BBC celebrates 50 years in style

by Richard West-Soley 94 views

Tonight saw the recording of BBC Television's very own tribute to fifty years of the Eurovision Song Contest: Boom bang a bang: 50 years of Eurovision with Terry Wogan. The highly anticipated special programme, named after the Lulu's joint winner for the UK from 1969, was filmed at the BBC TV Studios in London before an enthusiastic studio audience. Esctoday.com can now bring you an exclusive report from the TV extravaganza fans have been waiting for!

In a jam-packed, vibrant show covering a comprehensive 47 of the 50 Eurovision Song Contests in some form, special montages focus on key themes from the contest's history, including a wry look at former presenters (not sparing 1998 host and compere for the evening Terry himself!), costumes and interval acts. Song clips from every decade of the contest are featured in a real treat for all fans.

340 lucky audience members were present for the spectacle, whittled down from over 1000 ticket applications. The show stands as a document of the undisputable enthusiasm the UK public still share for the Eurovision Song Contest, proving that the show is as alive and kicking as ever among Britons. Undoubtedly, one of the highlights was the live performance of this year's hope for the UK.

First dry run before Athens
Rapper DJ Daz Sampson, who carries the hopes of the UK to Athens for the 2006 edition of the contest, gave a characteristically fun performance of his entry Teenage life to a supportive home crowd. For the first time, the audience were treated to a completely live version of the entry, and could judge how the new arrangement of the song sounds with live backing from Daz's troupe of singing schoolgirls. The performance was treated by Daz and his fellow performers as the first 'dry run' before the contest itself, and the conditions were as close as possible to the real thing, down to the very same headsets that will be used on May 20th.

Line-up change
The line-up for the UK entry has changed slightly from the Making your mind up version of March. Daz's original decks girl, who manned the turntables behind the crew, is only sixteen, and would therefore have required both a tutor and guardian to accompany her to Athens. To get round this problem, she has been replaced by none other than Emily Reed, who came second to Jemini in the UK selection of 2003, singing Help me. Three years later, Emily finally makes the Eurovision stage not as a soloist, but as a backing singer.

The track sees its official release as a single on May 8th, although it received an unexpected commercial debut on the new compilation It's pop time by BMG, released on April 10th. Daz is already well into the pre-contest promotional rounds, fresh from a live appearance at Birmingham's Nightingale club last Saturday and with European TV appearances planned before his arrival in Athens in May.

TV viewers will have to wait until May before the show is aired on BBC1, on Saturday May 13th or Tuesday May 16th (exact date and time to be announced soon). Despite not broadcasting last year's Congratulations show to mark the fiftieth year of the Eurovision Song Contest, it is hoped that this broadcast of Boom bang a bang, and the enthusiasm it has generated, will whet the appetite of the BBC to provide much more Eurovision Song Contest coverage in the future.

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the esctoday.com team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site Polyglossic.com.

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