Eurovision Song Contest 2023: Where in the UK might it be held?

The UK has already hosted Eurovision numerous times, as ITV News' Geraint Vincent explains

The United Kingdom will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, it has been announced.

The Ukrainian entry of Kalush Orchestra won the competition in Turin, Italy, this year and it is traditional that the winning country hosts the event the following year.

But organisers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) decided the event could not be held in the war-torn country following the Russian invasion.

As UK entry Sam Ryder came runner-up with his song 'Space Man', the EBU and the BBC have confirmed the competition will be hosted here instead.

This will be the ninth time it has taken place in the UK – more than any other country.

Ukrainian entry Kalush Orchestra won the competition in Italy this year. Credit: PA Images

Where in the UK might the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 be held?

A number of British cities could be in the running as host for the 2023 competition.

Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield are among the cities that have expressed an interest.

Sheffield City Council was among the first to announce a bid, saying on Twitter: "We've told Eurovision we'd love to host... watch this space."

Manchester City Council confirmed it was also putting in a bid, with its leader Bev Craig tweeting: "A world-class music city, brilliant venues, experience in hosting major events, and of course one of the UK's largest Ukrainian populations - we are confident we will make it a Eurovision to remember."

Announcing London's bid, Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city was "ready and willing to step in" with a contest that "celebrates the people of Ukraine and shows off the very best of Britain."

The leader of Brighton and Hove City Council also said it would be "an honour" to host Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine.

"Of course, it was in Brighton and Hove that ABBA launched their global career when they won with Waterloo at the Brighton Dome in 1974," said Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty.

"We'd love to see the event come back to the city and share some of our lucky stardust with the next global superstars."

Cardiff's Principality Stadium, which can hold more than 70,000 people, has been put forward as another suggestion.

ABBA swept to victory at the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 in Brighton. Credit: PA Images

Where has the Eurovision Song Contest previously been held in the UK?

The UK has hosted the event on eight previous occasions.

It has been held in London four times - in 1960, 1963, 1968, and 1977.

It has also taken place in Edinburgh in 1972, Brighton in 1974, Harrogate in 1982, and Birmingham in 1998.

The UK first participated in the competition in 1957 and has gone on to claim first place five times.

It has also stepped in to act as host for winning countries that do not have the financial or logistical means to put on the competition.

What are the requirements to host the Eurovision Song Contest?

The bidding process to select the host city will begin this week and will be jointly managed by the BBC and EBU.

The winner would require a large events space for a period of six weeks, suitable accommodation and international transport links for the competing countries and their delegations.

Simon Bennett, Eurovision fan club president, said: "It is the number one live music event anywhere in the world.

"Any city that takes it on stands to make a lot of money from the number of visitors, and the publicity is amazing."

Ukraine entry Kalush Orchestra celebrates onstage after their victory. Credit: PA Images

What are the organisers saying?

Martin Osterdahl, Eurovision's executive supervisor, said: "We're exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023.

"The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions.

"Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year's contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe's most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year's winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event."

Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of the managing board of Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC, said: "The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukrainem but in support of Ukraine.

"We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us.

"I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent."

In a statement, BBC director-general Tim Davie said: "It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

"Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.

"The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity."

Organisers say the 2023 event will honour and celebrate the spirit of Ukraine. Credit: PA Images

Downing Street said it had been Boris Johnson's "strong wish" for Ukraine to host the Eurovision Song Contest.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "It's deeply regrettable that a Ukraine-hosted Eurovision will not be possible.

"But we are confident the BBC and UK will pull out all the stops to make sure it is an event that celebrates and honours the country, the people and the creativity of Ukraine."

Asked if Britons should fly Ukraine flags to mark the event, the spokesman said: "Absolutely. As we saw, a number of countries and the people of the UK (were) supporting both our UK entry and the Ukrainian entry.

"I'm sure the prime minister would encourage the public to get behind this opportunity to really demonstrate how the UK is supporting the people of Ukraine."

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "The Eurovision Song Contest unites people through the power of music and creativity.

"Following a request from the European Broadcasting Union and the Ukrainian authorities, I'm delighted that the BBC has agreed to step in and host next year's contest.

"I'm just sorry that, due to Russia's continued acts of bloodshed, it has not been possible to host the event in Ukraine, where it should be.

"As hosts, the UK will honour the competition's spirit and diversity, and, most importantly, ensure it reflects Ukraine's recent Eurovision victory and Ukrainian creativity."

Sam Ryder finished in second place in this year's competition. Credit: PA

What happened at the 2022 contest?

The UK’s Sam Ryder topped the jury vote in Turin but Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra went on to win overall after a symbolic show of public support which saw them soar to first place with 631 points.

They had been the frontrunners since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February – which prompted organisers to ban the Russian entrant from competing.

The UK’s second place standing was thrown into doubt after the grand final when it emerged organisers had replaced six countries’ jury results with aggregate scores after noting “irregular voting patterns.”

Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and San Marino had their results substituted by the EBU.

Some of those countries have since claimed that second place would have instead gone to Spain with SloMo performed by Chanel.

But after an investigation, the EBU stuck by its decision and confirmed Ryder as runner-up.

Ukraine joined the international contest in 2003 and its three wins make it one of the most successful of the newer competitor countries – having also triumphed in 2004 and 2016.

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