The BBC have confirmed to esctoday.com that the 4th annual Making Your Mind Up national final will take place on March 17th. The show will be broadcast from the Maidstone Studios in Kent where the capacity audience is 1000. This will be the largest audience in recent times for a British national final. Lordi will perform at the event, the only national final where they will perform this year.
The BBC confirmed to esctoday.com that the date is set for March 17th. Asked about whether they have permission to select the song after the March 12th deadline set by the EBU, we were told that they had received permission some time ago and that there would be no problems.
The date had to be kept secret until the last possible moment in order to protect the event from possible scheduling changes from rival broadcasters. This is to maximise the audience of the show and increase interest in the Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom.
EXTRACTS FROM THE BBC PRESS RELEASE:
With a huge number of hits between them it's up to the public to choose who they think is the act to take the UK to the top in Helsinki.
The huge annual event that is Eurovision has a record number of 42 countries competing and, after Daz Sampson finished in 19th place last year with Teenage Life, the pressure is on once again.
Unexpectedly, monster rockers Lordi stormed to victory in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest scoring a huge 292 points with the song Hard Rock Hallelujah.
So, it's anyone's guess who will make it to the top this year.
In a UK exclusive, Lordi will be performing on Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up in March. It will be their only television performance before their appearance at Eurovision in Helsinki.
Eurovision: Making Your Mind up will be hosted once again by Eurovision veteran Sir Terry Wogan and this year he will be joined by Fearne Cotton.
Terry said: "This year hope springs eternal. Who knows, this could be the year that the UK makes it into the top ten. It's about time!"
Fearne is no stranger to Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up having served as a judge on last year's show. She said: "I'm delighted to be returning to Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up as a co-host with my pal Terry this year. I can't wait to see what tricks the acts have up their sleeves this time. Can anyone top DJ Daz's troupe of school girls? "It's an eclectic mix again this year so it will be anyone's guess who the public will vote for."
Terry and Fearne will be joined in the studio by a panel of experts who will cast their judgement over the acts but the ultimate decision about who will be packing up their parka for Helsinki will be the public's.
Viewers can vote for their favourite act by phone or text with all the profits from the votes going to BBC Children In Need. The winner will be revealed in a second show later in the evening.
This year Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up will be filmed at the Maidstone Studios in Kent with the whole show having a brand new look and feel.
UPDATE: OFFICIAL COMMENT FROM EBU
After the BBC confirmed to esctoday.com that the national final would be held on March 17th, we asked Svante Stockselius, the Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest for an official comment regarding the timing of the show. Mr. Stockselius explained that:
"Since the Eurovision Song Contestthis year is much earlier than normal, we also need to arrange the HoD-meeting (with delivery of songs) earlier than normal. BBC informed us already a year ago, before the dates were confirmed, that they will have big scheduling problems this spring and counted on the HoD-meeting to be arranged around the same dates as last year (around 20 March).
We decided to make an exception for BBC to deliver their entry one week later. All necessary precautions have been made, this will not interfer with the preparations. Last year two of the participating members delivered their material late; France and Ukraine".