UK to host Eurovision 2023 after agreement with Ukraine and broadcasters
Due to the on-going war in Ukraine, the UK will be hosting Eurovision on their behalf. ITV News' Louise Scott reports
The UK will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 after an agreement between Ukraine, which won this year's competition, and broadcasters.
Ukraine is unable to host the contest due to the ongoing war with Russia, breaking a tradition which usually sees the competition held in the previous winner's country. Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won this year's contest.
Britain, which won second place in 2022, offered to step in after it was decided it would be unviable to host the contest in a country under constant bombardment.
Oleh Psiuk of Kalush Orchestra said that although they are sad that Ukraine cannot host the competition in 2023, they are grateful for the UK's support.
He said: "Of course, we are very sad that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be held in Ukraine next year. But we are grateful to the UK for their solidarity and for agreeing to hold the event in support of our country.
"We hope Eurovision 2023 will have a Ukrainian flavour and celebrate our beautiful, unique culture. We, in turn, will make all efforts to help Ukraine win next year as well, so that Eurovision 2024 can take place in a peaceful country.”
Which UK cities could host Eurovision in 2023?
Several cities had already announced intentions to host the contest before the news was confirmed and it's likely many more will now throw their hats into the ring.
The bidding process will be jointly managed by the BBC and EBU, with host cities needing a large events space, suitable accommodation and international transport links for the competing countries and their delegations.
Cities which have already announced their bids are:
The UK has hosted the contest on eight previous occasions, in London, Edinburgh, Brighton, Harrogate and Birmingham.
Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelenskyy agree Eurovision 2023 will be celebration of Ukraine
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would "put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends".
He said that in talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week they "agreed that wherever Eurovision 2023 is held, it must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine".
"As we are now hosts, the UK will honour that pledge directly - and put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends," Mr Johnson said.
Martin Osterdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest'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."
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Ukraine, which won this year with Kalush Orchestra, will automatically qualify for the Grand Final alongside the so-called Big Five - the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - who each get a free pass because of their financial contributions.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries confirmed the news on Twitter, saying it is an "absolute privilege and honour for the UK to be supporting our friends" after an agreement between the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event.
A statement from BBC director-general Tim Davie said he is "committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity".
"The BBC will now begin the process to find a host city to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023," he added.