Co-host broadcaster the BBC are fully embracing the Eurovision spirit this year, as they announce a wealth of additional content across their channels to celebrate the contest. From new documentaries, to special editions of well-loved shows; from television, to radio, to online; there will be coverage across the BBC from Liverpool and beyond as preparations for the contest reach fever pitch.
For the first time, the semi-finals will be broadcast live on BBC One, as well as Saturday night’s grand final. However, coverage on BBC One is not stopping here! Not only have multiple special shows been created for the week, but some of the BBC’s flagship programming will be creating content dedicated to the contest as part of their shows.
Eurovision Welcomes The World
Monday 8th May
UK commentator Rylan joins Liverpudlian actress Sunetra Sarker as they show highlights from Sunday’s Turquoise Carpet and the National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome concert.
Eurovision Calling: Jason and Chelcee’s Ultimate Guide
Monday 8th May
Comedian Jason Manford joins singer-songwriter Chelcee Grimes as they explore the impact of Eurovision across the UK and the continent. Featuring archive footage alongside interviews with fans, experts and competitors, the show will tell the story of how the contest has come to be the event we know today. It will also explore some of the preparations for the 2023 contest in Liverpool!
Eurovision: Everyone’s A Winner
Friday 12th May
Singer Fleur East presents a special top 20 countdown of some of the most memorable Eurovision entries – which didn’t win the contest! Guests including SuRie, Dean McCullogh, Paul Jordan, Scott Mills, Claire Sweeney and Owain Wyn Evans will share their thoughts and memories of these songs which may not have made it to the top of the leaderboard, but still went on to become global hits.
Morning show BBC Breakfast will be airing live from Liverpool all week. The iconic red sofa will be positioned outside the Liverpool Museum on Friday and Saturday. There will also be a live event at a Liverpool music venue hosted by Steve Rosenberg.
Morning Live will present special reports from Nikita Kuzmin, who will explore how the contest is bringing communities together, with a particular focus on the Ukrainian community in the north west. They will also share a special report from a Liverpool school, and discuss how the d/Deaf community are engaging with the event.
Member of The Fizz Cheryl Baker will make a special appearance in Albert Square during Eurovision week. The event will also be celebrated by the characters in-show.
A special edition of antiques competition Bargain Hunt will see Cheryl Baker and SuRie up against Carrie Grant and Andy Abraham to see who can make the most profit at auction.
Cookery show Saturday Kitchen will air a special international edition of the show on the morning of the grand final. Host Matt Tebbutt will be joined by Swedish Niklas Ekstedt, Ukrainian Olia Hercules and Irish Donal Skehan.
Pointless Celebrities: Eurovision Special
A special edition of the quiz show will feature AJ Odudu with Richie Anderson, Daði Freyr with Måns Zelmerlöw, Linda Martin with Eimear Quinn, and Antony Costa with Jay Aston. They will be competing to take home the coveted Pointless trophy and a charity prize.
The Hit List: Eurovision Special
This special edition of the music quiz show will see Scott Mills, Clara Amfo and Adele Roberts paired with Eurovision fans Coinneach, Katie and Amy as they compete to take home a £10,000 prize for charity.
While most of the BBC’s main content will be on BBC One, BBC Two will also share the Eurovision spirit. In a special series of Between The Covers, Sara Cox will be joined by four guests to discuss a series of books, each set in a different Eurovision country. The series will feature a diverse range of genres and themes, guaranteed to spark discussion!
While BBC Three will not be hosting the semi-finals this year, they are still sharing content in the run-up to the event! Primarily, the channel will be sharing re-run content, including a second showing of last year’s grand final from Turin on Friday 5th May.
On 12th May, they will also be re-showing some of the Eurovision content that the BBC have produced in the last few years. These include the allocation draw for the 2023 contest; The A-Z of Eurovision; the Big Eurovision Party (recorded at Het Grote Songfestivalfeest in 2022); Sam Ryder: The Road to Eurovision; and Eurovision 2023: Meet the UK Act.
The BBC’s Storyville documentary strand will take part in the Euro Festival live in Liverpool. The channel will also share international feature documentaries, a curation of new and classic music documentaries
as well as films showcasing Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage and stories from the frontline of the war
BBC Radio 2
Eurovision continues to find an audio home on the BBC at Radio 2. This year, commentary on the contest will be provided by Paddy O’Donnell for the semi-finals, and by Rylan and Scott Mills during the grand final.
During Eurovision week, special content can be found on:
- The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, with both Zoe and Richie Anderson sharing fan stories from across the UK
- The Jeremy Vine Show, which will share the stories of Ukrainians now living in the UK
- Scott Mills, who will be presenting his show live from Liverpool
- Michelle Visage, who will host a special Eurovision half hour of Handbag Hits, and a dramatic Eurovision edition of Lip Sync Anthem!
On the day of the grand final, a full day of programming will take place on the station, including:
- Dermot O’Leary (08.00-10.00), joined by Eurovision winner Lulu
- Claudia Winkleman (10.00-13.00), who will be joined by special guests in the lead up to the final
- Your Ultimate UK Eurovision Song (13.00-15.00), presenting the results of a public poll to find the UK’s favourite Eurovision entry they couldn’t vote for – their own!
- Sophie Ellis Bextor’s Eurovision Kitchen Disco (15.00-18.00), which, over three hours, will spotlight Eurovision winners, second placers and some of the most famous names to compete
- All Request Eurovision Party (18.00-20.00), where Richie Anderson will play Eurovision requests to get the party started!
- The Grand Final (20.00-whenever it ends!)
- OJ’s Eurovision Afterparty (after the grand final – 02.00), where O.J. Borg will keep the party going, playing Eurovision hits and bringing reaction live from Liverpool
BBC Radio 1
On BBC Radio 1, afternoon hosts Dean and Vicky will be presenting live from Liverpool all week in the lead up to the grand final.
BBC Radio 4
Spoken-word radio station BBC Radio 4 will also be sharing drama and factual content in the lead-up to the contest.
A special edition of long-running drama The Archers will feature Rylan. He has been invited to judge Ambridge’s Eurovision Variety Show, but he might have a few issues making his way to the village!
Kirsty Wark’s The Reunion will also broadcast a special episode, featuring 1970 winner Dana, arranger Phil Coulton, academic Phil Vuletic, former commentator Pete Murray and 1969 winner Lulu.
Arts show Front Row will also host a special live broadcast from Liverpool Central Library. Presented by Nick Ahad, the show will feature a performance from band Stealing Sheep. Writers Pete Paphides and Matt Cain and former Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conductor Vasily Petrenko will also take part.
The Turquoise Carpet
Official Eurovision YouTube Channel
Sunday 7th May
The Turquoise Carpet is the opening ceremony for this year’s contest. It will take place at St. George’s Hall in the centre of Liverpool. Sam Quek and Timur Miroshnychenko will helm the live event. Highlights will air the next day on BBC One and on BBC iPlayer.
Get Your Eurovision On!
Get Your Eurovision On! is presented by UK commentator Scott Mills and EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy. They will take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from the contest’s past. The show is billed as “a celebration of…pure joy, unity and downright banging tunes”!
BBC Sounds, the flagship for all BBC audio programming, will host a variety of downloadable content in the run up to the contest, from interviews to music mixes. Alongside Eurovisioncast, which has been running throughout the season already, the shows will include:
- Back to Back Sounds: Eurovision Party, a non-stop mix of Eurovision hits
- Party Like It’s…Eurovision, where UK entrant Mae Muller will share her experience of performing at Eurovision and tracks that have inspired her, and where Jedward will share their memories of the contest
- Eurovision Dance Party, a set of exclusive Eurovision mixes by DJs Sigala, Sam Feldt, 220 Kid, Jess Bays and Zoe London
- Melanie C’s Pride of Liverpool, where singer Melanie C shares some of the most famous music to come our of our host city, alongside her memories of growing up in the area
- When Ireland Ruled Eurovision, where Dermot O’Leary is joined by Aisling Bea, Louis Walsh, Ardal O’Hanlon, Angela Scanlon, Dara Ó Briain, and Patrick Kielty, alongside some of Ireland’s Eurovision winners, to share their memories of the contest from Ireland in their golden years
- Eurovision Described, where blind journalist Lucy Edwards is joined by comedian Abi Clarke to share audio description and musical storytelling as they bring to life some of the most iconic performances for blind and partially-sighted audiences
- Good Evening Europe, a documentary by Timur Miroshnychenko as he tells the story of Eurovision through the eyes of its commentators, touching on identity, culture and legacy
- Sam Ryder: My Life In A Mixtape, where 2022 Eurovision entrant Sam Ryder shares the songs and memories which have created the person and musician he has become today
- Danny Beard’s Beginner Guide to Eurovision, where RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner Danny Beard celebrates the queer anthems of Eurovision and beyond
- Scott and Rylan’s Epic Eurovision Battle, where UK commentators Scott Mills and Rylan will go head to head in a battle of knowledge and decisions, refereed by Michelle Visage
BBC Children’s and Education Programming
The UK’s Junior Eurovision entry from 2022, Freya Skye, will provide specialist children’s coverage for Newsround throughout the week. She will also appear on magazine show Blue Peter ahead of the grand final to share her thoughts on the music this year and give her predictions!
Primary schools across the UK are also invited to take part in a special Eurovision-themed live lesson on 12th May. MOBO Award-winning singer and composer YolanDa Brown will help children to create their own Eurovision song alongside presenters Lauren Layfield and Tyler West, and will include a local Liverpool children’s choir and sign-language performers.
And that’s not all!
BBC News‘ Daniel Rosney will be bringing coverage of the event throughout the coming weeks, with a focus on the international impact of the contest. Steve Rosenberg, who is known for producing a piano medley of songs every year, will host a Eurovision Piano Party in Liverpool. Reporting will also focus on how the contest is impacting Ukrainians living in both the UK and Ukraine. BBC Northwest Tonight and BBC Ukraine will also bring reports about the contest during the week of the event.
Regional channels across the UK will also share specialist Eurovision programmes. BBC Scotland will air A Song For Scotland, which follows a band from Glasgow as they travel to San Marino. BBC Wales will show an edition of Rewind exploring Eurovision acts with a connection to Wales. They will also host local news content in the run up to the contest.
Regional radio will also have a role to play in covering the contest. Alongside BBC Radio Merseyside’s “Scouse perspective” commentary on the grand final, BBC Radio Wales will host a pre-show party from 17.00 to 20.00 on the day of the grand final; BBC Radio Scotland will take requests on Get It On, and an audio version of A Song For Scotland will also air; BBC Radio Ulster will be helmed by Barra Best, joined by Niamh Kavanagh, Linda Martin and Katrina Leskanich on the afternoon before the grand final; and BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal will provide content in Scots Gaelic.
BBC Arts are hosting the Big Eurovision Read, an initiative for all ages to encourage reading for pleasure. There are twelve books to choose from, all with musical themes at their hearts. People across the UK are encouraged to attend events at their local libraries – including a specially designed reading den in Liverpool!
BBC Food are also getting in on the action, with recipe ideas for the big night! Kim-Joy from the Great British Bake Off will share everything from biscuits to cocktails to help you celebrate!
The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will be broadcast live from Liverpool on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds. Semi-Final 1 is broadcast Tuesday 9 May at 8pm, Semi-Final 2 is broadcast Thursday 11 May at 8pm, and the Grand Final is broadcast on Saturday 13 May at 8pm.
What we know about Eurovision 2023
Although Ukraine won the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, due to the ongoing Russian invasion they are unable to host the 2023 event. Instead, the United Kingdom stepped in, as 2022’s runner-up. Liverpool will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on the 9th, 11th, and 13th of May 2023. The contest will take place at the M&S Arena, with 37 countries taking part. The full production team behind the 2023 contest is listed here. The contest is a co-production between host broadcaster the BBC and last year’s winning broadcaster, Suspilne.
Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Hannah Waddingham will host the semi-finals. Graham Norton will join the presenting team for the grand final.
Will you be tuning in to any of the additional programmes? What are you the most excited to see? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. Also, be sure to follow “That Eurovision Site” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok as we prepare for Eurovision 2023!
News Source: BBC
Photo Credit: BBC