverpool in 2023.
It’s a role he loves. Speaking to our Renske ahead of the contest in Rotterdam, Twan said:
“It is a lot of work, it’s also very fun to do. Well, I can’t imagine another production in which you are talking to people from Iceland and from San Marino and from Georgia, and all of Europe and beyond of course.”
The inclusion of Twan, who has vast and recent experience working with the participating delegations, will no doubt be a huge asset to the team at the BBC, as they prepare to host the contest for the first time since 1998 — and since the contest ballooned into perhaps the biggest and most complex live music event in the world.
Twan’s role was confirmed as part of a larger announcement about the BBC’s senior leadership team for the contest.
Big Boss honours go to Martin Green, who will serve as Managing Director. He’ll oversee the leadership team that has to deliver across several different areas — from the TV spectacle in the arena to events in the city and more. He was Chief Creative Officer of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, overseeing a vast cultural programme on top of the opening and closing ceremonies.
“I am thrilled to have been asked to lead the delivery of Eurovision 2023 for the BBC,” he said in a statement on the EBU-run Eurovision web site. “As a lifelong fan of the contest, it’s a dream come true. I’m looking forward to working with the brilliant team at the BBC, in Liverpool and the EBU and of course colleagues from Ukraine; I speak for us all when I say we’ll do you proud.”
Rachel Ashdown is the Lead Commissioner for the BBC on Eurovision 2023. Her name should be familiar to anyone who has watched the credits of Eurovision programming in the UK in recent years. She has been the commissioner for all of the BBC’s Eurovision coverage since 2018 and served on the Reference Group, which governs the song contest, between 2019 and 2021.
Along with BBC Studios, she’s tasked with producing both Semi-Finals and the Grand Final, overseeing the overall look and tone of the live shows. She will also commission other programmes that will run across the BBC. According to the EBU, “this will include the Allocation Draw and other Eurovision Song Contest based shows in the weeks leading up to the event.”
Andrew Cartmell will serve as Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, which means he has “overall responsibility for the Semi-Finals and the Grand Final.” As Head of Delegation in Turin, Andrew helped turn around the U.K.’s fortunes at the event.
Lee Smithurst has served as Assistant Head of Delegation for the U.K. in recent years — including in Turin — and will helm the U.K.’s efforts at Junior Eurovision in Yerevan this December. He’s also worked on I Can See Your Voice, Kylie Minogue’s Secret Night and Soccer Aid.
And James O’ Brien will be Executive in Charge of Production at BBC Studios. His credits include the MTV Europe Music Awards, the London 2012 Olympics and the most recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.