Deepest ever look of UK Eurovision history?
A brand new book about the United Kingdom in the Europe's Favourite TV Show is published today, and it's probably the most thorough look at the contest from the UK perspective. It's called Songs For Europe - The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest Volume One: The 1950s and 1960s.
The first in a series of books written by Gordon Roxburgh, is a comprehensive guide to both the national finals of the United Kingdom, and to the international finals, with the focus very much on what happened to the British entry each year.
At nearly 500 pages, there is thorough details of every artist and composer who participated in the United Kingdom finals, with several being interviewed (many for the first time) about their involvement in the contest, and not just the winners, but some of the losers each year. There is even details on the songs that didn't even make it as far as the national final!
The author has had access to the BBC archives, exploring the exisiting documentation to piece together the events of each year, and spoken to several of the production personnel each year to determine what went on behind the scenes.
Paperwork has included such information on timing and durations of songs and programmes, plus who the backing vocalists, the spokespersons were, and in some instances even the names of the jury members!
"I came across many pieces of information that even surprised me" says Roxburgh. "Many fans believe that the very first entry by the United Kingdom, All in 1957, was the shortest ever song in the contest, but I discovered that wasn't the case, and I was also amazed to see just how many songs have gone over the three minute rule as well."
Many of the early national finals no longer exist in the BBC film archives, but through examination of all exisiting material he has been able to include some details of how these shows looked, and been able to include some previously unpublished voting information.
There is also information when songs were performed on other programmes, such as Top Of The Pops and whether they still exist in the archives, and there are guaranteed to be some surprises when fans read the book.
The BBC holds the record for staging more editions of the Eurovision Song Contest than any other broadcaster, and in Volume One there is some detailed information on the contests of 1960, 1963 and 1968.
In fact for just about all the contests staged by the BBC he has been able to speak to key production personnel who reveal some interesting anecdotes about what happened at the contests they were responsible for.
The United Kingdom was one of the most successful countries in the contest during the 1960s winning twice with Puppet On A String in 1967 and joint winner in 1969 with Boom Bang-A-Bang.
There are planned to be five volumes in total, with the next volume covering the 1970s due out in the next six months or so, and will again include some previously unpublished information.
The covers for each volume will reflect the changing technology, with the design of the television sets, as well as the changing political map of Europe, so by the end of the series fans will have a full guide to every contest.
The book can be ordered direct from Telos Publishing Ltd or via online retailers.