2019 Result Prompted BBC To Scrap National Final

Speaking on the latest episode of The Euro Trip Podcast, Lee Smithurst, Series Producer of the BBC’s Eurovision coverage, has revealed the UK’s poor result in Tel Aviv prompted the broadcaster to scrap their national selection show.

In a feature-length interview with Lee, he revealed the decision was made after Michael Rice’s “Bigger Than Us” finished last, scoring just 11 points in the Grand Final. Speaking of reverting back to an internal selection he said…

“It’s more about the songs you can attract. It’s a bit like what happened with the Cesar Sampson song [Nobody But You] in 2018 – it was in the British selection but when Austria said that they would have it in an internal selection and it would go to Eurovision, of course you would put it in the Austrian selection.

“After Michael didn’t do so well in Tel Aviv, it was more about how we could attract the best British songwriters and the best talent to take part.”

While it has yet to be confirmed whether the BBC will again work with record label BMG on their 2021 entry, Lee also went on to discuss the relationship between them, and how they worked together on the selection of James Newman’s “My Last Breath” in 2020.

“It’s a collaborative effort, it was BMG’s remit to go and find the artist and the song but the BBC had the final sign-off. Myself and Mel Balac (Creative Director for BBC Studios) every couple of weeks were on a group call to be updated with what’s happening.”

“They presented several different artists of who might be interested, and James ticked all of the boxes.”

“He wrote several different song that we all listened to and My Last Breath was everyone’s favourite. There wasn’t ever a conversation where it wasn’t going to be that song.”

While Lee refused to be drawn on whether James Newman would again represent the UK in 2021, he did however confirm we can expect to hear news from the BBC early next year.

Image Credit: BBC

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