TV Cream

Cream over Britain

“It gets a little hairy up at the old scoreboard…”

Nul points! All the songs are called Ding Ding Dong! And Norway are rubbish, aren’t they? Ho fucking ho.

It’s time for Eurovision once more, as the pan-continental search for Europe’s songatheyear comes round again. TV Cream likes to eschew the hateful “hey, it’s so bad it’s good” approach to the whole shebang, and for a start, we’d like to point out that they never say “nul points”, because the points system goes down from twelve to one, so no “nul points” are ever actually allocated or referred to. And people are still somehow wringing comedic mileage out of the mere words Katie Boyle! Grrr.

Anyway, now we’re post-Wogan, and hence – in theory – post a few of these Eurocliches. And although Tel’s shadow looms large (as it does whenever the sun comes out), let’s not forget that back in 1967, it was Rolf Harris on the BBC lipmic in Vienna, which seems a bit of a waste.

In 1970, it was David Gell, whoever the hell he was, the following year it was Dave Lee Travis, and in 1972 – Tom Fleming! Bet that was a rocking show. In 1973 it was Terry for the first time, with Pete Murray on the wireless, and in 1974 it was David Vine (“My goodness she sold that well!”)

In 1975 it was the exact opposite that it had been in 1973, as Tel was relegated to the radio, so he must have made a mess of it before, and Pete Murray was on the telly. In 1976 it was Michael Aspel, and Pete was back in 1977, before Tel made a triumphant return in 1978. John Dunn did it in 1979, bizarrely, and Tel wasn’t involved at all, as Ray Moore was on the radio.

But enough of that, because here’s a long list, in the shape of TV Cream’s guide to Ten Great British Eurovision
Failures:

1969 CONGRATULATIONS – CLIFF RICHARD
Ah, Cliff, forever wriggling around in figure-hugging blue crushed regency velvet in front of that big gold ‘E-U-R-O-V-I-S-I-O-N’ tableau. Penned by Coulter and Martin, responsible for Puppet On A String and, er, Back Home, but pipped into second by Spain’s La La La.

1974 LONG LIVE LOVE – OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN
To Brighton for 1974’s extravaganza, into which these isles pitched Olivia toothily into the fray, in naught but a blue nightie. But we were betting without Abba, and ONJ could only finish a meagre fourth. Pah.

1977 ROCK BOTTOM – LYNDSEY DE PAUL AND MIKE MORAN
Come on, with a title like that, it was asking for it. Our plucky participants sang at it grand pianos facing one another. Europe remained unimpressed. Second. France won.

1978 BAD OLD DAYS – COCO
Despite featuring a nascent Cheryl Baker amongst their number, they could only muster an appalling eleventh with their somewhat tribute to Conan O’Brien. Truly the dog days for Blighty, these. Prima Donna, anyone? Black Lace doing legit?

1982 ONE STEP FURTHER – BARDO
The ‘Do featured Sally-Ann Triplett off of Stu Francis-era Crackerjack, and were endorsed by none other than Neil Tennant in Smash Hits. None of which could help them in the heat of, ahem, Harrogate, and were swept aside by Nicole’s anthemic A Little Peace, which the headmaster of one of the residents of TV Cream Towers used to like to play in assemblies. Seventh.

1984 LOVE GAMES – BELLE AND THE DEVOTIONS
Now we really are getting desperate. Imagine a sort of Dorothy Perkins Bananarama, all ribbons and polka dots and miniskirts. Booed off stage. And seventh again. Sweden take the crown.

1990 GIVE A LITTLE LOVE BACK TO THE WORLD – EMMA
Emma! She was Welsh! She looked a bit like Sonia! She sang a song about world peace and ending starvation! She finished sixth! Italy won with a song about European integration!

1991 MESSAGE TO YOUR HEART – SAMANTHA JANUS
It’s Britain’s great Eurovision maxim: never learn from the previous year’s failure. Hence the succession of overwrought pastel-suited male balladeer flops from the 80s. Another song about starvation (“and every day is a compromise for a grain of corn”) and hence Game On was seen as a step *up*. Tenth.

1992 ONE STEP OUT OF TIME – MICHAEL BALL
One step out of time! (doof doof) One reason to put this love on the line! Fresh-faced and clean-cut, Michael was nothing if not Cliff’s spiritual heir, and thus emulated him by finishing second. Punched the air in time with the doof doof bit.

1996 OOH AAH JUST A LITTLE BIT – GINA G
Into the Jonathan King years and hence the Ireland Forever Winning years, as satirised by Father Ted. The last Eurovisioner to make No. 1 in Britain, fact fans, although Gina limped to eighth on the night. Better than Love City Groove, at least.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. David Smith

    May 29, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Straw-clutching trivia geeks (like myself) might like to note that the last time the UK had a swing in government – in 1997 – we won…

  2. Glenn A

    May 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    You made one big mistake. The 1977 entry came second and was one of the last great British entries. I remember watching this and was not well pleased, this being Jubilee year, when the French won with some song about a bird in a tree. Lynsey de Paul could have had the last laugh as Rock Bottom was a massive hit all over Europe, then she went to America and learned martial arts or something.

  3. David Smith

    May 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    ..yeah well, so much for that theory :-

  4. David Pascoe

    May 29, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    It’s remains a crying shame that Scott Fitzgerald’s “Go” didn’t win in 1988. As I remember, he built up a strong lead over the first dozen juries but then scored a load of of 2’s, 4’s or zeros over the second dozen juries leading to Celine Dion pipping him by one point.

    She went on to a multi-million dollar recording career, he got an appearance on “Open Air”. And someone wrote into Points of View accusing the BBC of sour grapes becasue Dion’s winners performance was cut before she’d reached the first chorus.

  5. paulus

    May 30, 2010 at 2:05 am

    We still suck at it… and the jury is still corrupt and/or has completely different cultural taste (depending on your point of view).
    Remember David Hasselhoff is a mega-star in Europe!

  6. TV Cream

    May 30, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Of course, the big scandal of last night’s bash was the demise of the speciality act in the interval. Flashmobs? Wrong, wrong, wrong!

  7. paulus

    May 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Oh the shame of Britain placing last 🙁
    At least there is our potential success in the world cup to look forward to….. oh.

  8. Glenn A

    May 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    One of the relatively unsuccessful acts, Coco in 1978, had one of the best entries ever, The Bad Old Days. However, even though it was a relative failure, Cheryl Baker reappeared as part of Bucks Fizz, who went on to win and became a very popular act for 5 years. A shame Coco didn’t do better as this song was decent Europop.

  9. Chris Hughes

    May 30, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Ha, I loved the flashmob, I thought it was brilliant.

    If nothing else, I think 2009 and 2010 have proved that, under the new voting system, the UK can succeed at Eurovision if we put some effort into our entry, but fail miserably if we don’t. Pete Waterman, bless him, was a dreadful choice of songwriter.

  10. Ros Bank

    July 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran finished 2nd (not 7th) and were actually leading early on in the voting. They also had the ultimate victory charts-wise across Europe.

  11. heather

    May 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    When they played ‘One Step Further’ on TOTP2 the other day, I remembered what a cool little pop song it was.

    We should stop trying to be ironic and clever and calculating and just make a really good charty pop song. if it can’t do well in our own chart, why do we think anyone else will vote for it?

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