A Song for Europe



Wilfred Thomas (1956)

David Jacobs (1957, 60, 62-66)

Pete Murray (1959)

Katie Boyle (1961)

Rolf Harris (1967)

Cilla Black (1968, 73)

Michael Aspel (1969, 76)

Cliff Richard (1970-72)

Jimmy Savile (1974)

Lulu (1975)

Terry Wogan (1977-96, 98, 2003-08)

Dale Winton (1997)

Ulrika Jonsson (1998-99)

Katy Hill (2000-01)

Claire Sweeney and Christopher Price (2002)

Gaby Roslin (2004)

Natasha Kaplinsky (2005-06)

Fearne Cotton (2007)

Claudia Winkleman (2008)

Graham Norton (2009-10)

Mel Giedroyc (2016)


Carrie Grant (2004, 08, 16)
Lorraine Kelly (2004)
Harry Hill (2004)
Bruno Toniolo (2005-06, 10)
Jonathan Ross (2005-06)
Natalie Cassidy (2005)
Patrick O'Connell (2005)
Kelly Osbourne (2006)
Fearne Cotton (2006)
John Barrowman (2007-08)
Mel Giedroyc (2007)
Andrew Lloyd Webber (2009)
Alesha Dixon (2009)
Duncan James (2009)
Lulu (2009)
Arlene Phillips (2009)
Emma Bunton (2009)
Dima Bilan (2009)
Pete Waterman (2010)
Jade Ewen (2010)
Katrina Leskanich (2016)
Jay Revell (2016)


as Festival of British Popular Songs: BBC Television Service, 7 May 1956 to 12 February 1957 (11 episodes in 2 series)

BBC Television Service, 2 February 1959 to 31 March 1995 (1967 as part of The Rolf Harris Show, 1968 & 73 as part of Cilla, 1969 & 75 as part of Lulu, 1970-72 as part of It's Cliff Richard, 1974 as part of Clunk-Click, 1985-88 & 90-92 as part of Wogan)

as The Great British Song Contest: BBC1, 1 March 1996 to 12 March 1999 (20 episodes in 1 series, 1996 & 99 as part of Top of the Pops and 1997-98 as part of National Lottery Draw)

BBC One, 20 February 2000 to 2 March 2003 (4 specials)

as Making Your Mind Up: BBC One, 28 February 2004 to 17 March 2007 (4 specials)

as Your Decision: BBC One, 1 March 2008

as Your Country Needs You: BBC One, 3 January 2009 to 12 March 2010 (5 episodes in 1 series + 1 special)

as You Decide: BBC Four, 26 February 2016 to present


The UK qualifying competition for the Eurovision Song Contest.

This has followed various formats over the years. In the nineties having one singer sing six to eight songs for the public to choose from via phone vote was all the rage, then having different acts sing different songs was "in". The conclusion has been reached via different ways over the years, veering between a straight phone in popularity contest, Eurovision-esque regional points scoring and back to straight phone voting again.

Casablanca sing their hearts out in 1983.

After the triumphant 0 points scored by Jemini in 2003, it changed its name to Making Your Mind Up in 2004 in an attempt to look like it was making more of an effort, although it's hardly Melodifest.

In 2008, the format was monickered Your Decision, and made more use of Wogan who was given various casting votes and a wildcard to ensure that the judges didn't step out too far of line with the popular vote.

At the start of 2009, the format was again renamed to Your Country Needs You with Andrew Lloyd Webber seeking a performer or performers to sing a song - which he would write the music and Diane Warren would write the lyrics for - to represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest. It started with a reality show style talent hunt and six finalists were chosen. The Emperors of Soul, The Twins, Mark, Jade, Charlotte and Damien were the six acts. For the first and second weeks they would perform a song and then the panel gave their critical view. The phone lines were then opened for you, the great British public, to vote. The votes were then totalled up and the bottom two were then left on stage for Andrew to decide who he wished to keep in the contest. The semi-final saw each contestant having to sing twice with the phone lines opening after each act had sung once. In the final, Dima Bilan (last year's Eurovision winner) was invited into the studio to sing his winning entry and the final three sung a song of their choice, their best song of the series and their version of Andrew and Diane's song It's My Time. The lines were opened after the first song and the winner was announced who then reprised their version of the song they would be singing in Moscow.

A much curtailed format of Your Country Needs You was introduced in March 2010. Rather than taking place over four weeks, the selection process took place in just one show. In the programme, six acts performed live, after which the judges, led by Pete Waterman, whittled the field down to three. The chosen acts then each performed the UK's entry for Eurovision, That Sounds Good To Me, which Pete Waterman, together with his old partner Mike Stock had written for the contest. Once each act had performed the song, the phone lines opened, and the public voted on who they wanted to perform the song, representing the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo.

The BBC decided to drop the format in 2011, and instead opted to make a decision internally as to who would represent the UK at that year's contest. They chose reformed boyband Blue, comprised of Lee Ryan, Simon Webbe, Antony Costa, and Duncan James. There was a token nod to the format in the title of a documentary aired a few weeks before the contest - Eurovision: Your Country Needs Blue. Blue would eventually finish in 11th place in Dusseldorf, three places behind X Factor irritants Jedward, representing Ireland.

Key moments

El Tel had a scary few minutes in 1980 when Happy Everything by Maggie Moone and Love Enough for Two by Prima Donna both ended up on a tie at 131 points, and there was no procedure to sort this out on any form of countback system. Eventually the tie was split by a show of hands from the regional presenters.

Prima Donna go to the ESC, Maggie Moone goes to Name That Tune. So who really wins?

In 2007, the contest was decided by a phone vote knocking four of the six acts out, the remaining two going into a "sing-off" (how very X-Factor). Following the sing-off between French singer Cyndi and cheesy-pop-from-1999-group Scooch, the winner was announced by hosts Terry Wogan and Fearne Cotton. Unfortunately, Wogan and Cotton both announced different winners, leading to much justified confusion among the singers, the audience, and... well, everyone. Scooch, as announced by Fearne Cotton, were in fact the winners.


Esma Akkilic unfortunately forgetting the lyrics part way through her performance of Pete Waterman's 2010 song.

Who could blame her?


Includes results of The Festival of British Songs in 1956, which ran independently of the Eurovision Song Contest.

From 1956-63, 76-91, 95-2008 and 2016-present, the entries were songs and performers, viewers voted on the song as sung by that performer. From 1964-75 and 92-94, the performer was chosen by the BBC and the viewers voted on the song. From 2009-10, the song was chosen by the BBC and the viewers voted on the performer.

From 2011-15, both song and performer were chosen by the BBC without viewers voting. We include these to make a complete list of BBC entries to the Eurovision Song Contest.

1956Everybody Falls In Love With SomeoneDenis Lotis and the KeynotesPeter HartNorman Newell
1957AllPatricia BredinReynell WrefordAlan Stranks
1958 (no contest)
1959Sing, Little BirdiePearl Carr & Teddy JohnsonStan ButcherSyd Cordell
1960Looking High, High, HighBryan Johnson John Watson
1961Are You Sure?The Allisons John Allison, Bob Allison
1962Ring-a-ding GirlRonnie CarrollSyd CordettStan Butcher
1963Say Wonderful ThingsRonnie CarrollPhilip GreenNorman Newell
1964I Love the Little ThingsMatt Monro Tony Hatch
1965I BelongKathy KirbyPeter Lee SterlingPhil Peters
1966A Man Without LoveKenneth McKellarCyril OrnadelPeter Callander
1967Puppet on a StringSandie Shaw Bill Martin and Phil Coulter
1968CongratulationsCliff Richard Bill Martin and Phil Coulter
1969Boom Bang-a-bangLuluAlan MoorhousePeter Warne
1970Knock, Knock (who's There?)Mary Hopkin John Carter and Geoff Stephens
1971Jack in the BoxClodagh RodgersJohn WorsleyJohnny Arthey
1972Beg, Steal or BorrowThe New Seekers Tony Cole, Steve Wolfe, Graeme Hall
1973Power to All Our FriendsCliff RichardGuy FletcherDoug Flett
1974Long Live LoveOlivia Newton-John Valerie Avon & Harold Spiro
1975Let Me Be the OneThe Shadows Paul Curtis
1976Save Your Kisses for MeBrotherhood of Man Tony Hiller, Lee Sheriden, Martin Lee
1977Rock BottomLynsey de Paul and Mike Moran Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran
1978The Bad Old DaysCo-Co Stephanie de Sykes & Stuart Slater
1979Mary AnnBlack Lace Peter Morris
1980Love Enough for TwoPrima Donna Stephanie de Sykes & Stuart Slater
1981Making Your Mind UpBucks FizzJohn DanterAndy Hill
1982One Step FurtherBardo Simon Jefferis
1983I'm Never Giving UpSweet Dreams Ron Roker, Jan Pulsford, Phil Wigger
1984Love GamesBelle and the Devotions Paul Curtis and Graham Sacher
1985Love IsVikki James Kaleth and Vikki Watson
1986Runner In the NightRyderBrian WadeMaureen Darbyshire
1987Only the LightRikki Richard Peebles
1988GoScott Fitzgerald Julie Forsyth
1989Why Do I Always Get It Wrong?Live Report Brian Hodgson and John Beeby
1990Give a Little Love Back to the WorldEmma Paul Curtis
1991A Message to Your HeartSamantha Janus Paul Curtis
1992One Step Out of TimeMichael Ball Paul Davies, Tony Ryan, Victor Stratton
1993Better the Devil You KnowSonia Brian Teasdale and Dean Collinson
1994We Will Be Free (Lonely Symphony)Frances Ruffelle George De Angelis, Mark Dean
1995Love City GrooveLove City Groove Paul Hardy, Jay Williams, Tatsiana Mais, Stephen Rudden
1996Ooh Aah... Just a Little BitGina GSteve RodwaySimon Tauber
1997Love Shine a LightKatrina and the Waves Kimberley Rew
1998Where Are You?Imani Scott English, Phil Manikiza, Simon Stirling
1999Say It AgainPrecious Paul Varney
2000Don't Play That Song AgainNikki French John Springate, Gerry Shephard
2001No Dream ImpossibleLindsay D. Russ Ballard, Chris Winter
2002Come BackJessica Garlick Martyn Baylay
2003Bye Bye BabyJemini Martin Isherwood
2004Hold On to Our LoveJames FoxGary MillerTim Woodcock
2005Touch My FireJavine Javine Hilton & John Themis
2006Teenage LifeDaz Sampson John Matthews, Daz Sampson
2007Flying the Flag (For You)Scooch Russ Spencer, Morten Schjolin, Andrew Hill, Paul Tarry
2008Even IfAndy Abrahams Andy Abraham, Paul Wilson, Andy Watkins
2009It's My TimeJade EwenAndrew Lloyd WebberAndrew Lloyd Webber, Diane Warren
2010That Sounds Good to MeJosh Dubovie Pete Waterman, Mike Stock, Steve Crosby
2011I CanBlue Duncan James, Lee Ryan, Ciaron Bell, Ben Collier, Ian Hope, Liam Keenan, StarSign
2012Love Will Set You FreeEnglebert Humperdinck Martin Terefe and Sacha Skarbek
2013Believe in MeBonnie Tyler Desmond Child, Lauren Christy, Christopher Braide
2014Children of the UniverseMolly Molly Smitten-Downes, Anders Hansson
2015Still in Love With YouElectro Velvet David Mindel, Adrian Bax White
2016You're Not AloneJoe and Jake Justin J Benson, Schwartz and S Kanes


The first competition, in 1956, was intended to produce an entrant for that year's Eurovision Song Contest but didn't, because the BBC missed the registration deadline! The Festival of British Popular Songs became a monthly series instead, until January 1957 when it ran as a series of three heats and a final to decide (in plenty of time) which song would go to Eurovision.

Under the name 'Making Your Mind Up', the show has mainly been broadcast from BBC Television Centre, but did vacate to The Maidstone Studios for the 2007 final.

See also

Eurovision Song Contest

Junior Eurovision Song Contest

Weaver's Week reviews of 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2016


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