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The Eurovision logo on display in Liverpool, May 2023

Every time the UK has hosted Eurovision

Image: Sky HISTORY

How many times has the UK hosted Eurovision?

On Saturday, 13th May 2023, the UK will host the Eurovision song contest finals for a record ninth time. In fact, even without the event in May, the UK has already hosted the final more times than any other country.

Let’s take a quick look at the history of Eurovision in the UK, find out who won in the years it hosted and dig out some lesser-known facts as we go along.

29th March 1960

Eurovision was only in its fourth year when the event was held in London’s Royal Festival Hall. It should have been hosted by Norway (as they were the ’59 winners) but they declined. Bryan Johnston’s performance of ‘Looking High, High, High’ didn’t fare too badly, coming in second. However, that year the prize went to France with Jacqueline Boyer’s ‘Tom Pillibi’.

23rd March 1963

The BBC Television Centre in London undertook hosting duties for the eighth Eurovision Song Contest after former winners, France, refused. Despite the best efforts of Ronnie Carroll with ‘Say Wonderful Things’ who came in fourth, the title went to Denmark with ‘Dansevise’ by Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann.

6th April 1968

Sandy Shaw won the 1967 event with ‘Puppet on a String’, so British expectations were high for the thirteenth Eurovision at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall. For the first time ever the singing competition was filmed in colour. Spain clinched the crown with ‘La, La, La’ by Massiel and Cliff Richard’s ‘Congratulations’ was pipped by one point to a respectable second.

25th March 1972

Again, the UK was hosting the event because the country of the ’71 title holder, Monaco, couldn’t. For the first time, the UK event was held outside of England at Usher Hall in Edinburgh. The seventeenth incarnation of the contest was won by Greek singer Vicky Leandros singing ‘Après toi’ for Luxembourg and the UK came second (again) with the New Seeker’s ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’.

6th April 1974

Luxembourg turned down the chance to host the ’74 Eurovision because, after winning both 1972 and 1973, it was too expensive. Their loss, because this was a historical year. The Brighton Dome took centre stage for the nineteenth Eurovision contest. Not even the late, great Olivia Newton-John, with her rendition of ‘Long Live Love’ (which came fourth), could compete with the winners; a Swedish act by the name of ABBA and a ditty called ‘Waterloo’. Now, whatever happened to them?

7th May 1977

‘Save Your Kisses For Me’ by the Brotherhood of Man had triumphed in 1976, so the UK was hosting the 22nd event as title holders, this time in Wembley’s Conference Centre. ‘L'Oiseau et l'Enfant’ by France’s Marie Myriam beat the UK’s ‘Rock Bottom’ by Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran to second place.

24th April 1982

The 27th Eurovision Song Contests was held in Harrogate’s International Centre in Yorkshire. Bardo’s ‘One Step Further’ performed relatively poorly coming in a lowly seventh. The contest was won by Germany with ‘Ein bißchen Frieden’ (which translates as ‘A Bit of Peace’) by 17-year-old Nicole Holoch.

The youngest winner of the Eurovision song contest is Belgian Sandra Kim who was thirteen years old when she won Eurovision 1986 with her hit, ‘J'Aime La Vie’. It’s alleged she told the producers she was fifteen at the time.

The oldest Eurovision winner was Dave Benton from Estonia who was exactly 50 years and 101 days old when he won the Danish contest in 2001 alongside singing partner Tanel Padar with their song, ‘Everybody’.

9th May 1998

Sixteen years after it had last hosted, the UK hosted the 43rd Eurovision contest in Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena as title holders for the previous year’s song, ‘Waking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves. For the fifth time in its hosting history, the UK came second with Imaani’s ‘Where are You?’

The crown went to Israel’s Dana International with ‘Diva’. She was the first trans performer to win the title, proving that diversity and inclusivity were evident in Eurovision almost 20 years before ‘woke’ was updated in the Oxford English Dictionary.