A politician in Scotland Alyn Smith is leading a call for Scotland to enter the Eurovision Song Contest. He’s also said that he doesn’t like how the BBC is doing the Eurovision – treating the contest as a camp sideshow rather than a celebration of European pop culture like the rest of the continent.
“It’s a little bit snide and grudging the way the BBC does it” he told Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald. “This is a shop window and a stage on which we could shine, whereas the way that the BBC does it is ‘this is a bit of camp nonsense and it’s rubbish, and it’s great because it’s rubbish, and it’s great because it’s camp.”
Smith believes that other countries see the competition for what it is, he says – a popular televised event with a massive global reach, so they’re eager to capitalise on the chances it offers to showcase their musical talent. For the host cities it’s also an opportunity to promote themselves for tourism, business conferences and investment.
Smith is calling for a different approach to how the Eurovision is presented in the UK, one which will allow Scotland to select its own entry and hopefully then benefit from it. He has proposed the idea to the EBU. The BBC is one of four UK EBU members, the others being UK broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Welsh broadcaster S4C.
Smith’s has proposed a system of rotation, with the nations of Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England taking it in turns to select an entry under the UK flag. The networks with corporate EBU membership – BBC Scotland or STV in Scotland, and UTV in Northern Ireland – would take it in turns to mount the coverage.
In autumn this year, the BBC plans to launch a new Scottish channel, with a funding increase that could potentially meet the costs of a mounting Eurovision coverage. “Here’s something that the new BBC Scotland channel could do and demonstrate that they were serious,” said Smith.
“There’s a reticence on behalf of serious artists to say they’d go for Eurovision because of the way it’s done in the UK whereas across the rest of the EU it’s a big gig, a big showcase,” he said. “[But] I think there’s ample Scottish talent that could be doing it and I think if the broadcaster that was doing it had an enthusiasm for the showcase and for the contest rather than the UK’s slightly snidey attitude to it, I think we could have a completely different approach.”
“There needs to be a demand for it, there needs to be a willingness to make it happen. But at the moment the way Eurovision is done is guaranteeing that the UK is going to be an also-ran forever, and it’s relegating what could be a great opportunity to showcase our talent to a missed opportunity of second-rate, campy kitsch. And I think that’s because the BBC has got a tired old formula and a tired old attitude to the whole thing that needs to be rebooted. This would be a way to do it.”
The BBC were approached for a comment on Alyn Smith’s thoughts and they made the following remarks “The BBC is a member of the EBU and as such we submit a song for the competition as the United Kingdom entry.”
What are your thoughts on Scotland entering the Eurovision? Do you think the UK needs a shakeup in the way it chooses it’s acts?