May is going to be quite a month with three Bank Holidays, the Coronation of King Charles III and EUROVISION!
The United Kingdom has been a part of the Eurovision Song Contest 64 times. It participated in the second contest in 1957 and every year since 1959. Coupled with Sweden and the Netherlands, we are one of only three countries to have achieved victory in four decades in Eurovision. The UK is also among the "Big Five" countries alongside France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. These five nations are prequalified for the final each year due to their contributions to the European Broadcasting Union.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) transmits and produces the Eurovision Song Contest, having held various national selection events to pick the best British entry. The UK has been victorious five times and placed as runner-up on a record sixteen occasions, including Sam Ryder's "I'm a Space Man" in 2022.
The United Kingdom holds the record for hosting the contest a total of eight times, with four instances in London (1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977) and one each in Edinburgh (1972), Brighton (1974), Harrogate (1982) and Birmingham (1998).
The UK will also be hosting the competition for a ninth time in 2023, this time in Liverpool. The competition is being held in the UK because the 2022 winner, Ukraine, cannot host the contest because of the Russian invasion and war.
As well as the Rule Britannia Collection which features everything you need to celebrate the Coronation and Eurovision, we have also produced a micro collection of t-shirts to celebrate the UK's five winners and salute Ukraine, who were worthy winners in 2022 and who should be hosting events this time around. They are all available in the Rule Britannia Collection.
The United Kingdom's five winners are:
Sandie Shaw's hit single "Puppet on a String" (1967) was a favourite at the 1967 Eurovision song contest, propelling her to international fame. Its cheerful tune and lighthearted lyrics enthralled audiences everywhere. Her dance moves solidified her status as an icon of pop music.
In 1969, Lulu's song "Boom Bang-a-Bang" helped her become one of four winners in the Eurovision competition. Her powerful voice and vibrant personality were on full display, and the hooky chorus and poppy instrumental accompaniment made this an all-time classic. Lulu continues to be a favourite among fans due to her outstanding performance.
Brotherhood of Man won the 1976 Eurovision Contest with their hit song "Save Your Kisses For Me". The cheerful music and its romantic lyrics have made this tune a timeless classic, still beloved by fans all these years later.
Bucks Fizz and their classic "Making Your Mind Up" (1981) is fondly remembered by many Eurovision fans, particularly for the moment when the two male group members shockingly ripped off the skirts of their female counterparts, only to reveal shorter skirts beneath.
Katrina and the Waves, led by vocalist Katrina Leskanich, soared to victory in Eurovision 1997 with their song "Love Shine a Light". She declared that winning was "more than a dream" and said she was lucky to be the one performing it as the track had a feeling of togetherness and universality that brightens people's spirits; she recognized this quality as something that embodies Eurovision.
Before 2000, the United Kingdom placed outside the top ten only three times (1978, 1987, and 1999). Since then, we've only made it into the top ten on three occasions: Jessica Garlick came in third in 2002, Jade Ewen fifth in 2009, and of course Sam Ryder second in 2022.
In addition, eleven UK entries did not make it into the top twenty - most notoriously Jemini's infamous 2003 entry that earned nil points and made us come last for the first time ever.
To add to this dismal streak, Andy Abraham was awarded 14 points in 2008; Josh Dubovie got 10 points in 2010; Michael Rice got 11 points in 2019; and James Newman earned zero points in 2021. Music or politics?
So, here we come to 2023, and our hopes and expectations lie on the capable shoulders of Mae Muller with "I Wrote a Song". I love this catchy tune. Despite being a sad tale of betrayal and revenge, it's bizarrely got an upbeat and catchy feel. So let's all get behind her.
Good luck, Mae!
All the best