The Series Producer of the BBC’s Eurovision coverage believes Sam Ryder’s participation has changed public perception of the contest.
Lee Smithurst was speaking exclusively to The Euro Trip just days after being in Amsterdam with Ryder for the Eurovision in Concert pre-party.
“I do feel like Sam has made a shift in perception here,” Smithurst said.
“I think there’s a long way to go to change the overall perception of the general public that might tune in to Eurovision once a year.
“But I just think that everyone’s hoping that if Sam can do as well as we hope at Eurovision then that can be the turning point to not have the endless conversations about politics and it’s all about Brexit.
“So it will be nice if we can get what I think is a deserved good result at Eurovision for Sam and then we can start to turn the tide in the UK.”
Smithurst also discussed the different approach the BBC took to the announcement of its participant for Eurovision this year.
Sam Ryder’s track Space Man had been commercially available for a number of weeks and had been played across BBC and commercial radio stations before it was announced as the UK’s Eurovision entry live on Radio 1’s breakfast show on March 10.
“It was nice to see how we could do it slightly differently than we’ve done before,” Smithurst said.
“Scott [Mills] had already done a lot of spot plays of Sam in the past and I think when we brought Sam to the table for Radio 1 he was already an artist they were engaging with; not just Scott but some of their other DJs had been playing Sam for a long time.
“So it felt like a natural move for them to get behind him for this project. It all fell into place with Scott leading on this.
“Scott again has always been feeding in for the last couple of months with Ben [Mawson] when he’s been sending ideas across because Scott is great that he understands the Radio 1 music world and ultimately you want Sam to be a successful music artist and you want his music to stream.”
Image credit – Parlophone Music