Eurovision 2016 – Swedish producer Christer Björkman has caused a bit of a storm in the UK after accusing the late Terry Wogan of turning the Eurovision Song Contest into a joke. Björkman was asked why the UK doesn’t appear to take the event seriously.
Björkman said of Wogan,
“He did this for 28 years and his commentary always forced the mockery side and there is a grown-up generation in Britain that doesn’t know anything better.”
“He raised a generation of viewers believing this was a fun kitsch show that had no relevance whatsoever. It totally spoiled Eurovision. Because of what Terry Wogan did, the UK don’t put in their best efforts.”
Björkman was speaking to i News at a London lecture ahead of Stockholm’s Polar Music Prize. The national UK papers have run the story, outraged at the disrespectful comments so soon after Wogan’s death. Björkman did not hold back about current commentator Graham Norton either and blamed the BBC for allowing it.
“Terry Wogan did the commentary for 25 years and it was always mocking. Now Graham Norton also has this flippant tone. It doesn’t work. It’s a lot easier to joke than to win.”
Twitter responded as Twitter does, and soon Wogan was trending. Most UK tweets defending the beloved presenter and many ironically proving exactly Bjorkman’s argument.
Björkman doesn’t rate the UK’s chances highly this year saying
“Joe and Jake is a fairly good song and the boys are charming. It’s a step in the right direction but no, it won’t win. If you sent another Katrina singing ‘Love Shine a Light‘, that would make a huge difference.”
Björkman suggested that the UK should stop being Big 5 country, compete in the semi-finals and start to send decent songs. He also defended the accusation of block voting being to blame for the UK’s string of poor results.
“Block voting is something you’ve made up. You sound like the French now. We all love you. We all want you to be good in this competition. It’s just that you don’t send any good stuff. Why don’t you?
“You have to say ‘we are taking this seriously and we will not stop doing it until we succeed’. You have to accept what Eurovision is – it’s not a singing competition or a song competition, it is music entertainment.”
Björkman suggested a Melodifestivalen-style competition in the UK, run by someone like Simon Cowell would improve the quality of the UK entries.
The UK is not easily persuaded from its 30 year’s love of laughing at Eurovision. The current Metro poll is showing this result…
What do you think to Björkman’s comments? Should the UK get serious about the biggest music event in the world, or should we be left to wanting kitsch and fun one night a year?