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 1976-1982; the other pages in this section cover 1956-1966, 1967-1975, 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 1976-1982.


1976

The 1976 Eurovision Song Contest took place in the Hague, with former winner Corry Brokken hosting. For the first time, there was also a presenter in the green room, Hans van Willigenburg, something that wouldn't become the norm until the 21st century.

The postcards shown the competitors in their own country - the UK's Brotherhood of Man were seen larking about on London's Embankment. Michael Aspel commentated on the contest for BBC1, and Ray Moore announced the UK's points.

An innovative set design was used this year, with elements of the backdrop which rearranged themselves into different shapes for each performance.


1977

Eurovision returned to Britain in 1977, with Angela Rippon presenting from the Wembley Conference Centre. The broadcast would be beset with problems, not least the fact that the whole show was delayed by over a month. Originally scheduled for early April, an industrial dispute meant the show had to be put back until early May.

A series of postcards were recorded for the show at a London nightclub, but two of the participating broadcasters complained that the Norwegian singer had been shown to be behaving badly. As a result, all the postcards were scrapped, and instead scenes of the audience appeared between the songs.

This was the first year that Radio 2 announcer and presenter Colin Berry gave out the UK votes. He would continue to perform this role until 2002, missing only two years - 1980 and 1998. Meanwhile, Pete Murray was the BBC1 commentator, and Terry Wogan commentated for Radio 2 for the final time.

The scoring was dogged with problems all evening, and by the end of the evening nine out of the eighteen entries showed incorrect scores. There were also issues with the captions, with the caption for winner Marie Myriam wobbling about on the screen, and all kinds of problems with the 'roller' during the closing reprise, with only the final credit caption making it to the screen - search YouTube to hear the gallery talkback from director Stewart Morris (contains very strong language!)


1978

Eurovision 1978 started half an hour earlier than usual, at 20.30 BST. For the first time, the contest was presented by a duo, with Eurovision's first male presenter, Leon Zitrone, joining forces with Denise Fabre to present from the Palais des Congres in Paris.

There were no postcards, with the gaps between the songs being filmed with shots of the audience, and of the performers making their way from the green room to the stage, which included a trip in a lift.

The voting used a split screen technique to show the scoreboard, presenters and green room at the same time. Terry Wogan moved back to television to commentate, while Ray Moore took his place on Radio 2 to describe the scene for the first of six occasions.

Frank Naef took over from Clifford Brown as the EBU's scrutineer this year, remaining in the role until 1992.


1979

1979 was the last Eurovision until 2009 that Terry Wogan did not commentate on - instead, John Dunn performed the role for BBC1 viewers, and Ray Moore described the scene for listeners to Radio 2. It was also the last contest to begin at 21.00 BST. The show, which came from the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, was again presented by a duo - Daniel Pe'er and Yardena Arazi.

The postcards were innovative this year, consisting of humorous vignettes featuring live action performers superimposed onto an illustrated background, many making use of national stereotypes.


1980

As Eurovision moved into the 1980s, some long-lasting changes were made to the contest. The show moved to a 20.00 BST start time, with all future contests starting at this time. In order to help build the tension during the voting, the order of announcing the scores changed from performance order to ascending order of points. And Terry Wogan returned to the commentary box, remaining in this role until 2008. Up until now, the UK commentaries had generally been done in an earnest, straightlaced manner. Under Wogan, this would change to a more wry, tongue-in-cheek style.

Steve Jones, meanwhile, commentated for Radio 2, with Ray Moore taking on the job of announcing the UK votes in place of Colin Berry.

There were no postcards between the songs - instead a presenter from the competing country would introduce their song. Noel Edmunds (sic) took this role for the UK. The show reverted to a solo presenter, Marlous Fluitsma, who hosted from the Hague. As in 1976, Hans van Willigenburg was on hand to interview contestants in the green room.


1981

This year's contest was held at the Royal Dublin Society, and was hosted by Doireann Ni Bhriain. There were a few problems with the scoreboard this year, with Turkey's result repeatedly resetting to zero, while Ireland's own score magically increased from 16 to 326 points at one point!

Each postcard was preceded by a short graphic in which a globe rotated to show the competing country. The postcards themselves depicted the competing artists exploring places in Ireland - Bucks Fizz were shown taking a boating trip on Dublin Bay. Colin Berry returned to announce the UK votes, and Ray Moore returned to commentate for Radio 2.


1982

Harrogate's Conference Centre was the venue for the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest. Where is Harrogate? Oh, don't start...

Each postcard was preceded by a shot of the country's commentator, which meant Terry Wogan's first in-vision appearance at the contest. The postcards themselves began with scenes of the participating country, concluding with shots of the competing artist. The UK's Bardo were shown at Covent Garden and in Harrogate. The composer and singer were then given a brief introduction by the show's presenter Jan Leeming.

Captions appeared at the end of each song, in similar fashion to editions of Top of the Pops from the same period, displaying the country's name in English and French. This may not be a coincidence seeing as the producer of this year's contest was Michael Hurll, who was TOTP's executive producer at the time.

Ray Moore again commentated for Radio 2.


Next page: 1983-1989
Previous page: 1967-1975


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