Eurovision Song Contest Previews

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The Eurovision Song Contest Previews are annually broadcast TV shows showcasing the entries into the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest. They were inaugurated in 1971 for the contest in Dublin, Ireland, and have been provided by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to all participating countries ever since.[1]

For a period, the BBC were responsible for 'collecting' the preview videos and distributing them to the various participating countries. This has been carried out by the contest's host nation more recently. Between 2004 and 2007, the Nordic broadcasters (Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) co-produced preview shows for broadcast across their region.


All participants in the Eurovision Song Contest are required to submit a video of their entry to the EBU via the host broadcaster, to be distributed across the Eurovision network. From 1971 until the early 1990s, it was compulsory for all participants to broadcast the videos. Since the mid-1990s it has become optional. Broadcasters either submit a performance of the given song – usually taken from their local national final – or a music video of the entry, specifically filmed for the purpose. In 1971, the Belgian preview video featured singers Nicole & Hugo who were forced to withdraw days before the Eurovision final due to illness, being replaced by Jacques Raymond and Lily Castel.

Occasionally countries rely on funding from their government tourism budget to produce the video, leading to highly commercial offerings highlighting the given country's natural beauty. Often songs would vary from the version that would be heard in the contest itself; either through a change in language or a variance between the length of the recorded version and the permitted live version, or through a variance in orchestration and arrangement.


Early rules stated that the videos could not be broadcast in any less than two shows, with no more than half the songs in any show and the songs had to be broadcast in full. Later amendments allowed the videos to be broadcast incomplete, but that meant the videos still had to have a uniform length of duration. Generally speaking, the countries broadcast the shows in two parts, the entries divided as evenly as practicable between the two shows. It was also stated in the rule book that the name of the broadcasting TV station for each country be carried on screen to introduce the songs, but many broadcasters ignored this. Some broadcasters would credit the contributing TV station verbally rather than on screen.



In 1974, a two-night preview programme, Auftakt für Brighton (Prelude for Brighton), was coordinated by the German national broadcaster ARD. It was broadcast at the end of March and hosted by the journalist Karin Tietze-Ludwig. It was the first "preview"-type programme to be broadcast in many European countries simultaneously (rather than each national broadcaster showing their own preview programme). The programme was also notable in being the European television debut for the winners, ABBA, who were peculiarly credited in previews as "The Abba". It was first aired on German television Hessischer Rundfunk on 27–28 March and in Finland on 30 March as Eurovision laulukilpailu.[2] The UK did not broadcast the programmes, instead airing their own preview shows introduced by David Vine on BBC1 on 24 and 31 March, unusually dividing the entries into six songs for the first show and twelve for the second, contrary to the stated rules.[3] In the same year, the French entry was broadcast by all the nations showing the previews, even though the song was withdrawn from the Eurovision final itself.


In 1977, the previews were broadcast across Europe ahead of the original scheduled broadcast date of 2 April for the Eurovision final. When the contest was postponed to 7 May, this left a long gap between the preview shows airing and the final.


For the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 Grand Final, several clips from the preview videos were incorporated into the short 'postcards' used to introduce each nation's entry as part of a video montage. It was the first time the previews were represented in the contest. Only clips from the previews that were not of the performer in a national final or performing the song in studio were used, limiting the usage to half of the 18 contenders. Those that were included: Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Finland, Yugoslavia and Spain. Since 1982, only in 2000 were any clips from the previews utilized again, as clips from the Turkish preview were used as a partial background video for the live performance of the Turkish entry.


For the Eurovision Song Contest 1990 Grand Final, at the end of postcard introducing each song, the animated EuroCat (that year's contest mascot) appeared on screen to click a cartoon camera, the resulting photograph being a still of the artist captured from the previews clips, but represented in monochrome rather than colour.

Modern day[edit]

From approximately 2000, the videos have been available online via the Eurovision website and most broadcasters upload them to their own, local Eurovision site.

San Marino broadcaster SMtv televised the previews for the first time in 2012, showing the videos in multiple programmes in the run up to the contest on a rotating basis, hosted by John Kennedy O'Connor.[4] SMtv continued with the previews each year since, under various formats, until O'Connor retired in 2019. In 2014 O'Connor presented each entry on location in San Marino and in 2015 each entry was linked by video to the participating country. The 2016, 2017 & 2018 previews were presented in a studio setting.[5] SM Rtv revived the previews in 2022, hosted by commentator Lia Fiorio, under the title "Countdown to Eurovision".[6]

UK broadcasts[edit]

Eurovision Song Contest Previews
Also known asA Song for Europe (1972)
Tips For Le Top (1994)
Liquid Eurovision (2002–03)
Eurovision on Location (2004)
GenrePreview show
Created byEBU
Presented byCliff Richard (1971–72)
Terry Wogan (1973, 1975, 1977–84, 1994)
David Vine (1974)
Michael Aspel (1976)
Dave Lee Travis (1985)
David Hamilton (1986)
Ray Moore (1987)
Gloria Hunniford (1988, 1992–93)
Ken Bruce (1989–91)
Lorraine Kelly (2002–04)
Paddy O'Connell (2004)
StarringPeter Snow (1994)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Running time30–45 minutes
Original networkBBC1 (1971–1994)
BBC Choice (2002)
BBC Three (2003–04)
Original release21 March 1971 (1971-03-21) –
14 May 2004 (2004-05-14)
Related showsEurovision Song Contest

In the United Kingdom, the BBC broadcast the programmes in two parts, every year from 1971 to 1994 on BBC1 and then again between 2002 and 2004 on BBC Choice, later BBC Three, in multiple shows over one week. The preview shows have been hosted by a variety of presenters over the years; including Terry Wogan, Gloria Hunniford, Ken Bruce and Lorraine Kelly.


Generally, but by no means always, the songs were broadcast in the order they would appear in the contest, with the UK entry saved until the end. For 1979 to 1982, the songs were shown in a random order, despite host Terry Wogan insisting in 1979 that the songs were being shown in competition order during the broadcasts. In 1982, the UK entry was scheduled to be broadcast at the end of the second programme, but was also included in the first programme in the absence of the Greek entry that was withdrawn while the shows were in production. In 1983, the UK preview video consisted of the group Sweet Dreams in speed boats off the coast of Dover, Southern England, with the engine noise of the vessels included in the soundtrack, partially obscuring the song itself.

From 1971 to 1994, the shows were broadcast on Sunday afternoons with just two exceptions. In 1972, the shows were given a prime-time airing as part of the BBC1 Monday evening schedule at 7:30PM and in 1973, the shows were instead broadcast on Saturday afternoons. The revived shows from 2002 to 2004 were shown in the evening schedule firstly on BBC Choice (2002) and subsequently on BBC Three and broadcast from a London studio. In 2004, the previews were featured as part of two Eurovision on Location shows broadcast from the host city that year, Istanbul.

From 1976 to 1985, the BBC provided a specifically filmed 'video' of the artist on location in the UK. In all other years, they have simply provided the performance from the national final, although often the artist's record company will also send their own commercially released video for use by the broadcasters, but these were never shown in the UK broadcasts. From 1984, the BBC included the contributing broadcasters acronym on screen for each entry.

The 1994 preview show, which would be the last for eight years, was renamed Tips For Le Top and included analysis by "swingometer" expert Peter Snow who gave out the odds on victory for each act with only two minutes of each song broadcast. It also featured a special Eurovision-themed edition of quiz show Mastermind with four fan contestants. The competition was won by David Bridgman representing United Kingdom with Wogan acting as quizmaster.[7] The other contestants were Johnny O'Mahony (Ireland), Marc Dierckx (Belgium) and Henry Klok (Netherlands). Prizes were presented by four-time Eurovision hostess, Katie Boyle.

By year[edit]

The UK broadcast details are as follows, with the countries listed in the order they were shown:


Year Host Broadcast Songs
1971 Cliff Richard 21, 28 March Part 1: Austria, Malta, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Belgium.
Part 2: Italy, Sweden, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Finland, Norway, United Kingdom.
1972 Cliff Richard 13, 20 March Part 1: Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Malta, United Kingdom.
Part 2: Finland, Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Monaco, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands.
1973 Terry Wogan 24, 31 March Part 1: Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Norway, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland, Yugoslavia.
Part 2: Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, France, Israel, United Kingdom.
1974 David Vine 24, 31 March Part 1: Finland, Spain, Norway, Greece, Israel, Yugoslavia.
Part 2: Sweden, Luxembourg, Monaco, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, France,[a] Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, United Kingdom.
1975 Terry Wogan[b] 9, 16 March Part 1: Netherlands, Ireland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Malta, Belgium.
Part 2: Israel, Turkey, Monaco, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Italy, United Kingdom.
1976 Michael Aspel 21, 28 March Part 1: Switzerland, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Greece.
Part 2: Finland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Monaco, France, Yugoslavia, United Kingdom.
1977 Terry Wogan 20, 27 March Part 1: Ireland, Monaco, Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Greece.
Part 2: Israel, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Finland, Belgium, France, United Kingdom.
1978 Terry Wogan 9, 16 April Part 1: Ireland, Norway, Italy, Finland, Portugal, France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands.
Part 2: Turkey, Germany, Monaco, Greece, Denmark, Luxembourg, Israel, Austria, Sweden, United Kingdom.
1979 Terry Wogan 18, 25 March Part 1: Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Monaco, Greece, Switzerland, Israel.
Part 2: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Spain, United Kingdom.


Year Host Broadcast Songs
1980 Terry Wogan 6, 13 April Part 1: Austria, Turkey, Luxembourg, Morocco, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands.
Part 2: Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, France, Belgium, United Kingdom.
1981 Terry Wogan 22, 29 March Part 1: Israel, Austria, Turkey, Luxembourg, Finland, Yugoslavia, Spain, Germany, France, Denmark.
Part 2: Ireland, Portugal, Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, United Kingdom.
1982 Terry Wogan 11, 18 April Part 1: Reprise of United Kingdom 1981, Portugal, Norway, Turkey, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom.
Part 2: Medley Reprise: (Sweden 1974, Ireland 1980 & Israel 1979), Israel, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Finland, Sweden, Yugoslavia, Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom.
1983 Terry Wogan 10, 17 April Part 1: France, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, Greece, Netherlands.
Part 2: Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Israel, Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, United Kingdom.
1984 Terry Wogan 22, 29 April Part 1: Sweden, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Norway, Cyprus, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands.
Part 2: Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, Turkey, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom.
1985 Dave Lee Travis 21, 28 April. Part 1: Ireland, Finland, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, France, Turkey, Belgium, Portugal, Germany.
Part 2: Israel, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Luxembourg, Greece, United Kingdom.
1986 David Hamilton 20, 27 April Part 1: Luxembourg, Yugoslavia, France, Norway, Iceland, Netherlands, Turkey, Spain, Switzerland, Israel.
Part 2: Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Cyprus, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, United Kingdom.
1987 Ray Moore 26 April & 3 May Part 1: Norway, Israel, Austria, Iceland, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Greece.
Part 2: Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Cyprus, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
1988 Gloria Hunniford 18, 25 April Part 1: Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, Spain, Netherlands, Israel, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany.
Part 2: Austria, Denmark, Greece, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, France, Portugal, Yugoslavia, United Kingdom.
1989 Ken Bruce[c] 23, 30 April Part 1: Italy, Israel, Ireland, Netherlands, Turkey, Belgium, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark.
Part 2: Austria, Finland, France, Spain, Cyprus, Switzerland, Greece, Iceland, Germany, Yugoslavia, United Kingdom.


Year Host Broadcast Songs and guests
1990 Ken Bruce 22, 29 April Part 1: Spain, Greece, Belgium, Turkey, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Iceland, Norway, Israel, Denmark, Switzerland.
Part 2: Germany, France, Yugoslavia, Portugal, Ireland, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Cyprus, Finland, United Kingdom.
1991 Ken Bruce 21, 28 April Part 1: Yugoslavia, Iceland, Malta, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Sweden, France, Turkey, Ireland.
Part 2: Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Finland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Cyprus, Italy, United Kingdom.
1992 Gloria Hunniford 26 April & 3 May Part 1: Spain, Belgium, Israel, Turkey, Greece, France, Sweden, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland.
Part 2: Finland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Yugoslavia,[d] Norway, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom.
1993 Gloria Hunniford 2, 9 May Part 1: Italy, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Belgium, Malta, Iceland, Austria, Portugal, France.
Part 2: Sweden, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Netherlands, Croatia, Spain, Cyprus, Israel, Norway, United Kingdom.
1994 Terry Wogan
Peter Snow
17, 24 April Part 1: Guest Johnny Logan. Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Cyprus, Iceland, United Kingdom, Croatia, Portugal, Switzerland, Estonia, Romania, Malta.
Part 2: Guest Jahn Teigen. Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia, Lithuania, Norway, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Austria, Spain, Hungary, Russia, Poland, France.


The preview shows returned in 2002 as Liquid Eurovision, a spin-off from Liquid News and were renamed Eurovision on Location in 2004 following the cancellation of Liquid News a month before the contest that year. Only brief snippets of the songs were broadcast, the emphasis of the programmes being on the reactions from the guests.

Year Host Broadcast Songs and guests
2002 Lorraine Kelly
Max Flint (in Tallinn)[9]
21, 22, 23, 24 May (BBC Choice)[10] Guests included Marko Matvere, Jenny Eclair, Jay Aston and Nicki French.
2003 Lorraine Kelly
Tim Muffett (in Riga)[9]
19, 20, 21, 22, 23 May (BBC Three) Part 1: Guests Kerry McFadden and Mark Frith assessing this year's entries from Iceland, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and Malta.
Part 2: Guests June Sarpong and Simon Grant weighing up this year's Eurovision contribution from favourites Russia.
Part 3: The entries from Spain, Israel, Ukraine, the UK and the Netherlands with former Eurovision divas Jessica Garlick and Gina G.
Part 4: Claudia Winkleman and Slovenian group Sestre preview more entries.
Part 5: The last of five shows previews contributions from Belgium, Estonia, Romania, Sweden and Slovenia, and offers a behind the-scenes look at UK entrants Jemini's last-minute preparations in Riga. With former contest winner Linda Martin.
2004 Paddy O'Connell
Lorraine Kelly
13, 14 May (BBC Three) Part 1: The latest Eurovision news. On location in Istanbul, a look at some of this year's entries joined by the UK's representative James Fox and ex-Westlife member Brian McFadden
Part 2: A look at some of this year's entries, plus tips on how to throw a Turkish-themed Eurovision party, and chat with guests Louis Walsh and Alistair Griffin.


  1. ^ Ultimately withdrew from the contest due to the death of president Georges Pompidou.
  2. ^ Pete Murray was scheduled to host the 1975 programmes, but was replaced by Wogan for the broadcasts.
  3. ^ Gloria Hunniford was scheduled to host the 1989 programmes, but after being involved in an accident, she was replaced by Ken Bruce.
  4. ^ The flag of the dissolved Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was still used in the broadcast, despite being replaced with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and a new flag without a red star on 27 April.[8]


  1. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest – The Official History. Carlton Books UK. ISBN 978-1-84732-521-1. April 2010
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 August 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest Preview". 24 March 1974. p. 24 – via BBC Genome.
  4. ^ "Il critico: John Kennedy O'Connor - Eurofestival 2013". Archived from the original on 4 May 2013.
  5. ^ Rtv, San Marino. "Eurovision Song Contest". San Marino Rtv.
  6. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest".
  7. ^ "Eurovision Lewis (11) goes Junior Mastermind -". 30 August 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  8. ^ "ESC 1992 Yugoslavia (Preview) - YouTube". YouTube.
  9. ^ a b "Des and Mick Online – TV & Radio – Eurovision". Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  10. ^ "BBC – Press Office – Liquid Eurovision". BBC. 15 May 2002. Retrieved 3 June 2021.