Eurovision

UK to host next year's Song Contest

It's not yet known which city will host, but cities including Glasgow and Manchester have expressed an interest.

In Summary

•The UK has a number of places with suitable arenas, accommodation and international transport links.

•Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Grand Final, as is usual for the winner, along with the so-called Big Five, which includes the UK.

 

The UK's Sam Ryder was pictured in a pink Kalush Orchestra hat, in a nod to this year's Ukrainian winners
The UK's Sam Ryder was pictured in a pink Kalush Orchestra hat, in a nod to this year's Ukrainian winners
Image: BBC

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in the UK next year, it has been confirmed.

The show's organisers decided the event could not be held in the winning country, Ukraine, due to the ongoing war following Russia's invasion.

The UK came second this year, so talks were opened with the BBC.

"We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us," said Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of Ukraine's public broadcaster, UA:PBC.

It's not yet known which city will host, but cities including Glasgow and Manchester have expressed an interest.

The UK has a number of places with suitable arenas, accommodation and international transport links.

Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, Aberdeen, London, Brighton, Bristol, Belfast and Cardiff could also be in the running among others.

Cities will have to prove they have the right facilities and go through a bidding process, which will begin this week.

The BBC and the EBU will now wait for official approaches and will publish the longlist later this summer.

Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Grand Final, as is usual for the winner, along with the so-called Big Five, which includes the UK.

UA: PBC will work with the BBC to develop Ukrainian elements of the show.

Mr Chernotytskyi added that although the contest will not be held there, it will be "in support of Ukraine".

"I am confident that together 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."

Reflecting Ukrainian creativity

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries both welcomed the news, while acknowledging the unwanted circumstances.

"Following a request from the European Broadcasting Union and the Ukrainian authorities, I'm delighted that the BBC has agreed to step in and host next year's contest," she said. "I'm just sorry that due to Russia's continued acts of bloodshed it has not been possible to host the event in Ukraine, where it should be."

She added that the UK will "ensure it reflects Ukraine's recent Eurovision victory and Ukrainian creativity".

Mr Johnson tweeted that the UK would put on a "fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends".

BBC 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."

He said the broadcaster would make the event "a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity".

Martin Österdahl, who oversees the Eurovision Song Contest, said: "We're exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023."

Normally, Ukraine's win would mean it is hosting the competition next year, but the EBU insisted that would not happen due to the conflict there.

The announcement last month was met with disappointment by Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, who issued a statement "demanding to change the decision". The Ukrainian broadcaster UA: PBC, also expressed disappointment.

But on Monday, Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of the managing board of the broadcaster, said in a statement: "The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine. We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us.

"I am confident that together 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."

But the EBU acknowledged Ukraine's disappointment at the time, saying it "fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement"

"The decision was guided by the EBU's responsibility to ensure the conditions are met to guarantee the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event, the planning of which needs to begin immediately in the host country," it added.

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