Eurovision Song Contest

This section looks at the Eurovision Song Contest from a presentational point of view - logos, graphics, captions, postcards, scoreboards etc. On this page we look at 1967-1975; the other pages in this section cover 1956-1966, 1976-1982, 1983-1989, 1990-1996, 1997-2001, 2002-2005, 2006-2009, 2010-2013, 2014-2017 and 2018.

If you're more interested in the music, click here for our reviews of the contests from 1967-1975.


1967

The UK took victory for the first time at the 1967 contest, which was presented by Erica Vaal from Vienna. For this, and the following three years, the scoring system reverted to the method first used in 1957, with the UK's points again announced by Michael Aspel. For the first time, the scoreboard was divided into two columns.

Scenes of the audience again appeared between the songs, with on-screen captions used for the conductor, performer and song title. Rolf Harris provided the BBC's commentary.

This year the show, which up to now had usually been held around mid-March, took place a little later than usual, in early April. As this was now after the start of British Summer Time, the effect for British viewers was that the show started an hour later than before, beginning at the rather late time of 22.00 BST. It would remain at this time until 1970.


1968

The Eurovision Song Contest was transmitted in colour for the first time in 1968, presented by Katie Boyle from the Royal Albert Hall. However, as BBC1 was not yet broadcasting in colour, the BBC's live broadcast of the contest was still in monochrome. The show was repeated in colour on BBC2 the following afternoon, the only time the BBC have broadcast a repeat of the Eurovision final.

The show began with a particulary slow and turgid rendition of 'Te Deum', lasting 45 seconds. The gaps between the songs were again filled by shots of the audience. Captions were used for the conductor and performer.

Michael Aspel announced the UK votes, and David Gell provided the television commentary. The BBC also broadcast the show on radio for the first time, with Tony Brandon commentating for Radios 1 and 2. He continued in this role for the following two years.


1969

Eurovision 1969 took place at the Teatro Real in Madrid, with Laurita Valenzuela hosting. The set featured a metal sculpture by Spanish artist Salvador Dali.

The downside of the voting system, which tended to result in low scores, became all too apparent this year, with four countries having to share victory, having scored 18 points apiece.

BBC continuity announcer Colin Ward-Lewis was the UK spokesperson. Sources differ as to who commentated for BBC1 - it was either Michael Aspel or David Gell.

Once again, scenes of the audience appeared between the songs.


1970

With only 12 entries, Eurovision 1970 might have been over as soon as it had begun. And so the concept of 'postcards', short films in between each song, was introduced to pad things out a bit. 1970's postcards showed each contestant in their home country. The postcards would eventually become essential as the show became more elaborate, with time needed to set up the staging for each participant.

Willy Dobbe presented the show from the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, with David Gell commentating for BBC1, and Colin Ward-Lewis again announcing the UK's points. Large on-screen captions introduced each performance. With the reduced number of entries, they all fitted onto one column again on the scoreboard.

A further innovation in 1970 saw a camera placed in the green room, allowing viewers to see competitors' reactions as the voting progressed.


1971

The 1971 contest, presented by Bernadette Ni Gallchoir, saw an entirely new kind of scoring system introduced. Rather than each spokesperson coming over the phone to announce their votes, instead the jury members were all flown across to the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, to award their points in vision. Each national jury now consisted of just two members, with one aged under 25, and one over, each of whom used flip-up cards to award between 1 and 5 points to each song. Three juries at a time would give their points for each country in turn (apart from their own, of course!), with all three lots of points being added to the scoreboard together.

There were further changes this year - groups were now permitted to enter the contest, as long as there were no more than six performers on stage. And it was now mandatory for participating broadcasters to provide a preview video of their entry. These would be broadcast on preview shows in each country into the run-up to the contest - BBC1 usually showed these on Sunday afternoons, and this year their shows were introduced by Cliff Richard.

This year's postcards depicted scenes from each performing country. Dave Lee Travis commentated on the contest for the one and only time on BBC1, while Terry Wogan provided his first ever Eurovision commentary for Radio 2. The start time moved back slightly this year, to 21.45 BST.


1972

Eurovision 1972 took place at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, hosted by Moira Shearer. BBC1's commentator was Scottish actor and broadcaster Tom Fleming, who was better known for commentating on state occasions and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The non-Scottish Pete Murray commentated for Radio 2.

There were no postcards this year, instead a screen on the set showed a still of the upcoming performer(s). Each song concluded with a caption showing the country name.

The scoring system introduced the previous year was used once again, with all the national juries presenting their votes from Edinburgh Castle.

The start time moved back another 15 minutes to 21.30 BST, remaining at this time until 1974.


1973

The contest returned to Luxembourg in 1973, presented from the Nouveau Theatre by Helga Guitton. Terry Wogan provided his first television commentary this year, with radio commentary by Pete Murray. There were no postcards, the gaps between each of the songs being filled simply with a (sometimes unflattering) freeze-frame of the upcoming performer.

The 1971 voting system was used for a third and final time.


1974

Katie Boyle presented the contest for the fourth and final time in 1974, from the Brighton Dome. Terry Wogan returned to commentating on the radio, which he would do for the next four years, with David Vine taking over the role on BBC1.

The postcards showed scenes of the upcoming country, followed by clips of the performer rehearsing and doing publicity.

The scoring system once again reverted to the system first used in 1957, with each jury member giving one vote to their favourite song, and so the national spokespeople returned to announcing their votes via telephone. The UK's were again relayed by Colin Ward-Lewis.


1975

A new voting system was introduced at the 1975 contest - from now on, each national jury would award 1-8, then 10 and 12 points to its top ten songs. Finally, a system which worked! This voting method has continued to be used ever since, though for the first few years, the votes were announced in the order that the songs had been performed, rather than in the more familiar ascending order of points.

The only downside was that the voting procedure now took considerably longer than before, with the result that this year's show ran for longer than two hours for the first time, and no show since has lasted less than two hours. The contest moved to the earlier time of 21.00 BST, where it would remain for the rest of the seventies, apart from in 1978.

The postcards depicted each of the performers attempting to paint a picture of themselves. Seen here is the Shadows' effort.

Radio 2 presenter and BBC television announcer Ray Moore was the first spokeperson to give the UK points using this method, while Pete Murray commentated for BBC1 on the first of two occasions. The show was hosted from Stockholm by Karin Falck.


Next page: 1976-1982
Previous page: 1956-1966


Text copyright © Robert Williams, images copyright © the respective broadcasters