The BBC will bring a complete overhaul to the United Kingdom's Eurovision Song Contest selection in 2009. Amongst the planned changes are the replacement of Terry Wogan with Graham Norton as host of the selection shows, a multi-week format and the most prominant name in musical theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber, as a lead judge. esctoday.com believes that he will also write the song that the winner will take to Moscow to represent the country.
The format of the United Kingdom's new selection show is set to follow the successful series such as How do you solve a problem like Maria, Any dream will do and I'd do anything. In the shows, 12 candidates each completed for a lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber stage productions (The sound of music, Joseph and the amazing technocolour dreamcoat and Oliver! respectively). The shows have all been ratings hits and have won several television awards.
In today's Sun and Telegraph newspapers,a BBC insider is said to have stated: "Millions of Brits watch the Eurovision but always leave disappointed that we’ve done so badly…So next year we’re going all out. Graham’s been drafted in to host and Lord Andrew will give his important input, possibly as part of a panel or as a mentor. There is likely to be a public voting element to it as well. Next year really could be the year Britain comes out on top.”
With the newly annouced changes to the Eurovision Song Contest voting, and the return of the juries to form part of the voting process, the BBC will feel that they have a real chance to make an impact on the voting board after years of what has been perceived as underachievement due to the voting patterns across the continent.
Earlier this year, Andrew Lloyd Webber went on record to say that following the success of the first three shows, he will wait until 2010 before doing the next one to select a performer for a stage show. That leaves the spring schedules clear to create a show along the same format that can be used to find the United Kingdom's Eurovision Song Contest entry.
With John Barrowman amongst the Lord Andrew show judges as well as a pundit and judge in recent British national finals, it seems increasingly likely that the BBC are set to take a highly successful show and use it as the basis of selecting their next Eurovision Song Contest representative, perhaps in a show titled How do you solve a problem like Eurovision after recent results in the competition (also touted as the title of the 2008 national final by several newspapers).