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 1997-2001; the other pages in this section cover 1956-1966, 1967-1975, 1976-1982, 1983-1989, 1990-1996, 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 1997-2001.


1997

Eurovision 1997 was held in Ireland for the fourth time this decade, returning to The Point in Dublin for the third time. Boyzone singer Ronan Keating co-hosted with Carrie Crowley.

The postcards depicted scenes of life in Ireland, followed by arty shots of the upcoming contestants recorded in a studio.

A major change this year saw five countries, including the UK, adopt telephone voting, rather than using a jury. In order to refresh viewers' memories, a recap of all the songs appeared for the first time before the interval act.

After last year's experiment with a virtual scoreboard, this year the contest returned to a similar format scoreboard to that seen when Ireland last hosted the contest. UK spokesperson Colin Berry announced that nearly a quarter of a million votes had been received in the UK.

The EBU's Marie-Claire Vionnet was the contest's scrutineer for the only time this year.


1998

The 1998 contest was held in the UK for the last time to date, being held at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. Ulrika Jonsson hosted the show with Terry Wogan, who also commentated for the BBC as usual, the only time one person has taken both roles in the same show. Radio 2 commentator Ken Bruce was also seen in vision, as it was his job to announce the UK's points this year in place of Colin Berry.

The postcards were filmed in various locations across the UK. They were intended to present a perhaps cliched image of traditional UK life updated into a more contemporary equivalent, and each culminated in the competing country's flags formed in various unexpected and imaginative ways.

An innovation this year was the introduction of a DOG (Digitally Originated Graphic/Digital On-Screen Graphic) which displayed the country's name at the bottom left-hand side of the screen throughout each performing song.

This year all but four countries' scores came from a public televote. BBC Resources were responsible for the scoreboard which used icons featuring points 1-12 which flew across the board and onto the appropriate country when the points were announced. For some rounds of voting, however, the icons instead flew onto the country on a map of Europe.

Having previously taken on the role in 1996, Christine Marchal-Ortiz returned as the EBU's scrutineer for the first of five consecutive years.


1999

Eurovision returned to the International Convention Center in Jerusalem in 1999, twenty years after the contest had last been held at the venue. For the first time, there were three presenters - Yigal Ravid, Sigal Shachmon and Dafna Dekel. The latter had represented Israel in 1992.

This year saw a number of changes to the contest - the orchestra was dropped, and entries could once again be sung in any language. It was also the first time there was a scheduled commercial break, which took place between songs 12 and 13. For broadcasters not taking commercials, the two female hosts performed a song, inviting audience members, viewers and even commentators to 'raise a glass to life'. Commercial breaks in later years have mainly been filled with trips to the green room.

The postcards featured various filmed and animated vignettes inspired by classical paintings of biblical scenes and historical events by Israeli artists.

Having impressed contest organisers last year, BBC Resources were once again responsible for the scoreboard, hence the similar layout to that seen in 1998.

A CD featuring the studio versions of the songs was released for the first time, although this year four of the songs were omitted.


2000

Kattis Ahlstrom and Anders Lundin hosted the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest from the Globe Arena in Stockholm.

The postcards were intended to 'present the Swedish capital, indicating through big and small phenomena the competing country's presence'. The UK's postcard featured British football manager Stuart Baxter, who at the time was managing the team AIK Stockholm.

The 'Big Four' rule came into effect this year, guaranteeing a place in the Eurovision final for the UK, France, Spain and Germany every year, due to those countries' broadcasters being the greatest financial contributors to the EBU.


2001

2001's contest took place at the Copenhagen's Parken Stadium - with capacity for 35,000 people, it remains the largest ever venue for the contest, and has often been criticised for being too big for the contest. The hosts were Soren Pilmark and Natasja Crone (aka Dr Death and the Tooth Fairy).

This was the last contest to run for less than three hours, though at 2 hours 59 minutes, only just!

The postcards were filmed in various locations around Denmark. The UK's featured a street artist in Copenhagen doing a trick with a bowler hat.

Now what's Slovenian spokesperson Mojca Mavec up to there on the scoreboard? Only the small number of viewers who had seen BBC Choice's topical comedy show The RDA the previous week would know...


Next page: 2002-2005
Previous page: 1990-1996


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