By Lea Pachta
Most British viewers would agree that watching Eurovision is not high on their priority list. But Britain is in the finals this year and surprisingly not apathetic about it! Terry Wogan, television broadcaster and Eurovision commentator explained to MediaGuardian.co.uk in an interview: “Everybody in the UK knows it’s rubbish. I think I have brought the British public along with me and we now share an interest in it.” Terry Wogan is now handing over his role to Graham Norton, who will be commentating tomorrow in Moscow in the finals.
It looks like this year Great Britain is taking the Eurovision more seriously than ever before. Andrew Lloyd Webber, famous author of ‘Cats’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ has been appointed for the job. Britain always had the problem of securing votes. One of the most common complaints was that because the UK is an island, it has no immediate neighbours who it can ‘swap’ votes with. This year, Andrew Lloyd Webber went as far as to ask Russian Prime Minister for an interview, in which he urged the Russian viewers to vote for the UK.
Jade Ewen, Britain’s entry, told MediaGuardian.co.uk explained: “I have had a great response to the song. In all the countries I visited, they said they want us to do well. I have not had a bad experience. Everybody has been really positive and they are happy and relieved we are finally taking it seriously. I have been really enjoying the build-up. I expect to be in the top five and I want to be number one.”
The investment in this year’s Eurovision is significant, making it one of the most expensive and elaborate shows in Eurovision history. The stage alone, at the Olympiysky Stadium was reported to have cost some $42 million to build. Russians are welcoming the positive business impact the Eurovision is having on the country, as around 5000 foreign visitors are expected to travel to Moscow this week and 19,000 are expected to come to attend the event. However, the cost of hosting the Eurovision in Moscow is estimated at $42 million according to Valery Vinogradov in his interview with Vedomosti, and will therefore be partially funded by the Government. “It is the external political effect, not revenue that matters” admitted a European Broadcasting Union (EBU) official.