United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988

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Eurovision Song Contest 1988
Country  United Kingdom
National selection
Selection process A Song for Europe
Selection date(s) 25 March 1988
Selected entrant Scott Fitzgerald
Selected song "Go"
Selected songwriter(s)
  • Julie Forsyth
Finals performance
Final result 2nd, 136 points
United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest
◄1987 1988 1989►

The United Kingdom participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988 with its entry "Go" performed by Scott Fitzgerald and written by Julie Forsyth. The song was chosen through the "A Song for Europe" national final which consisted of eight songs in 1988. At the Eurovision Song Contest 1988, Fitzgerald and his song was placed second with 136 points.

A Song for Europe[edit]

The 1988 A Song For Europe contest, the United Kingdom's national final, was held on 25 March, at the BBC Television Centre. It was hosted by Terry Wogan. The theme music and title sequence were the same the one used in the previous year, a revamped Te Deum. An orchestra was used, conducted by Ronnie Hazlehurst. This orchestra was off stage, as was the tradition for UK national finals. The contest was broadcast on Radio 2 and BBC 1. The songs were previewed on both Wogan and on BBC Radio 2. 182 songs were submitted and at no time during the judging phase were the names of either the composers, authors or publishers divulged.

On the first listening phase, 7 sessions at 26 songs per session were heard. Every song entered was played for 150 seconds each and voted upon. Eight judges comprising music publisherrs' professional staff and members of the record buying public represented by staff of PRS and MCPS. When adding the votes, the MPA office checked whether any member of the panel had any interest in the songs and if found that an interest existed, that member's vote was replaced by an average mark. The 12 songs from each session with the highest points were put forward to the Second Listening.

The Second Listening consisted 4 sessions at 21 songs per session. All songs reaching this stage were mixed and re-numbered so that they were not played in the same order as first listening. Songs played again for 150 seconds each and voted upon. 8 judges comprising similar representatives as first session but individuals called at different times so that they did not appear with the same people as before. When adding these votes, the MPA office checked whether any member of the panel had any interest in the songs and if found that an interest existed, that member's vote was replaced by an average mark. 11 songs from each session with the highest points went forward to 3rd Listening.

Third Listening consisted of 1 session divided into 4 sections at 11 songs per section. making a total of 44 songs. All songs reaching this stage were mixed and re-numbered so that they were not played in the same order as previous listenings. The songs were played for 2 minutes each and voted upon. 15 judges comprising similar representatives as previous sessions but also invited were special guests which included successful songwriters and record producers. No member serving on this panel had any interest in any of the songs. Top 3 from each session automatically put through to the final 20. Bottom 4 from each section were eliminated. Middle 4 from each session put forward for 4th listening.

4th Listening was 1 session of 16 songs. All songs reaching this stage were mixed and re-numbered so that they were not played in the same order as previous hearings. Songs were played for 2 minutes each and voted upon. Continuation of third session and therefore the same judges were in attendance. The 8 songs with the highest score went forward to 5th Listening.

5th Listening was 1 session of 20 songs to be reduced to 8 songs for the SfE broadcast. Meeting held at the BBC Television Centre under the auspices of Mr James Moir, Head of Variety. Judges comprised Radio 2 and Television producers, representatives of the Music Publishers' Association (MPA), British Phonographic Industry and British Academy of Songwriters Composers and Authors.[1]

Changes from previous years[edit]

The 1987 contest was something of an experiment when compared to other contests of the era. The studio set was much larger, 10 songs were used instead of 8, and the songs were picked by the Music Publisher's Association, and the record industry, in order to have a selection of songs that were more contemporary pop, instead of just songs that could win the Eurovision Song Contest. All of this changed in 1988. The 8 song format returned, the songs were screened by just the MPA, and as such the songs were less contemporary than in the previous contest. The set was much smaller than the 1987 contest. Also gone was the regional jury voting to decide the winner. For the first time since 1975, the public voted on the songs, although this time it was by telephone voting instead of postcards. Also introduced was a judging panel, to comment on the songs. They had no role in the selection of the winner, merely to pass comment. The judges were Mike Batt, Bruce Welch, Gloria Hunniford and George Martin. Martin talked about songs 1 and 5, Batt discussed songs 2 and 6, Hunniford passed comment on songs 3 and 7, and Welch (a former Eurovision participant himself) talked about songs 4 and 8.

The songs[edit]

Song number 1 was "Till the Night" written by Pete Bellotte and Dave Cooke. The song was performed by Catwalk, a new band, with a female lead singer. This was a song about working all day in order to go out and find love in the night. George Martin said it was a good contemporary song with a good theme, but felt that the melody wasn't adventurous enough.

Song number 2 was written by Duncan Brown and Sebastian Graham Jones, and performed by Camino, another six piece band. The song was called "High Windows". Mike Batt thought it was a nicely produced track but not a great song, and only liked it after listening to it several times

Song number 3 was written and performed by Zoe Nicholas, and was called "Just a Memory". This was a solo effort with off screen backing singers, all about being with someone else after a relationship ends. Gloria Hunniford felt it was a bit like a Whitney Houston ballad, and liked the fact that the writer was the performer.

Song number 4 was written by JR Cousins, who was also in the band, performed by a group called FNAC. The song featured a brass section that "mimed" playing on stage, in order to let the orchestra make the brass effort. The song was called "Make Your Dreams Come True". Bruce Welch said he enjoyed the brass section, and that it was a very infection track.

Song number 5 was written by James McClaren, who sings as James Oliver. He joined with Linda Carroll to form a duet called Klass. This was James' second of three entries in the contest. Both he and Carroll would reappear in the 1989 contest, although performing separate songs. George Martin felt that duets are hard to do, but he liked the unusual nature of the melody. The song was called "One More Chance".

Song number 6 was by Carol Grimes, featuring a group called Clinging to the Wreckage, featuring Nikki Lamborn (Never The Bride). The song was called "Heart to Heart". Mike Batt queried whether this song could be well received by a jury, and didn't understand the theme, but it was very powerful.

Song number 7 was called "This is the Kiss" by a group called Two-Che, featuring Irishman Paul Clements, and Manchester born Nicola Jackson. Gloria Hunniford liked the song, but felt that some aspects of it were repetitive. Jackson would later go on to sing "Until You Saved My Life" as half of the duo Sister Sway with her sister Mandy in the 1999 contest.

Song number 8 was written by Julie Forsyth, the daughter of Bruce Forsyth, and performed by Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had a hit in the 1970s with "If I Had Words" and was fairly well known in the Netherlands.[2] The song was called "Go", and was a ballad about being cheated on. Backing singers (including the writer) could be heard but not seen at the very end of the song. Bruce Welch felt that this was the kind of song that has won Eurovision in the past, and that it was a nice understated performance.

Voting[edit]

Draw Song Composer Artist Votes Place
01 "Till the Night" Pete Bellotte & Dave Cooke Catwalk 22,358 7th
02 "High Windows" Duncan Browne & Sebastian Graham-Jones Camino 41,528 3rd
03 "Just a Memory" Zoe Nicholas & Ray Monk Zoe Nicholas 27,783 6th
04 "Make Your Dreams Come True" James R Cozens FNAC 28,946 5th
05 "One More Chance" James Oliver Klass 19,504 8th
06 "Heart to Heart" Carole Grimes & Maclek Hrybowicz Clinging To The Wreckage 30,382 4th
07 "This is the Kiss" Mike Berry & Mel Simpson Two-Ché 73,785 2nd
08 "Go" Julie Forsyth Scott Fitzgerald 93,271 1st

[3]

At Eurovision[edit]

The contest was staged at the RDS in Dublin on 30 April. Twenty one nations took part and the UK performed in fourth position. Scott Fitzgerald scored well and was involved in a tense battle for first place with Switzerland's entrant Celine Dion. With only Yugoslavia left to vote, the UK was in first place with 136 points followed by Switzerland with 131. The Yugoslav jury proceeded to award Switzerland six points and the UK zero.

BBC 1 broadcast the final on television, with commentary provided by Terry Wogan. Ray Moore had been scheduled to provide the radio commentary for BBC Radio 2, but Moore was undergoing treatment for cancer at the time, so Ken Bruce fulfilled the commitments. This was Bruce's fist involvement with presenting the Eurovision for radio. Colin Berry served as spokesperson for the UK jury.

"Go" was a minor hit in the UK charts.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]