World of Chig   

UK50: Vote on Group Gina!

We're back, diving urgently into the second half of our UK50 first round, and it's time for Gina G to introduce group G, chosen at random by Mike (if you can remember that far back).

Gina, thank you for filling in for me, although I'm not sure everyone understood your Aussie terminology. Perhaps you could just say 'ill' next time? Anyway, time is against us. Please introduce the songs in Group G.

G'day, and about bloody time too, mate! Okay, G is for Gina, G is for G. Hmm. G is for girls, so Group G is girls, girls, girls! First up, Lindsay Dracass. Funny how everyone in the UK spent the whole three minutes of her performance in Copenhagen just waiting to see if she could hit that final note.

Ah yes, the final note. People really WILL have to download Chig's special Group G medley this time...

Have you been messing around on the mixing desk, Chig?

Yes, I have, and very amusing it is too. Download it now. The second song?

Song two is Samantha Jay-nus...

It's pronounced 'Jannus'.

Oh, right mate, I thought it was Jay-nus because she made such an arse of herself when she sang it.

You may have a point there. And your third song?

It is, er, without a doubt the best UK entry of the modern... I can't read your handwriting Chig. What does this say?


Of the modern era, sung by the most fabulous singer on the club circuit. Did I read that okay Chig?

Er, yes. Couldn't agree more. [Chig grabs script from Gina and throws it away.]
Thank you Gina. You belong to us, we belong to you, naturally. Now scuttle back to Oz to work on that comeback. Ti amo. Mwah, mwah!

So, there you have it. It's Lindsay versus Samantha versus Nicki. Two of these are forgettable pop pap. One of them is brilliant UK schlager. Can you vote correctly?

UK 2001 - No Dream Impossible - Lindsay (15th of 23 songs)
UK 1991 - A Message To Your Heart - Samantha Janus (10th of 22 songs)
UK 2000 - Don't Play That Song Again - Nicki French (16th of 24 songs)

12 points to your favourite song.
6 points to your second favourite.
0 (nul points) to your least favourite.

UK 2001 - No Dream Impossible - Lindsay:

UK 1991 - A Message To Your Heart - Samantha Janus:

UK 2000 - Don't Play That Song Again - Nicki French:

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UK50 will be back tomorrow, after a hospital visit. In the meantime, Chig is still an emotional wreck after watching the last episode ever, ever, ever of The OC this afternoon. Very well done it was too, but Sundays will never be the same again. I'm trying to put my finger on exactly what it is I'll miss about the show...

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"G'day! I'm Gina G and I was supposed to be meeting Chig here so I could introduce the songs in Group G, but apparently the guy's crook. He's gone to bed early and wouldn't even let me introduce the freakin' songs without him. Jeez, the guy's such a control freak! I guess we'll just have to come back when he's feeling better. I hope he's not too long - I've got a comeback to work on."

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UK50: Interval Act

We're halfway through the first round of our quest to find your favourite songs from the UK's 50 years in Eurovision, so it's time for the interval act. Don't worry, the later rounds will be much quicker.

We'll be back tomorrow with the next group of songs, as long as one of you chooses the medley, starting with the letter C, H, I or G.

In the meantime, have a flick through your programme, go to the toilet or sit back and enjoy this Norwegian tribute to some of the UK's finest moments. This is taken from the 1998 final of the Melodi Grand Prix, where Norway chose the song that would come 8th in Birmingham, by the lovely Lars Fredriksen.

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UK50: Vote on Group Lys!

Lucky Luca was first into the comments box yesterday, where he chose his initial, 'L'. Grazie Luca! Oddly, this left the letters C,H,I,G. I wonder why?

We reach the halfway point today, with 25 of the UK's 50 songs now available below for your votes. (Actually it's 24 as you evicted Black Lace.) Tomorrow, we'll have an advertising break, for those of you watching on commercial TV, and the rest of us will have a very entertaining, very appropriate interval act.

So, L is for Luca, L is for Lys and L is for love. To that end, let's introduce the first ever winner of Eurovision, to reveal her group of songs. All the way from Switzerland and all the way from 1956, please welcome Lys Assia!

"Guten Tag! Yes, I am still alive. I'm 81, you know."

Glad to see it Lys. Would you like to introduce your three themed songs for today's public vote?

"Certainly. L is for Liebe und love. The United Kingdom has entered five songs in fifty years which start with the word 'love'. You've had two of them already in your voting; Love Games and Love Shine A Light, so today we have the other three.

First kommt Prima Donna, featuring the first appearance of Sally-Anne Triplett and Kate Robbins. You'll be seeing one of them again later, with a much better song. The other one went on to be a voice in your Spitting Image programme. Dann kommt Love City Groove with the only eponymous song that the UK has ever entered. I cannot zink of anything nice to say about it, so finally we have Vikki, with a lot of hairspray. Zis song conforms to Eurovision regulations, mit ze use of higher and desire. She has also a very nice chair, I think?"

Indeed she does Lys. Vikki has dragged a chair onto the stage for no apparent reason. Given the year, it was probably a homage to Larry Grayson. Thank you Lys for your sponsorship of these three lovely love songs. Sorry, I mean three pretty crap songs which happen to start with the same word. Auf Wiedersehen.

By the way, it took me by surprise earlier when I did a Google image search for Lys Assia and saw a picture of myself right there on the third line, along with my photo of Lordi!

The songs in Group Lys are:

UK 1980 - Love Enough For Two - Prima Donna (3rd of 19 songs)
UK 1995 - Love City Groove - Love City Groove (10th= of 23 songs)
UK 1985 - Love Is... - Vikki (4th of 19 songs)

Given a free vote, I'm sure we'd like to dump all three of these songs, but the cruel hand of linguistic fate has decreed that one of them must get through to our final sixteen. (Who was it who said Chig had seeded these songs? I bet you feel pretty stupid now. Where's the good one?) So which do you dislike the least? Prima Donna's prime dollop of cheese as they offer themselves for threesomes? Love City Groove's shoddy (c)rap? Or Vikki's danger with a stranger (or from a naked flame if it gets anywhere near that hair)?

Please feel free to download Chig's fabulously edited Group Lys medley here. Or watch the YouTube videos below, then cast your votes in the comments box like this:

12 points - your favourite song
6 points - your second favourite song
0 (nul points) - your least favourite song

Come on feel the love! Love, love, love!

UK 1980 - Love Enough For Two - Prima Donna:

UK 1995 - Love City Groove - Love City Groove:

UK 1985 - Love Is... - Vikki:

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UK50: Your weekend choice

Chig is away on location, filming with the BBC on a hush-hush TV project. (I'm making it sound more exotic than it really is, but it's absolutely true. If it goes any further, believe me you'll hear about it.)

Never too busy to engage with you, my public though. With the Eurovision final only three weeks tonight, we really need to get a move on with this, so will the first person reading this please choose one of the following letters? (If you've done it before, you're barred!) Thank you.

C, G, H, I or L

(This should test whether anyone reads this at the weekends, when the UK weather is good.)

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UK50: Vote on Group Bobbysocks!

The Schlagerboys were first into my box last night, where they chose medley B as our next bunch of songs to compete for your votes in UK50. As a special treat, we decided to throw out the tunes that were going to be in medley B and let the boys themselves choose today’s songs instead (and today’s special guests to introduce them), because B is for boys after all. Chig even suggested that we could stick with the ‘B is for boys’ theme and choose three songs by male UK artists. The Schlagerboys took as much notice of me as everybody else does, quite wisely, and chose three songs by women.

Just in case anyone should think that this is merely Chig letting two friends join in for a laugh, let me point out that the Schlagerboys are genuine, international Eurovision celebrities. Firstly, they were being consulted by Swedish newspaper Expressen, to offer a UK perspective on this year’s Melodifestivalen heats, quoted and pictured in the paper and on the website. Then, they were mentioned LIVE on Norwegian telly during the Melodi Grand Prix final, by the singer who they’d gone to Oslo to stalk support!

Here’s the proof, on YouTube. The interviewer says to Jenny Jenssen something like “…the Grand Prix opens new doors for people” and then mentions her “English fanclub”. At this point, the Schlagerboys can be heard screaming like girls. Jenny then says something we can’t quite understand, but includes the word “evening” and then the immortal words, “Schlagerboys, yes!”

It’s a TV classic, better in this edited version than the full clip, wherein the camera turns to the Schlagerboys themselves, with their ‘We ‘heart’ Jenny Jenssen’ placards and it becomes woefully clear that they are the only people in the audience supporting her. So now the whole of Norway knows they are mad.

By a strange twist of fate (not), it’s time to turn again to Norway, for today’s special guests, as the Schlagerboys invite onto the stage Bettan and Hanne, better known as the first ever Eurovision winners to represent Norway, from 1985.


“Hallo! Hyggelig å treffe deg”

Beklager, jeg snakker ikke norsk…so we’ll continue in English, if it’s okay with you two?

Bettan: “Ja. I mean ‘yes’. Thank you for naming this group after me.”
Hanne: “It’s not B for Bettan, it’s B for Bobbysocks. It’s both of us”
Bettan: “Oh.”
Hanne: “Bettan’s not even your real name anyway, is it Elisabeth?”
Bettan: “Er, no, but let’s get on with introducing these UK songs.”
Hanne: “Yes, let us do that. They're all quite good this time, aren’t they? The Schlagerboys have chosen well.”
Bettan: “Schlagerboys, yes! They’re all good songs, but none of them won, did they?”
Hanne: “No, we are much better.”

Bettan: “The first one is Jack In The Box, which was only four years after Puppet On A String. You Brits love your songs about toys, don’t you?”
Hanne: “Maybe it’s because children choose the UK’s songs?"
Bettan: “Yes, I have seen Scooch and Daz Sampson. What’s the second song?”
Hanne: “It’s a song about someone who doesn’t know who’s at the door.”
Bettan: “Couldn’t Mary Hopkin see her knockers?”
Hanne: “Apparently not.”

Bettan: “The third one is by an Australian woman who the UK dragged in to represent them.”
Hanne: “Ooh, ah, it’s Gina G at last.”
Bettan: “No, it’s Olivia Newton-John.”
Hanne: “But she’s actually English. She was born in Cambridge. Not a lot of people know that.”
Bettan: “Why are you doing Michael Caine impressions? It’s time for us to go. Ha det!
Hanne: “Ja, ha det!”

Ha det, Bobbysocks. Tack! Interesting. We have an international contest in our ‘sounds of the ‘70s’ Group Bobbysocks, as Northern Ireland’s Clodagh takes on Welsh Mary and English Aussie Olivia. Who will win? You decide!

The songs are:

UK 1971 - Jack In The Box – Clodagh Rodgers (4th of 18 songs)
UK 1970 - Knock, Knock, Who’s There? – Mary Hopkin (2nd of 12 songs)
UK 1974 – Long Live Love – Olivia Newton-John (=4th of 17 songs)

Do you like Clodagh bouncing up and down on your spring? Are you one of Mary’s knockers? Is Olivia the one that you want?

Download Chig’s medley of all three songs in Group Bobbysocks here. Or watch the YouTube videos below. Then cast your votes in the comments box, like this:

12 points - your favourite song
6 points - your second favourite song
0 (nul points) - your least favourite song

UK 1971 - Jack In The Box – Clodagh Rodgers:
Pink sequinned hotpants. You go girl!

UK 1970 - Knock, Knock, Who’s There? – Mary Hopkin:
In the early 1970s, Chig used to get Mary Hopkin and Mary Peters confused. They are hardly similar, but Chig wasn't even four when Hopkin did this and was only six when Peters won Olympic gold in 1972. Even now, Chig is often confused by Marys.

UK 1974 – Long Live Love – Olivia Newton-John:
Why did she wear her nightie?

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Scooch: the backlash is in full swing

From today's Popbitch mailing:

>> More bad news <<

Music industry collapse explained

A spokesperson for Warner Bros Records, "It's great that we've got Scooch, it's an exciting project and we have high hopes for the single. It would be great for Warners to have a Eurovision winner on the books".

After reading that, you would think that Warners would have put a bit of effort into the single, with a few remixes and of course the key change, which the song desperately needs for Eurovision. The key change will surely have been added after this petition. But no. A friend has a copy of the promo single and the key change is nowhere to be seen. This will cost the United Kingdom votes on 12 May. It's as simple as that.

On the HMV website, the single is there. Bog standard version plus karaoke version. What's the point? I mean really, what is the point of buying it? WHERE ARE THE BLOOMIN' REMIXES?

And relax.

To add insult to injury, the HMV e-mail robot knows me too well. "Based on your previous purchases, we thought you might enjoy this," says the HMV e-mail in my inbox today. Yes, they have e-mailed me about the Scooch single. Funny thing is, the e-mail say it's released on 30 April, but when you click through to the HMV website, it says 7 May.

No key change, no remixes, confusion over the release date, putting their prices up for club PAs. It's not looking good, is it?

All that could go wrong now is for Scooch to be banned from using the runway, which will be there, attached to the stage in Helsinki. The runway, as used to great effect at Making Your Mind Up, which maximises the impact of the line, "Your exits are here, here and here". Oh, bugger! We're doomed! Doomed, I tell you! Protest here!

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UK50: Choose the next songs

B, C, G, H, I or L.

If you haven't done it before(!), please visit the comments box with ONE of the above letters. You'll be choosing the next medley of UK50 songs. They'll be revealed tomorrow (Thursday).

Voting is still open for all six groups revealed so far, so feel free to scroll down and vote in each one.

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UK50: Vote on Group Edsilia!

Our reader in York chose medley E for today's songs and is now banned from future choices. (Sorry Simon, but thank you for both of yours. Chig's PA, Jeremy, has been sacked for forgetting to publish the rules in advance.) So, let's introduce the Dutch entrant from 1998 and again this year, Edsilia Rombley!

Hoi Edsilia! Het spijt me, ik spreek geen we'll continue in English. Welcome back!

"Dank u, thank you. It's great to be back in Eurovision!"

I meant welcome back to Birmingham, actually. You had a good time here in 1998, didn't you? Remember that Icelandic party at the Sea Life Centre? Oh, how you and I laughed that people were eating dead fish as the living fish looked on! Remember how you asked me that night to organise some UK club dates for you if you won?"

"Ja, and I remember dat u said yes, you would."

So I did. Moving swiftly on. Tell us today's songs.

"Okay, de first shong is one of your UK shilly shongs, 'Ring-A-Ding Girl'. I mean, can you imagine de Nederlands ever shinging a shilly shong about a ding dong bell? Ha, ha!"

Er, 1975?

"Oh yeah, for sure. Er, de shecond shong is 'I Love De Liddle Tings' by Matt Monro."

And do you?

"No, I prefer de big tings. Ha, ha!"

Don't we all?!

"De last song is your winner from 1967, Puppet On A String, from de fabulous Sandie Shaw wid de no shoes."

Dank u, Edsilia. I believe you've come up with an amusing name for this medley, in a feeble attempt to link these random songs together?

"Er, no, you told..."

I think you've called it the Ring-A-Ding String Thing, haven't you?

"No, dat was..."

Thank you Edsilia. Dag! We'll see you in Helsinki. Good luck.

There we are then. The songs in Group Edsilia are:

UK 1962 - Ring-A-Ding Girl - Ronnie Carroll (4th= of 16 songs)
UK 1964 - I Love The Little Things - Matt Monro (2nd of 16 songs)
UK 1967 - Puppet On A String - Sandie Shaw (1st of 17 songs)

Does Ronnie ring your bell? Is Sandie pulling your strings? Or do you prefer Matt's miniatures?

Download Chig's splendid medley of these three songs in Group Edsilia here. Or watch the YouTube videos below. Or do both. Go crazy!

Please vote in the comments box below the videos, like this:

12 points - your favourite song
6 points - your second favourite song
0 (nul points) - your least favourite song

UK 1962 - Ring-A-Ding Girl - Ronnie Carroll:

UK 1964 - I Love The Little Things - Matt Monro:

Oh dear. No video recording exists of Eurovision 1964. It was lost from the archives of the host, Danish TV, either by a fire, or by cost-cutting measures which saw some of their archives being thrown away. It depends whose story you believe. No other country recorded the broadcast, except for the winner's reprise. You'll have to download Chig's medley instead.

UK 1967 - Puppet On A String - Sandie Shaw:

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Today, I have mostly been...

...having an in-depth conversation with a television production company, chatting to a former Pop Idol contestant's mother and thinking up questions for someone else to ask Erasure. As you do. All will become clear in the fullness of time.

In the meantime, did you watch this programme, Arrange Me A Marriage, on BBC Two a few weeks ago? If so, please tell us all about it in the comments box. I'll explain another day...


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UK50: Choose a letter!

B, C, E, G, H, I or L.

First one in the comments box with ONE of the above letters gets to choose today's UK50 songs. They'll be revealed for your voting pleasure later tonight.

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UK50: Vote on Group Michael!

My fellow Birmingham residents the Melodimen were first into the comments box early today, choosing their own initial, 'M'. (They then had a moment of madness and picked another letter, 'O', which wasn't an option, because we had it last week. I'll have a word when I see them.)

So, to host group M, it can only be... well, it could have been loads of people, to be honest, but because my Mum likes him, please welcome to the stage Monsieur Michel Le Ballon - Mister Michael Ball!

Goodness me, that was an energetic entrance Michael! It reminded me of your Eurov...

"Dahling, did I ever tell about the time I was on Broadway and Bette Midler said to me..."

Ahem. An interesting tale, I'm sure Michael, but there's a job to be done here. Would you please introduce the three songs in Group Michael?

"Group Michael...oh luvvie, that reminds me of the time that Michael Crawford and I were backstage at the Edward, when Sir Tim came up to us and..."

Michael, we have no time for your showbiz anecdotes, amusing as they are. The voters are waiting. Would you please introduce today's three songs which represented the UK at Eurovision, like your good self?

"I'd rather stick pins in my eyes."

Well, honestly readers, what can you do? Mr Ball seems to have bounded off as quickly as he bounded on, so I'll have to tell you myself that the songs in Group Michael are two from the nineties by women with no surnames and a duet from the seventies. As an added bonus, and because it's not available on YouTube, and for the sake of completeness, I have stuck Black Lace's 'Mary Ann' onto the beginning of the medley. Please remember that you can't vote for it (like you would want to anyway) because you evicted it from this competition in our Friday the 13th vote last week. Any suggestion that this little foursome was actually put together ages ago and Chig couldn't be bothered to edit out Black Lace, because the fade into Sonia would have meant starting all over again, will be laughed out of court.

The songs are:

UK 1993 - Better The Devil You Know - Sonia (2nd of 25 songs)
UK 1990 - Give A Little Love Back To The World - Emma (6th of 22 songs)
UK 1977 - Rock Bottom - Lynsey de Paul & Mike Moran (2nd of 18 songs)

Please vote in the comments box below the videos, like this:
12 points - your favourite song
6 points - your second favourite song
0 (nul points) - your least favourite song

Download my little Group Michael medley here and don't forget to ignore Black Lace in your voting! (You'll probably want to ignore them completely anyway.) I can honestly say that, for the first time, I have no idea how your votes might go on the other three.

UK 1993 - Better The Devil You Know - Sonia:

UK 1990 - Give A Little Love Back To The World - Emma:

UK 1977 - Rock Bottom - Lynsey de Paul & Mike Moran:

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Who wants to choose tonight's medley? One of these letters, in the comments box, now. (First person only.)

B, C, E, G, H, I, L, or M.

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A polite note to Lauren Laverne

Birmingham isn't even in the Black Country, let alone "deep in the heart" of it.

Ferchrissakes. We expect much more of you. Sack the Transmission scriptwriters, now.


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UK50: Unlucky for Black Lace

Friday the 13th is over and so is our UK50 eviction vote. Nearly 43% of you have voted to evict the one that Chig would have evicted too. Well done.

Black Lace, for performing our worst ever entry, while looking like Smokie meets Dave Lee Travis, be off with you! 'Mary Ann' is so bad, it's not even on YouTube. The shame!

Full results:

43% Mary Ann - Black Lace
21% Go - Scott Fitzgerald
21% Give A Little Love Back To The World - Emma
7% Rock Bottom - Lynsey de Paul & Mike Moran
7% Say It Again - Precious

No votes for the other eight songs.

A new batch of UK50 songs will be here on Monday. In the meantime, voting remains open on all four groups so far. See below for details of Group Nicki, Group Oleksandr. Group Kojo and Group Alsou.

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UK50: Unlucky Friday the 13th

Oh dear. It's going to be a very unlucky Friday the 13th for one of our remaining acts from UK Eurovision history. Thirteen unlucky acts stand before you. One of them is going home, without even getting the chance to sing.

In a one-off Friday the 13th special, this vote is open for 24 hours only, until midnight tonight (BST). Vote for the one act you want to see go. The one with the most votes will be eliminated and ruthlessly edited out of their medley. (In the event of a draw, Chig will decide, and I despise two of these entries, so you wouldn't want to make me choose, would you?)

So, who's your least favourite out of this horrible lot? Is Lindsay's dream impossible? Should Sweet Dreams give up? Have the bad old days returned for Co-Co? Should Scott Fitzgerald just go? You decide!

The Unlucky 13:

UK 1963 - Say Wonderful Things - Ronnie Carroll (4th)
UK 1964 - I Love The Little Things - Matt Monro (2nd)

UK 1977 - Rock Bottom - Lynsey de Paul & Mike Moran (2nd)
UK 1978 - The Bad Old Days - Co-Co (11th)
UK 1979 - Mary Ann - Black Lace (7th)

UK 1980 - Love Enough For Two - Prima Donna (3rd)
UK 1983 - I’m Never Giving Up - Sweet Dreams (6th)
UK 1985 - Love Is - Vicki (4th)
UK 1988 - Go - Scott Fitzgerald (2nd)

UK 1990 - Give A Little Love Back To The World - Emma (6th)
UK 1991 - A Message To Your Heart - Samantha Janus (10th)
UK 1999 - Say It Again - Precious (12th)

UK 2001 - No Dream Impossible - Lindsay (15th)

Please vote for your least favourite now in the comments box.

Voting is now closed.

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UK50: Vote on Group Nicki - The French selection!

We have an exclusive treat for you today, in part four of UK50, our mission to find your favourite UK Eurovision entries. Paul from Glasgow (and recently of Dale's Supermarket Sweep) was first into the comments box earlier today, where he chose the letter N at random. Well, I say ‘at random’ in that he made the choice. However, I suspect that we have been second guessed, dear reader. Paul, being an active member of the messageboard on Nicki French’s official website, probably thought he had unravelled the mysterious workings of Chig’s mind and supposed that, if he chose ‘N’, my comedy persona for today would be in the guise of Nicki French.

Hmmm. As if we'd be that obvious! You lot deserve much better than that. So, I can exclusively reveal that today’s tracks have been chosen, on the phone today, by the UK's Eurovision representative from Stockholm 2000, the real Nicki French herself! Hurrah! Hurrah! Thrice hurrah!

Taking a break from rehearsals, as they say in the papers, for a play she’s doing, Eurovision fan and performer Nicki was asked by me to name three songs to do battle today. She immediately chose Congratulations by Sir Clifford of Richard as “one of the biggies”, and then chose Lulu, because, “it was Lulu who got me into singing”. So, a winner and a second place from the sixties, then Nicki’s third choice of ‘Love Games’ by Belle & The Devotions from 1984.

Thank you Nicki, and we look forward to hearing your own entry whenever someone picks that medley. But who knows when that will be?

So, which song do you want to play again? The one by the man who hid in the toilet after performing this as favourite, only to be beaten by a Spanish girl singing ‘La’ about 121 times? The one by the wee Scots lassie who is ‘pounding away, pounding away’ for all she’s worth? Or the Motowny one by the Toto Coelo wannabes after they've escaped from a lime green bin bag factory? One of them will make our last sixteen. The choice is yours.

UK 1969 – Boom Bang-A-Bang – Lulu (Joint winner, with three other songs, from sixteen.)
UK 1984 – Love Games – Belle & The Devotions (7th of 19 songs.)
UK 1968 – Congratulations – Cliff Richard (2nd of 17 songs, losing by one point.)

You can download my extra special medley of Group Nicki here, or perhaps I should call it ‘Group French’, as this medley includes an additional version of Lulu doing her song in the language of Nicki’s surname. How more appropriate could we damn well get, dear readers? Please don’t judge Lulu on this version, but on the English version. Do feel free, however, to judge the Glasgow education authorities of the 1960s on the standard of French pronunciation in Lulu’s school. I’ll say no more.

You can also watch the performances below, then please vote in the comments box as follows;

12 points: your favourite
6 points: your second favourite
0 (nul points): your least favourite

UK 1969 – Boom Bang-A-Bang – Lulu:

UK 1984 – Love Games – Belle & The Devotions:
Note the booing at the end.

UK 1968 – Congratulations – Cliff Richard:

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UK50: You choose

If you're the first here, please choose one of the following letters and put it in the comments. You will be choosing our fourth medley of UK Eurovision songs. They will be revealed late tonight or early tomorrow. Thank you.

B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M or N.

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UK50: Vote on Group Oleksandr!

We’re onto the third group of songs in our quest to find your favourites amongst the UK’s 50 Eurovision entries. Thank you to Tina from Nottingham, who was the first person into the comments box yesterday to choose today’s medley at random. Tina chose the letter ‘O’, which means it’s time to introduce Ukraine’s first ever entrant in Eurovision. Laskabo prosimo, Oleksandr Ponomaryov!

“Dobry den! Thank you, thank you. Songs in Group Oleksandr all United Kingdom acts whose careers end with Eurovision, yes? I understand in your country you choose end people’s careers by send them to Eurovision. It not like that in Ukraiyina, yes? I still famous in Ukraiyina. Ruslana she still very famous. Very sexy, yes?

None these three ever have another chart hit in UK after contest. For this reason, we call it Hasta La Vista group! Do you get it, yes? This was how named my song. But Mister Chig refuse provide contortionist for you look while listen these three songs. He say you must “make own entertainment”.

First come Live Report. It sound more like death report to me. I make joke, yes? Then come Rikki. He not related to Vikki. She come later. But he sound like your Cliff Richard, yes? Third come Ryder. I so bored after these three, I think no more funny to say. Goodbye.”

Thank you Oleksandr. He’s right, you know. The UK said ‘Hasta La Vista’ to all three of these acts after Eurovision, but Oleksandr is being kind. They hardly charted at all. Just one week at #73 for Live Report and not a whiff of chart action for the other two. About 99% of the UK population would struggle to remember any of these three songs. The UK’s Eurovision entries went through a sticky period in the late ‘80s, where they barely registered in the public consciousness. This is because many of them, as you’re about to hear and see, were absolute rubbish. When the French withdrew in 1982, declaring that Eurovision was, “a monument to drivel – a mediocrity”, little did they know that la Royaume Uni would carry on regardless, building the monument higher and higher in the immediate years to come.

Rikki’s 13th place in 1987 was the UK’s worst ever result at that time, surpassing the low point of 11th, which Coco had achieved nine years earlier. Oh, how we’d kill for 13th now. Ricki held onto this dishonourable record until 2000, when poor Nicki French totally eclipsed him by finishing 16th; a result which looks positively triumphant in retrospect. A sobering fact: the UK’s six lowest placings have all occurred in the last seven years. Ricki sits immediately above them. Only Jessica Garlick, third in 2002, has avoided embarrassment in recent years.

There’s not a saving grace between these three 1980s songs, in Chig’s humble opinion. The astonishing thing is that Live Report managed to come second in Eurovision itself, but 1989 was a bad year, with a poor winner; one that non-fans have a great deal of trouble remembering. (Can you sing ‘Rock Me’ by Riva from Yugoslavia? It’s no wonder the country fell apart a few years later. It was probably the shame of winning with such rubbish.)

However, we have a job to do. Brace yourselves. One of these piles of poo will go through to our last sixteen. Which one do you hate the least? Here are the 'runners' and 'Ryders':

UK 1989 – Why Do I Always Get It Wrong? – Live Report (2nd of 22 songs)
UK 1987 – Only The Light – Rikki (13th of 22 songs)
UK 1986 – Runner In The Night – Ryder (7th of 20 songs)

Download Chig's medley of all three songs here. (I’ve made it reasonably short.)

You can also watch the videos below, then vote in the comments box as follows;

12 points: your ‘favourite’
6 points: your second favourite
0 (nul points): your least favourite

Thank you for your tolerance. It can only get better after this. Can’t it?

UK 1989 – Why Do I Always Get It Wrong? – Live Report:

UK 1987 – Only The Light – Rikki:

UK 1986 – Runner In The Night – Ryder:

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UK50: Your chance to choose?

The first person in the comments box with one of the following letters will be picking the third medley in our UK50 project.

Your remaining choices are: B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N or O.

The next group of songs, as chosen by whoever does this, will be online late tomorrow (Monday) as I'm sure we all have better things to do on this gloriously sunny Easter weekend. (Apologies if it's not sunny where you are!)

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UK50: Vote on Group Kojo!

It's day two of our quest to find your favourites from the UK’s 50 Eurovision entries. Yesterday evening, Simon P of York was the first person to dive into the comments box, where he randomly selected the letter K, for reasons known only to himself. This means we’re voting on medley K.

Here to introduce our three acts for today, please welcome Finland’s disastrous entrant from 1982. Let's not mention 'Nuku Pommiin' or 'nul points' as we say 'Tervetuloa, Kojo!'

“Hei! Hauska tavata. Minun nimeni on Kojo…and I guess I’d better speak English now. It’s nice to be back in England after 25 years. Chig Mansions is much nicer than your second city, Harrogate, I can tell you. Do you like my red leather outfit? I’ve had it let out. Now then, I’m here to introduce the three acts who make up Group Kojo. They’re the only three artists that you guys have had whose names begin with the letter K, so that’s cool and they’re all doing pretty epic tunes, man! The first guy, Ken, is wearing a skirt, so he didn’t do so well, but he scored a few more points than me. In fact, everyone who scored any points scored more than me. Katrina scored 227 points more than me and won the whole thing, and Kathy Kirby came close. Time for me to go, but if you’re coming to Helsinki for Eurovision, why not visit my country club for a few rounds of golf? I love you guys. I love you, Jan Leeming. I love you York-shy-er.”

Kiitos, Kojo. Näkemiin! There they are then. Time to vote for the Special Ks. One of these three will go through to the next round:

1966 – A Man Without Love – Kenneth McKellar (8th out of 18)
Ninth place for our ninth entry was the UK’s worst placing ever, and remained so until 1978. Europe clearly wasn’t ready for a man in a kilt. Curiously, this is the only time the UK has finished ninth, in 49 years.

1997 – Love Shine A Light – Katrina & The Waves (1st out of 25)
The most recent of the UK’s five winners, celebrating its tenth anniversary next month. This scored the UK’s biggest points total by far, with 227.

1965 – I Belong – Kathy Kirby (2nd out of 18)
Second only to the superb ‘Poupée de cire, poupée de son’ by France Gall for Luxembourg. This is a forgotten classic, which, despite finishing second in Eurovision, only made a miserable #36 in the UK chart.

Download Chig’s specially edited medley of all three songs here. (The switch from Kenneth to Katrina is damn near perfect, although I say so myself.)

You can also watch all three performances on the YouTube links below. Then please cast your votes in the comments box below, like this:

12 points – your favourite
6 points – your second favourite
0 (Nul points) – your least favourite


UK 1966 – A Man Without Love – Kenneth McKellar:

UK 1997 – Love Shine A Light – Katrina & The Waves:

UK 1965 – I Belong – Kathy Kirby

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Pick a letter...

If you're the first person to read this, please pick a letter between B and O, then put your choice in the comments box. The first person to do this will be randomly selecting tomorrow's medley for UK50. Go!

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UK50 starts here. Vote now on Group Alsou!

Before we start, I'd like to say a huge thank you to David, formerly of Swish Cottage, who designed this fantastic logo for our UK50 project when I put out an appeal for someone with an artistic bent. He designed quite a few options, but we have gone with this one because it's simple and the 50 is gold, as befitting a fiftieth anniversary, because this year is also the 50th anniversary of the UK entering Eurovision. (The year we missed, 1958, means that the 50th entry and the 50th anniversary actually coincide.) Thank you David, it looks great. Now then, let's get started.

(Pause for dramatic effect. Dry ice hisses from the wings.)

The voting has closed. The votes have been counted and verified. We’re about to start a seemingly endless quest to find the world’s favourite songs from the UK’s fifty Eurovision entries, voted for by you, the public. We’ve just had a public vote to choose which selection of songs we vote on first. The options were the first UK entries (from 1957, 1959 and 1960), the separate but collected works of Cliff Richard and his old bandmates The Shadows and the young whippersnappers of 2002 to 2005, whose names all begin with J.

I can now reveal that the first selection of songs to be voted on in UK50 is...

(Spooky drum roll.)

(Camera pans across the faces of all thirteen performers.)

(Camera pans back to Cliff Richard to show he’s in it twice.)

Medley A!!!

(Glitter bomb explodes at Chig Mansions. Audience screams deliriously.)

Yes, the oldies have won! Patricia, Bryan, Pearl and Teddy, well done. With two thirds of the public vote, you are the clear winners. If you could just go and get ready to sing, we’ll hear from you in a few moments.

Cliff, Hank, Bruce and the other one, hard luck. Hardly anyone cares about you, but we’ll have you back another day. If you could leave the stage please. Cliff, I said leave the stage please. Thank you. Without the microphone. Cheers.

James, let me just squeeze myself in there beside you. Ooh, thank you James. Don’t you look handsome close up?! Er, where was I? Yes, Jessica, James and Javine. You all remember not winning public votes from those shows you were on before, so I guess this feels familiar. Go away for now and take those two Scousers with you. We’ll see you in the next few days.

So, the oldies have it. The three wrinkliest acts are about to come on stage and sing for your vote, introduced by our special guest star. We’ll be having one every day and we’ll see how quickly people cotton on to the reasons for choosing them. Some of them don’t even have a new album out!

Here we go then. Let UK50 commence! Please welcome onto the stage...Russia's entrant from Eurovision 2000...Alsou!

“Zdravstvujtye! Dobryi vyecher! I very pleased to be here to introduce first voting. My uncle pay very much money to Mr Chig for me have zis priviledge. I bring my boys again. You like, yes? Will and David, say hello to the people, you big girls’ blouses. Oh, how we laugh when your Mr Wogan call dem zis!

So, it time for me introduce first songs, yes? First Patricia Bredin, which is a bit boring, I think, yes? I not surprised United Kingdom not enter again in next year. Next one much better, even though it a little bit crazy, yes? Silly song about birdie. And finally Bryan Johnson with another silly song. Why all United Kingdom men called Johnson? What he looking for high, high, high, low, low, low? Silly man. No boys, there no disco songs.”

Thank you Alsou. Thank you Will and David. You can put your tops back on now.

There you have it. Today’s songs were the UK’s first three entries into Eurovision. The BBC missed the first contest, entered in the second, didn’t win, pulled out of the third, came back for the fourth and has been in every one since.

1957 All – Patricia Bredin (7th)
1959 Sing Little Birdie – Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson (2nd)
1960 Looking High, High, High – Bryan Johnson (2nd)

Download Chig’s specially edited medley of bits from all three songs here, or watch all three performances on the YouTube links below. Then please cast your votes in the comments box below, like this:

12 points – your favourite
6 points – your second favourite
0 (Nul points) – your least favourite

Feel free to add your comments or memories of the songs too. Voting will remain open until the first round is over (which is 16 groups of songs, so you have a while). We’ll be back with another special guest to introduce Group B in a day or two. The sound quality will get better than these old tunes, as will some of the music. (Patricia Bredin’s song was never recorded in a studio, so the clip on the MP3 is taken from the TV broadcast.) Some of the musical quality will get a lot worse though. You have been warned.

Thank you, merci, danke.

UK 1957 - All - Patricia Bredin:

UK 1959 - Sing Little Birdie - Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson:

UK 1960 - Looking High, High, High - Bryan Johnson:

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Flogging The Flag (For More)

You can't blame Scooch for wanting to milk their second fifteen minutes of fame and make some money out of it before 12 May, but the way they're going about it is ruffling a few feathers in the entertainment industry. Unsurprisingly, as soon as they won Making Your Mind Up, there was a clamour to book them for PAs at various clubs up and down the country. They hooked up with a management company who very quickly booked them a whole series of dates. All fine and dandy.

However, Scooch have since ditched the management company and signed up with another one, who are now telling the clubs who have booked the group that the fee has doubled and that they need to renegotiate the contract. This kind of PA, by its very topical nature, is done very quickly and agreements are reached in good faith before contracts are signed. Some venues have already advertised the gigs and are now uncertain whether or not Scooch will actually turn up. Their management company is not flavour of the month in clubbing land at the moment.


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I'm so disappointed. When I heard there was a TV programme tonight about men with no balls, I thought it was a documentary on Aston Villa's current season. Turns out it's about eunuchs.

Horrific and yet strangely fascinating it is too.


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UK50: Two days to go...and a vote already!

On Thursday, we will start our quest to sort the wonderful wheat from the tuneless chaff of the UK's 50 Eurovision entries. In our project, imaginitively called 'UK50', you will be able to download and listen to short medleys of the songs, edited by moi into groups of two, three or four, and then cast your points, Eurovision style (ie. douze points and nul points are involved). We will start with groups of songs and then progress to knockout rounds, in order to prove, scientifically, what the world's favourite ever UK Eurovision song is. Please join us, and spread the word so that we get as many people involved as possible. Thank you.

In the meantime, the song which is the UK's 50th Eurovision entry, Flying The Flag (For You) by Scooch, is getting proper radio play, as of yesterday, it seems, by being playlisted on BBC Radio2. I heard Steve Wright play it today. This should help Scooch return to the chart after their very modern false start nine days ago. They entered the chart at #61 on downloads only, on the back of Making Your Mind Up, the front page headlines about their entirely uncontroversial backing singers and the Graham Norton Show appearance, but two days ago they disappeared from the Top 75. It won't matter, because even the download only had a limited availability. (I believe it was only available from iTunes, unless you know differently.) Charting seven weeks before Eurovision, as it did, must be a record for the UK's entry, and Scooch will certainly be back.

As will we, tomorrow, with some slightly more controversial news about this year's entrants that even finger-on-the-pulse Victoria 'make it up' Newton's team hasn't covered yet.

But first, let's get interactive! Which bunch of songs shall we vote on first? You decide! Choose one of these medleys and leave your vote in the comments. The winning medley will be Thursday's vote.

Medley A: Let's start at the very beginning (Patricia Bredin v Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson v Bryan Johnson)

Medley B: Reunited (Cliff Richard v The Shadows v Cliff Richard - again!)

Medley C: The Js of the Noughties (James Fox v Jessica Garlick v Javine v Jemini)

Vote now! Voting closes at midnight (BST) tomorrow.

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An announcement

It's coming... later this week. Try to contain your excitement.


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