The Eurovision Song Contest is here in the UK. The main events, semi-finals and final, plus the other shows, happen in mid-May.

Th UK did not win last year, we came second. The Ukraine song won, for many reasons, but putting on a show there has its problems right now, so UK stepped in to host by proxy. Let’s not forget though, it’s Ukraine’s show.

The last time UK won was Katrina and the Waves, 1997. This is still one of the great ESC songs.

The BBC’s attitude has always been, it’s stupid, silly, meaningless and rather nasty and expensive crap. UK entries have been poor, or worse. And oh those foreigners… how funny they are.

The commentators the Beeb employs have always taken this line. Terry Wogan and, more recently, Graham Norton will say nasty things about any song. They make rude remarks about performers, talk over the songs and play the ‘politics’ line when other countries don’t give UK full points. They will back UK even when it is dismal beyond belief, because UK is best full stop. Brexit has been alive and well here for so long…

But the ESC is the most watched non-sport show on tv. Only The Super Bowl gets more.

But there is a lot of enthusiasm for ESC here, genuine enthusiasm. The events are being held in Liverpool, home of such pop legends as The Beatles and Ken Dodd. The venue holds roughly 11,000 people, but reconfiguring the stage and pre-allocation of seats means it is down to 6,000 or so, less than the Royal Albert Hall.

Tickets were hard to get, well no, impossible, partly because there were so few, partly because the system was just overloaded, and mainly because of the touts. Had the venue been larger, say the O2 Arena or similar that can hold 20,000 easily, they would have sold out, made more money and given more people a chance to enjoy this event. But they didn’t…

Now they are suggesting you watch it at your local cinema, if they carry it, at a cost, of course. This is targeted at groups – individuals are discouraged and would feel very out of place anyway. Fancy dress is expected. At the time of writing, we see no rules about booze, but the guess is booze will be available at a cost, a high cost, but your own will be confiscated.

The Adventurer

On the subject of ITC, I have been watching a somewhat forgotten (perhaps rightly) series called The Adventurer.

It stars American actor Gene Barry as Gene Bradley (get it?), secret agent/investigator/spy who works for some branch of the British government and who uses a cover as one of the most famous movie actors who lived. Everyone knows Gene. I mean, everyone. How he has survived as a secret agent is never explained. Gene knows everyone who is rich and famous, and has had affairs with many.

There were twenty six half hour episodes, well, after adverts it was barely 25 minutes, and comes from the early 1970s.

TV times

I don’t write that often about current tv, mainly because there’s a lot of it and it is mostly bad, or repeats of bad.

I grew up in the 1960s, when the UK had just two channels (later three), BBC and ITV.

It was a period of time when the UK produced some of the world’s greatest tv, regarded these days as classic cult tv. Many of the series are still shown on the cable channels. They were mostly, perhaps all, filmed on genuine film stock and have survived, and many have been restored and are available on box sets at reasonable prices.

Happy Xmas

You always know Xmas is here when Channel 4 in the UK broadcast The Snowman (which they have just done). So, Happy Xmas everyone, hope you got some nice presents.

On tv is Mary Poppins, Singin’ in the Rain, It’s a Wonderful Life, Dad’s Army, Morecambe and Wise, the Carry On films…


It’s amazing how many tv shows, and movies, have a core cast of exactly seven people. I just was looking at something and saw just these American series. I am sure there are many more: