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Eurovision 2010: The project begins (& it doesn’t involve Jedward either)

November 22, 2009

I was introduced to someone as a TV producer at the Proms earlier this year. I was a little taken aback at time – a concoction of excitement mixed with guilt. I didn’t correct the individual, obviously. It’s not the done thing in media circles, after all. If they want to think I’m a TV producer that’s good enough for me.

Having said that, I am a TV viewer. Yes, true. I might be BBC staff, but I’m still a viewer. I still pay the licence fee. I fund the machine. I’m a TV viewer … with a Twitter account.

And because I’m a viewer, that makes me a valid armchair TV producer whose done a great deal of research. We’re all armchair producers. The only difference between me and those with the proper title is that I don’t have an army of drones at my disposal to turn my dreams into a reality. Yes, it’s this kind of self-affirming talk which continues to fuel my already over-active imagination.

It’s almost late-November. This weekend saw the staging of yet another Junior Eurovision Song Contest. I wasn’t especially interested in it. It might have “Eurovision” in the title but the sight of young children singing a song for their country makes me wonder whether I’m transgressing a law somewhere. I try and steer clear of it.

That said, the word ‘Eurovision’ is enough to get me thinking about the proper event in May. It may be six months away, but in project management terms that’s only around the corner. Others have already thrown their two-penneth into the Eurovision pit for the UK. The fact is, where Eurovision’s concerned there’s never a holiday from the damn thing. It’s a year long, annual commitment.

Plenty of other countries have already outlined how they’ll select their songs. Sweden has decided their TV viewing public will choose from 32 songs, whilst the Maltese have made it quite clear that only Maltese singers and songwriters will be considered for the top job in Oslo this year. Yes. For some countries the greatest TV light entertainment show promises kudos. It’s right we should all demonstrate our passion for the event.

It feels a little late in the day to start scoping out the project and gathering requirements for the UK. I’m always late to the party. I really should have kept up to speed with what was going on.

It was back in October that Eurovision Webby Bloke (and desperately European with his twangy accent and three-day stubble) Siettse Bakker announced changes in voting procedure. In addition to a 50% split between jury and telephone vote, there will next year be the additional pressure of phone lines being open all the way through the presentation of songs during the two semi-finals and final.

Why is that important? Well, instead of only being able to cast your telephone vote after an hour or so of getting inexorably more drunk as you watch the songs, you’ll be able to pass judgement on the song as you hear it or (if you pay close to attention to the ‘choice’ Eurovision blogs available on the internet) before you’ve even heard it performed.

In other words, the hard promotional work will have been done on the internet long before the semi-finals or finals will have started. You’ll know which song you want to go through or win before the broadcast begins. You won’t necessarily be casting your vote on what you see on TV, but quite possibly on what you’ve seen on the internet before hand. PR types across Europe are currently rubbing their hands together with glee.

Which technically means the UK is probably not going to do very well. You see, we don’t do PR very well. There aren’t that many people in the UK who like the Eurovision (or at least don’t see it as something worth making an effort at) and consequently that filters through to everything we churn out. PR types see it as an impossible task.

They shouldn’t do, however. The power of the internet, combined with the egos of the few and a better grasp of the Eurovision calendar means there’s every chance certain boxes can be ticked before the UK’s Eurovision bus sets off from Television Centre for Oslo.

We managed it well last year. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s machine did a pretty good job. Jade came 5th last year with her song written by The Good Lord. Ewen’s understudy was livid he didn’t get an opportunity to show his mettle.

There’s plenty to do. There’s a singer to decide upon. A song to choose. A stage presence to agree on. Costumes, make-up and dance routines. PR campaigns to pour scorn upon. All that before we get to see everyone else’s effort on the Eurovision stage.

But is six months too early to start on this mammoth project?

I’d say no. There’s no time like the present to make a start on the most crucial musical event Europe (and some parts of the southern hemisphere) embrace, enjoy or endure.

After all. UK audiences of ITV’s The X Factor witnessed the departure of Irish twin duo Jedward this evening.

How can this possibly be tied in to the UK’s chances at Eurovision? Easily.

As an armchair TV producer I’m at pains to point out that us in the UK don’t want Jedward in the running for the job of representing us. And as a long-term fan of the Eurovision, I’m hoping and praying the Irish delegation don’t want them either.

No, I’m not mounting a hate campaign. I’m just kicking off a project. That’s all.

  1. Helen permalink

    IMHO, you should be our Eurovision entry. You just need the right song. I’ll get writing…

  2. I’m already planning my party. It’s not such a big deal DOwn Under, but someone needs to take in the expat gays and make them feel at home.

  3. It is *never* too early to start thinking about Eurovision.

  4. Chris permalink

    I agree with MacPsych above. In fact I rarely *don’t* think about Eurovision.

    And, please, no Jedward in Eurovision. Just as we’re beginning to treat it more seriously again.

    It looks like we may be holding our big Birmingham Eurovision Party again next year, if you don’t fancy spending £20 on a Big Mac in Oslo.

  5. We don’t do advertising on here Chris. Take that kind of tacky nonsense to some other blog thank you very much.

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