When did the UK last host the Eurovision Song Contest?


Sam Ryder at Eurovision

Eurovision 2023 is coming to the UK (Picture: AP)

The UK is officially hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, it’s been announced.

And the two cities left to go head-to-head for the job of hosting the monumental music competition have been revealed.

Either Glasgow or Liverpool will host next year’s Eurovision after being whittled down from a shortlist that included Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, and Manchester.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is responsible for organising the major programme, announced earlier this year that 2022 winners Ukraine would be unable to host.

Folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra were the victors in May, after performing their track Stefania in Turin, Italy – coming ahead of second place champion Sam Ryder of the UK.

Under normal circumstances, one of Ukraine’s major cities would therefore host the competition – though due to the ongoing war in the country, this sadly won’t be possible.

The BBC has now formally agreed to host the contest, and of course, this isn’t our first rodeo – but it has been a while since the Eurovision party bus last came to UK shores.

So just how many times have the UK hosted – and which city could we be off to in 2023?

Here’s all you need to know.

When did the UK last host Eurovision?


Kalush Orchestra after winning Eurovision 2022

Kalush Orchestra took the 2022 trophy for Ukraine with their song Stefania (Picture: Getty Images)

The Eurovision Song Contest was last held in the UK in 1998, following Katrina And The Waves’ victory in 1997 with Love Shine A Light.

On that occasion, the contest took place at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and Sir Terry Wogan.

That year, the contest was won by Israel’s Dana International with the song Diva, while the UK’s act Imaani, and her song Where Are You, finished in second place.

How many times has the UK hosted Eurovision?

The UK is no stranger when it comes to hosting the contest, having welcomed Eurovision to its shores no less than eight times.

Some were due to UK victories, while others involved stepping in when other countries were unable to host.


Bucks Fizz

The UK had the chance to host after Bucks Fizz’s victory in Dublin in 1981 (Picture: Getty Images)

Their previous Eurovision hosting gigs were as follows:

  • 1960 – London
  • 1963 – London
  • 1968 – London (following Sandie Shaw’s win in 1967)
  • 1972 – Edinburgh
  • 1974 – Brighton
  • 1977 – London (following Brotherhood of Man’s win in 1976)
  • 1982 – Harrogate (following Bucks Fizz’s win in 1981)
  • 1998 – Birmingham (following Katrina And The Waves’ win in 1997)

Although the UK has won the contest five times, they did not host after Lulu’s win in 1969.

That honour went to the Netherlands, who were one of four countries who tied for the trophy the year before.

Where in the UK could the 2023 contest be?

Glasgow or Liverpool will be the hosts of the competition next year.


Rachel McAdams in Eurovision

Glasgow’s OVO Hydro – currently being tipped as the 2023 contest venue – served as a location for the Eurovision movie (Picture: Netflix)

Phil Harrold, the chair of the BBC’s Host City Selection Committee said: ‘Thanks to all seven cities across the UK who have demonstrated the enthusiasm and passion for Eurovision that exists right across the UK.

‘We were incredibly impressed by the quality and creativity of all the city bids, in what was a highly competitive field. The Eurovision Song Contest is a very complex event and Liverpool and Glasgow have the strongest overall offer; we will continue our discussions with them to determine the eventual host city.

‘We are determined to make the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest one that both reflects the winning position of Ukraine and is also an event that all of the UK can participate in.’

Wherever is selected to be home for the contest, the BBC said in a statement that it would ensure 2022 winners Ukraine were properly reflected throughout the event.


MC Kilimmen, Ihor Didenchuk, Oleh Psiuk, Tymofii Muzychuk and Vitalii Duzhyk of Kalush Orchestra

Organisers have said the event will reflect Ukraine despite their inability to host (Picture: Patricia J. Garcinuno/Getty Images)

Director-General Tim Davie said: ‘The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture, alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.

‘The BBC will now begin to find a host city to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023.’

After coming in second place last year, Sam Ryder said the UK hosting Eurovision was ‘bittersweet’ after knowing ‘how important it was to Ukraine’.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, he was asked if having taken part in Eurovision, and the 2023 event being held in the UK due to the ongoing war, makes the War Child effort feel more personal to him.


Sam Ryder at Eurovision

Sam came in second place at this year’s competition (Picture: Daniele Venturelli / WireImage )

‘Definitely. It’s one of those bittersweet things,’ he said.

‘Having met [Kalush Orchestra] I know how important it was to them, and rightfully so, that Eurovision be hosted at home in Ukraine.

‘Because they were trying to shine a light on the situation over there through music. They did that, and it was amazing to be part of it in Turin this year.

‘That it’s over here [in 2023], I feel it’s something to do with myself and the team and our efforts, but ultimately it’s their party and we’re just throwing it in our back garden.’

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