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 1983-1989; the other pages in this section cover 1956-1966, 1967-1975, 1976-1982, 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 1983-1989.


1983

The 1983 contest was held in Munich. The show began with all the contestants gathering, one by one, on the stage, meaning that it took around 15 minutes for the first song to be performed. This would not be repeated at the contest for another thirty years.

For the final time, there were no postcards between the songs - instead the country's name was displayed on screen in three languages as the national commentators introduced the next song, which was then followed by presenter Marlene Charell appearing on screen to introduce the next song again. She was seen standing by a flower arrangement she had made to vaguely represent each country.

During the voting, Marlene Charell announced the points in German as well as the usual English and French. The result was that the 1983 contest was the longest so far, running for just over three hours.

The BBC only broadcast the contest on television this year, with Terry Wogan commentating; Radio 2 opted to transmit a St George's Day concert instead.


1984

Eurovision 1984 was a much leaner affair than last year's show, running some 45 minutes shorter. It came from Luxembourg for the final time, presented from the Theatre Municipal by the contest's youngest ever presenter, 19 year-old Desiree Nosbusch.

The set design was similar to 1976's in that it consisted of background elements that changed position for each song.

The postcards comprised lighthearted vignettes illustrating stereotypical themes for each country, many of them making use of computer graphics. The UK's featured various objects appearing out of the radiator grille of a Rolls-Royce. Each postcard was followed by the commentator for the competing country appearing on screen.

Radio 2 again did not broadcast the contest.


1985

The contest went to Gothenburg in 1985 with Lill Lindfors presenting from the Scandinavium.

The postcards this year were filmed in the competing countries, but unusually featured the writers and composers rather than the performers. In the UK's case, however, the performer, Vikki Watson, had also co-written the song, and was able to appear in the video.

As in 1983, the presenter appeared in between the postcards and the songs to introduce the next artist. This would seem to duplicate the information that the national commentators had just given out during the postcards, and had the effect of slowing down the pace of the show. However, this practice would continue for the next few years.

For the third year in a row, there was no broadcast of the contest on Radio 2.


1986

Ase Cleveland, who had participated in Eurovision twenty years earlier, presented the 1986 contest from the Grieg Hall (Grieghallen) in Bergen.

The postcards came in three parts - the first showing scenes of Norway, then a literal postcard appearing on screen to display the song credits. The song's performers than appeared on screen superimposed over one of the scenes depicted in the first part, using CSO. The UK's Ryder were seen donning hard hats over a picture of an oil rig. The presenter then appeared on screen to introduce the song.

Radio 2 resumed its broadcasts of the contest this year, with Ray Moore commentating.


1987

Viktor Lazlo, real name Sonia Dronier, presented the 1987 contest from the Centenary Palace in Brussels.

The postcards consisted of scenes of Belgium, concluding with the competing artists seen superimposed onto cartoons featuring popular Belgian characters. Yes, Tintin was one of them, but not on the UK's postcard.

This was the last year that a physical scoreboard was used. Ray Moore commentated on the contest for the final time for Radio 2.


1988

The contest returned to the Royal Dublin Society in 1988, with Pat Kenny and Michelle Rocca hosting. From now on, the contest would usually be presented by duos. They would take it in turn to introduce each song before the postcard was shown. These showed the competing artists visiting various locations in Ireland. The UK's Scott Fitzgerald was seen enjoying a meal at Bunratty Castle.

For the first time, a computer-generated scoreboard was used, which appeared on a large screen on the stage. The stage itself had an impressive design this year, made up of a grid which had the ability to light up.

Ken Bruce made his debut commentating for Radio 2, and has continued to do so, without a break, ever since.


1989

The final contest of the 80s came from the Palais de Beaulieu in Lausanne, Switzerland. A lengthy filmed opening sequence showed the famous Swiss children's character Heidi travelling around the country, before being joined by reigning Eurovision champion Celine Dion, who walked onto the stage to perform her winning song from the previous year.

Hosts Lolita Morena and Jacques Deschenaux introduced each song before the postcards, which depicted the competing artists undertaking an activity in Switzerland. The UK's Live Report were seen making cheese in the Alps and then going for a balloon ride.

This was the last time that the countries' names on the scoreboard were displayed in a language other than English.


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