Katie Boyle - who hosted the Eurovision song contest 87 times between 1930 and 1978 (and went on to pretty good advice page in the back pages of the TV Times throughout the 1980s).
I watched some of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night. I haven't paid much attention to it since my student days, when I used to take it very seriously (making my own score cards and forcing visitors to fill them in).
Still, it looks like I haven't missed much. At first I thought I was watching a re-run of the contest from the 1980s; the costumes, the songs, the bad Euro accents, Terry Wogan's sarcastic remarks - I was sure I'd seen it all before.
But old Terry got increasingly bitter as the voting started and the UK barely got a look in. We came last again, with only two countries giving us votes. The winner involved a few fey men in mullets (one who did ice skating).
Terry said that it was no longer a music competition and made dark noises that he may quit. There's always been an element of co-operative voting - in the 1980s Terry used to always complain about how the Scandanavian countries always voted for each other. But now, with so many new East European countries entering the contest, it's increasingly easy to predict who will vote for whom. It makes you wonder why some of these countries ever declared independence from each other - when they're Eurovision scores show that they like each other so much. Eurovision now resembles Survivor - where contestants are allowed to discuss strategic voting in advance and the winner isn't the best contestant but the one with the most chums. On Sunday morning Cary Grant (the skinny lady with the crimson hair, not the dead actor) was on the BBC news having a go at it as well.
Should we pull out? Because the UK give so much money to Eurovision every year, we never get relegated - unlike about 20 or so countries each year who do. I suspect that might not engender sympathy to us. Personally I don't think there's any way of judging any song in Eurovision as "better" than any other. From my stance, they're all hideous exercises in camp and you'd need your drag queen genes to be highly functioning in order to tell any of them apart. Everyone in the UK acknowledges this, and it's not really viewed as "serious" or "quality" pop music. Could you imagine if the Arctic Monkeys or the Kaiser Chiefs sang in it?
So I think if we don't pull out, we should simply mock it further. What's the point in making any effort whatsoever if we'll never beat the East European voting bloc? How about next year the British entry consists of: a woman screaming while in childbirth, cats in heat, heavy machinery, and the voices of Alan Titchmarsh, Jeremy Clarkson and Michael Winner (three men whose voices make my teeth bleed), being asked to give their opinions on any subject. Clearly we wouldnt' win - but at least we'd get to inflict all that on the rest of Europe.