I feel a bit sorry for the UK. For the entirety of the Olympic fortnight, all eyes were firmly on the capital. Then suddenly, there was the Spice Girls and One Direction and a bunch of fireworks, and it was all over – bye bye London 2012, hello Rio 2016.
As such, I feel a civic duty to help out in any way I can, so I thought I’d give the UK some one-on-one time. You know, so they don’t feel so lonely in the aftermath of the (second) Greatest Show on Earth.
I hope you enjoy this little look back at the ESC history of a Big Sixer!
THE UNITED KINGDOM: THE STATS
1957 – 7th place with All by Patricia Bredin
5 – 1967, 1969, 1976, 1981, 1997
15 – 1959-61, 1964-65, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1988-89, 1992-93, 1998
3 – 1973, 1980, 2002
Top 10 finishes
Top 10 success rate
Top 5 finishes
Top 5 success rate
Wooden spoons (last places!)
3/55 – 2003, 2008, 2010
Semi final qualifications
Qualification success rate
(Apologies for the lack of a more recent recap.)
My favourite entry
Why Do I Always Get It Wrong? by Live Report (1989). You’ll probably have seen this listed as my second-favourite entry of all time, as well as on countless other occasions because I love it so much and have a strange compulsion to refer to it whenever possible. WDIAGIW (say that three times fast!) is a classic 80s power ballad with lyrics that go where none ever had before by lamenting a broken heart. Did I say none? Sorry, I meant gajillions. Anyway, I think most of us would agree the UK should have beaten Yugoslavia in Lausanne, but as it happened, yet another second placing – their twelfth – was all they could muster. Not that that’s anything to bitch behind someone’s back about.
My least favourite entry
No Dream Impossible by Lindsay Dracass (2001). I have few words but lots of letters for this one – W, T and F, for example. I think someone at the BBC must have come to the conclusion that just because a badly-dressed woman with a dated dance song had failed at Eurovision the previous year, it didn’t mean repeating the formula would end badly. News flash: it DID. For my ears and eyes at the very least.
I must also mention That Sounds Good To Me by Josh Dubovie (2010). Now, I have nothing against J.Dub (he seems like a top bloke. Plus, we are Twitter buddies) but this song is beyond belief. I bet even Jemini are embarrassed that it now shares page space with them in the history of last-placed entries.
More of the memorable
Sing Little Birdie by Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson (1959) – whistling in a song these days can rocket you to #1 all over the world. Just ask Maroon 5 or Flo Rida.
Puppet On A String by Sandie Shaw (1967) – another classic that kicked the contest into high gear.
Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz (1981) – the manufacturers of Velcro are probably Bucks Fizz’ biggest fans.
Just A Little Bit by Gina G (1996) – I knew this one long before I knew what Eurovision was, which is the mark of serious success.
Cry Baby by Jemini (2003) – if something hadn’t gone terribly wrong for these guys, nobody would remember them. See! Every out-of-tune cloud has a silver lining.
Their best stage show
Teenage Life by Daz Sampson (2006). Yes, it was cheesy, and yes, the fact that the middle-aged, tracksuit-clad Daz was getting down with girls in school uniform was rather unsettling – but if you’re going to have a theme, you may as well run with it. My favourite part has to be the flag blizzard, which makes me wish I’d hidden a stack of them in my school desk when I had the chance, and thrown them up in the air at random moments. No one would have questioned that, would they?
Their best costume/s
Sonia (1993). I can’t go past a structured shoulder, especially when there’s two of them and they’re attached to a bright purple catsuit. I might have to hunt one down for my upcoming graduation…
Their best vocalist/s
Lulu (1969)/Jade Ewen (2009). Lulu’s one of those people who can make a live rendition of a song sound better than the studio version. As for Jade, well, she’s one of those people who can casually share the stage with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, get beaten up by a violinist AND nail her vocal, all at the same time.
I love the UK in the ESC because…
Let’s face it, things just wouldn’t be the same without Royaume-Uni complaining that they came last or next-to-last yet again for whatever reason (Europe hates them, it’s a race thing, etc etc). That’s only in recent years, of course. They had an enviable record of success up until the 2000s, and they still tie with France, Luxembourg and Sweden for the second-greatest amount of wins. Speaking of ‘second’, nobody else has mastered the art of being runner-up quite like the UK, who as mentioned above have been beaten into the top spot 15 times. If only they could manage that nowadays! Still, no matter how badly they do, year after year and without just cause (nothing to do with dodgy song choices or anything) they always come back, and I don’t reckon we’re in danger of seeing a contest without them any time soon. They may mock Eurovision, but they couldn’t stand to not be a part of it – kind of like a teenager who winds up at a kids’ party where the guests are playing Musical Chairs. You know you want in, UK. We all do.
What are your thoughts on the UK in Eurovision?