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Wogan to Step Down From Eurovision

Posted on August 13, 2008
Filed Under Multimedia, Politics |

The hints have been there for a while, but with William Hill stopping taking bets on “Terry Wogan to not host Eurovision 2009,” I think it’s fair to say that it is time for Wogan to step down from Eurovision commentating duties. He once gave a piece of advice to someone starting to commentate for the first time (I think it was one of the Scandanavian countries)… Paraphrasing the exact quote, but “If it looks like a duck, the audience can see it’s a duck. If you don’t say it’s a duck, the audience won’t be with you.”

The problem is that Wogan now not only says it’s a duck, but then critisises the duck for looking terrible and being something that’s not the exepcted norm, and the country should be ashamed. There’s a fine line between enjoying the moment, and a public beheading. I think Wogan is veering towards the latter.

He’s also fallen into the trap of the myth of the block voting deciding the winner, an entire countries phone voting being bought by another country, and that the best songs don’t win (see here for my counter-claims refuting the block vote and the best song argument).

My biggest worry, from a UK perspective, is who the BBC put in his place. I’m not going to look at betting odds here, because there’s too much variance in the BBC to decide this, but you have to wonder if they will go down the easy “let’s take the mickey” routine that Wogan has practiced over the last few years (cf Jonathon Ross, or any ‘named comic’); to emphasis the so-called camp elements with Graham Norton - although how the last three winners (Ruissian solo singer Dima Bilan, the Serbian pocket dynamo of Marija Serifovi, and Finnish hard rockers Lordi) fit in with camp I don’t know; or simply plonk in another Irishman (is Eammon Holmes really being considered?)

If I had to choose from the available pool at the BBC, I’d have to put my hat (rather gingerly) on Paddy O’Connell getting the gig. Partly because he’s Irish, partly because he has the touch of the “this is all rather silly” without hitting the bitterness of Wogan, but mainly because he did a good job on commentating on the Semi-Finals for BBC3 this year.

Don’t get me wrong, Wogan will be missed - I’ve not had a Eurovision without him - but if he’s going to move on, then there needs to be a serious brainstorming meeting at the BBC on how they handle Eurovision, from picking the host, to the presentation on TV, to the host, and how it is promoted. The choice of the host is going to let Eurovision spread it’s wings even more, or have them clipped by a UK that is percieved to not understanding why ‘Jonny Foreginer’ likes funny songs. Someone needs to take control of Eurovision, stop treating it like a burden, and realise that the viewing figures are as strong as your flagship programs.

Mr Director General of the BBC [Mark Thompson], my contact details are here.


2 Responses to “Wogan to Step Down From Eurovision”

  1. Jim Hughes on August 15th, 2008 11:49

    Ewan, what happened to your feed? I only now see excerpts of your posts, and frankly that’s just a waste of my time.

    Please bring back a full content feed or you’ll be losing another reader.

  2. Ewan Spence on August 15th, 2008 21:57

    Good question, I have no idea how the setting tweaked to the other… anyway flipped back now, no evil plan, just tech snafu.

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