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 1990-1996; the other pages in this section cover 1956-1966, 1967-1975, 1976-1982, 1983-1989, 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 1990-1996.


1990

Eurovision 1990 was held at the Vatroslav Lisinski Hall in Zagreb, and started with a very curious reinterpretation of the Eurovision symbol!

The contest this year had its own mascot, Eurocat, created by Croatian animator Josko Marusic. The cheeky purple cat briefly appeared at the start of the contest as the presenters Helga Vlahovic and Oliver Mlakar arrived on the stage, and then appeared at the start and end of each postcard. The postcards themselves were produced to tie in with the European Year of Tourism, and comprised of fairly bland scenes of each competing country.

Unlike the previous five years, the presenters did not appear on screen to introduce each song.


1991

The chaotic 1991 contest came from Cinecitta Studio 15, Rome, having been moved at short notice from San Remo due to the ongoing tensions in Yugoslavia. The presenters were both of Italy's previous winners, Gigliola Cinquetti and Toto Cutugno, who presented the show mostly in Italian, when it should have been in English and/or French, the official languages of the EBU.

For the postcards, each competing artist was depicted with an Italian landmark which was supposedly intended to 'represent their personality'. This was accompanied by the performer singing an Italian song - the UK's Samantha Janus sang 'Ricordati di me' by Antonello Venditti.

The scoreboard was one of the least-seen in Eurovision history - rather than letting the viewer keep track of the scores, the director preferred to show us the presenters, the green room, the audience, the commentators, and even EBU scrutineer Frank Naef who, in his penultimate year in the role, was forced to step in to assist with announcing the points as the voting process descended into shambles.


1992

Eurovision 1992 was presented from Malmo by Lydia Cappolicchio and Harald Treutiger.

As in 1990, the contest had a mascot, a combination of a goose and a nightingale. The cartoon animal appeared at the start and end of each postcard, turning the pages of a Eurovision 'song book'. The main part of the postcards were again made up of unimaginative scenes of the competing country - the UK postcard even re-used a shot of Conwy Castle from two years earlier!

The presenters appeared between each song for the final time - this year they announced only the name of each country's conductor.


1993

The 1993 contest was the final show to be introduced by the famous Eurovision symbol.

From this year, the show's presenters no longer appeared between every song - in fact, there was only one presenter this year, Fionnuala Sweeney. The venue was the Green Glens Arena in the small town of Millstreet in County Cork.

The postcards depicted each of the performers, in various locations around Ireland. The UK's Sonia was seen exploring the Japanese Gardens in Kildare.

Former scrutineer Frank Naef, who had stood down the previous year, could be seen amongst the audience. His role was taken over this year by Christian Clausen.


1994

To mark the 40th anniversary of the Eurovision network, an entirely new version of the opening symbol was used at the start of the 1994 contest, which was loosely based on the more familiar classic symbol. It continued to be accompanied by the theme 'Te Deum', which was now halved in length.

The presenters were Cynthia Ni Mhurchu and Gerry Ryan, who hosted the contest from the Point Theatre in Dublin.

The postcards this year came in two parts - the first depicting scenes of various aspects of life in Ireland, the second showing the competing artist in a studio, linking to the theme of the first part. For example, the postcard introducing the UK had an equine theme, which was followed by Frances Ruffelle sitting on a rocking horse.

For the first time this year, the national spokespeople appeared in vision via satellite, rather than being heard down telephone lines. The scoreboard had yet to be redesigned to allow the spokeperson be seen at the same time, though.

BBC1 broadcast preview shows for the final time this year, introduced by Terry Wogan under the title Tips for Le Top.


1995

For the second year running, the Eurovision Song Contest came from the Point Theatre in Dublin. The show reverted to a single presenter, Mary Kennedy.

With it being the 40th contest, following the usual travelogue, the opening sequence included a retrospective, looking over the show's history. The postcards between the songs depicted various scenes in Ireland with activities involving the competing artists.

With the jury spokespeople again appearing in vision, the BBC's Colin Berry became the first to congratulate the hosts on a 'superbly staged show'. Eventually, they'd all be at it...


1996

After three years in Ireland, Eurovision moved to Norway in 1996, hosted from the Oslo Spektrum by Ingvild Bryn and A-ha lead singer Morten Harket.

Possibly in an attempt to modernise the contest's image, the logo prominently named the contest as 'Euro Song 96', with 'Eurovision Song Contest' in smaller type underneath. A faux widescreen effect was used during each song performance, although the graphics appeared over the top of the black bars. All other parts of the contest were presented in full-screen as usual.

The postcards came in multiple parts, and featured the competing artist in their own country, followed by scenes filmed around Norway and then the competing artist in the same location. Each postcard then concluded with a politician or dignatary sending good luck wishes to their entrant. In many cases this was a country's President or Prime Minister, but presumably John Major was busy as the UK got National Heritage secretary Virginia Bottomley in Trafalgar Square. Meanwhile, Queen Sonja of Norway was the guest of honour in the audience.

For the first time the scoreboard used virtual reality technology, with the voting sequence presented from a 'blue room' where almost everything on screen was generated using computer graphics, the only physical aspects being Ingvild Bryn herself and two podiums. This experiment was never repeated.


Next page: 1997-2001
Previous page: 1983-1989


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