Swedish Eurovision veteran Christer Björkman has joined the CORE production team for Eurovision 2017 in Kyiv, Ukraine. In an interview with Swedish broadcaster SVT, Christer Björkman speaks about his role in the upcoming ESC.
Ukrainian broadcaster NTU hired Christer Björkman for his oustanding credits in the field of Eurovision, as he was executive producer for the popular Swedish selection for Eurovision, Melodifestivalen, and he has extensive experience concerning the ESC, as a former participant and due to his active involvement in the Swedish delegation, being on of the producers for the Eurovision shows in Malmö (2013) and Stockholm (2016). Christer Bjorkman is excited and proud to be able to help NTU create an unforgettable Eurovision experience:
It will be an exciting and really fun challenge, and we are also proud to help someone else. It is fun. This is what we hoped would happen, when I stepped back in the overall Eurovision Song Contest organization. I resigned my executive producer role, just to release time and be able to help other countries, both for the ESC but also for national competitions.
In this way, we can use what we have built up in Sweden to support other countries. To build the brand from the other side, so to speak. It is also positive for our Swedish contest.
SVT Entertainment stands by Christer Björkman’s appointment in Ukraine, as SVT head of programme Ebba Adielsson says:
Christer’s experience, knowledge and intuition are a guarantee that the production of the competition will maintain the highest class, and it in turn helps to strengthen the brand ESC, and by extension the whole Eurovision Song Contest.
Christer Björkman will have a busy time, combining his work for SVT and the ESC in Ukraine:
For the competition the time is tight, as the head of delegation’s meeting is the day after our national final. There and then, all information will be submitted by the countries. There will be no free time. I’ll just spare forces. Sleep on the plane.
Christer Björkman recalls how the NTU contacted him:
They made contact just before Christmas and I was very keen to solve it. They offered me the position as the show’s producer, and since then I thought about it, talked to our project leader and described how the job would affect Melodifestivalen. We secured the Melodifestivalen project, calmed things down, and then they had in Ukraine a process that also took some time.
His work in organizing Eurovision 2016 in Stockholm will be of help in Kyiv, Christer Björkman says:
We made quite a few changes concerning the competition in the spring. Among other things, we introduced a contest desk that did not exist before. There, the delegations could come directly to us who worked with the show that week, and talk about all things and get answers. Previously it had been virtually impossible to get a hearing for improvement, they did not have anywhere to go to, and it had created concerns in countries over the years. By means of this desk, delegations can go directly to talk about theit wishes and get explanations. So things do not become turbulent. It was perceived as very positive in Stockholm, and delegation protection is something you want to copy in Kiev.
Yet the ESC 2017 in Kyiv will have its own unique atmosphere:
Eurovision is different in every country. Everyone has their idea how to do it and their own visions. We are attentive and listen to what they want to accomplish. Although the competition does well if it continues to pick up what was positive in prior years, yet not as much concerning the content of the program. The contents of the script is the national soul of the ESC, while the competition itself is rather a collaboration. All the contestants’ countries are co-producers there. It should also respect and not dismiss a lot of their own visions and ideas. It is really important that you should work as hard with all countries. When an artist does well you should feel that you are proud of what we achieved, whatever the outcome of the competition.
Regarding the situation in Ukraine, Christer Björkman stated:
I think it will be a very great honour for them to show off Kiev to the world. There is a huge national pride in their culture and to be the host country. I can feel it when I’m there. They really want to make this as good as it can be. We are a number of experts who have done this before and really want to help Ukraine to achieve results. It will be an exciting and really fun challenge, and we are also proud to help someone else.
Furthermore the public need not fear for a ‘Swedish takeover” of Eurovision 2017:
I can only answer for how it looks from the competition’s side. It will be a mix of many nationalities, right. Someone from Austria, one from Ukraine, one from Denmark, one from Sweden… We become a pan-European organization. The goal is not a Swedish takeover, we should have a mix that is the best. For both the whole show and individual personalities, to make everyone happy.
Given his vast experiene, would Christer Björkman ever consider accepting the post of Eurovision’s executive producer?:
No, it’s just almost too creative for me. I like to be hands-on. But I see in my future to be able to help other countries with their competitions. I think that’s fun.
You may read the original interview by Anton Lindqvist of SVT, in Swedish here.
Enjoy Christer Björkman performing his song I morgon är en annan dag at Eurovision 1992 in Malmö, Sweden:
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