A Song for Europe
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 (1970-2)
Jimmy Savile (1974)
Terry Wogan (1977-96, 98, 2003-8)
Dale Winton (1997)
Ulrika Jonsson (1999)
Katy Hill (1999-2001)
Claire Sweeney and Christopher Price (2002)
Natasha Kaplinsky (2005-2006)
Fearne Cotton (2007)
Claudia Winkleman (2008)
BBC1, 7 May 1956 to 1 March 2008
(1956-7 as Festival of British Popular Songs, 1996-9 as The Great British Song Contest, 2004-7 as Making Your Mind Up, 2008 as Eurovision: Your Decision)
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.
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 Eurovision: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 2009 replacement, Your Country Needs You.