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UK to host Eurovision 2023

By | Published on Tuesday 26 July 2022

Eurovision Song Contest

The UK will host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, it has been confirmed. That was already very much expected, of course, after organiser the European Broadcasting Union concluded that it was not practical or safe to stage their 2023 event in Ukraine, despite it winning the 2022 Contest, because of the ongoing war in the country following Russia’s invasion earlier this year.

With the UK in second place back in May, it was always likely that Eurovision 2023 would happen here, despite Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC – and politicians in the country – being keen to find a way to make the event happen somewhere in Ukraine. The aim now is that the UK hosted event, led by the BBC, will still represent and celebrate Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

It will be the ninth time the UK has hosted the big old Song Contest, and the fifth time it has done so without being the winning country the previous year, even though usually the winning country does host the next year’s event.

The BBC has stepped in before after other winning countries were unable to host the event, although in those cases not because of politics and war, but for financial reasons. In most cases, the winning countries had usually hosted the event relatively recently and did not want to bear the costs of doing it all over again.

Confirming the UK and BBC as the hosts of Eurovision 2023, the Contest’s Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl said yesterday: “We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023”.

“The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions”, he added. “Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year’s Contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe’s most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year’s winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event”.

Although Ukrainian politicians previously criticised the EBU’s decision not to stage Eurovision 2023 in Ukraine, the country’s broadcaster UA:PBC yesterday said that it was “grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us”.

The head of the broadcaster’s managing board, Mykola Chernotytskyi, added: “The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine. I am confident that together [with the BBC] we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent”.

The EBU also confirmed that representatives from UA:PBC will “work with the BBC to develop and implement the Ukrainian elements of next year’s shows”, and that “Ukraine, as the winning country of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, will also automatically qualify to the Grand Final of the upcoming Contest”.

From the BBC’s side, Director-General Tim Davie added: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege”.

“The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity”, he continued. “The BBC will now begin the process to find a host city to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023″.

As Davie there noted, a host city in the UK now needs to be selected, Edinburgh, Brighton, Harrogate and Birmingham having all hosted past UK editions of Eurovision, while London has staged the Contest four times in total, although not since 1977.