The highs, and lows, of the UK's Eurovision history
From Bucks Fizz to Daz Sampson, the UK has offered its neighbours in Europe some interesting delicacies across the 61-year history of the Eurovision song contest.
Ahead of Saturday night’s finale, we take a look at the UK’s most successful and most tragic attempts at wooing the continent in the competition.
Sandie Shaw, 1967
After several second-placed finishes, the UK scored its first winner in 1967 as psychotherapist-turned-singer Sandie Shaw scored big with Puppet On A String.
Cliff Richard, 1968
Sir Cliff Richard (then known simply as Cliff) has represented Britain twice in the contest, finishing a respectable second and third with Congratulations in 1968 and later, Power To All Our Friends in 1973. Upon losing out to Spanish entry Massiel, and her song La La La La in ’68, an emotional Cliff described having to lock the doors of the green room toilets to avoid TV cameras filming him crying.
Britain’s prolific success continued as LuLu’s Boom Bang-A-Bang shared the prize with France, Netherlands and Spain with 18 points apiece. The Scottish singer famously went on to record the self-titled soundtrack to The Man with the Golden Gun.
Brotherhood Of Man, 1976
Another UK victory came in 1976 with Brotherhood Of Man’s Save Your Kisses For Me. The band’s manager Tony Hiller put the song’s success down to their TV appearances across France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland the year before the contest.
Bucks Fizz, 1981
The quartet’s entry, Making Your Mind Up, won the contest in 1981. The band were formed specifically to enter the contest and their stage act, where the two male members ripped off the skirts of Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston, has gone down in Eurovision history.
Katrina And The Waves, 1997
Katrina And The Waves were the last British act to take the title, with their entry Love Shine a Light in 1997. It may have been the heyday of Britpop back home, but this gentle clap-along ballad was lapped up by the European public in a way that no British entry has managed since.
Years of disappointment have followed since the UK’s last victory 20 years ago. However by far the most disheartening year was the infamous “nul points” for Jemini which left Britons weeping into their snack bowls. The duo’s Cry Baby failed to get a single point for the first time in the UK’s history, finishing last in the 26-nation competition held in Latvia. To add insult to injury, the band’s dressing room was vandalised as they gave interviews following their defeat.
Daz Sampson, 2006
Oh, Britain. Daz Sampson and his tragically-named Sampsonites (young women dressed as schoolgirls) was perhaps one of the worst songs inflicted on the rest of Europe. But the UK’s biggest sin was not allowing Sampson to perform his feign-rap in front of our continental neighbours. In fact the real damage had already been done after Teenage Life became a top ten hit in the UK singles chart.
A decade after Katrina And The Waves swept to victory, the UK sent its most kitsch entrant yet with Steps-lite act Scooch. The camp quartet and their air steward outfits came a lowly 22nd with their entry, Flying the Flag (For You). They received only 19 points, which included a maximum 12 points from Malta, who later revealed it was a protest against block voting.
Engelbert Humperdinck, 2012
Veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck fared no better in 2012, when his entry, Love Will Set You Free, only narrowly avoided finishing rock-bottom. “The Hump” scored a grand total of 12 points, with only Belgium, Estonia, Latvia and Ireland voting for him, leaving him just one position above bottom-placed Norway in Baku, Azerbaijan.