What would Eurovision be without the UK’s iconic commentary?

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For the British public, Eurovision would be nothing without our dry and witty hosts. Sir Terry Wogan started off this trend in 1973, although he didn’t become a permanent fixture until 1980. From then, Wogan provided scathing critiques of the acts, and kept us roaring with laughter throughout each feature length final, even after the Eurovision winner had been crowned. The Dublin-born broadcaster, who is sadly no longer with us, supplied his commentary for a whopping 35 years, before handing over the reins to talk show host Graham Norton in 2008.

To give you an idea of the how iconic Sir Terry Wogan really was, here’s some of our favourite one-liners from his time covering Eurovision:

When Finland hosted Eurovision in 2007:

“Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? Actually, I do, I’ve seen the rehearsals.”

On Malta’s 2006 entry:

“You’ve got four dancers, for whom modern dance stopped about 30 years ago.”

On Denmark’s hosts in 2001 (which got him in hot water, and the BBC were forced to later apologise):

“Natasja and Soren…or as we know them, The Little Mermaid and Dr. Death.”

On Belgium’s 2003 entry:

“They’ve got four languages in Belgium…and they’re singing in an imaginary one. The very essence of Eurovision.”

And, in 2008:

“I love the Eurovision Song Contest and it will continue long after I’m gone. Just please don’t ask me to take it seriously.”

After Wogan resigned from his role as a professional mickey-taker for the Eurovision Song Contest, the BBC were left with a rather considerable hole in their coverage of the event. But luckily, not for long, as Graham Norton soon took over the role, making his debut at the 54th contest which took place at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, in 2009.

Understandably, there were fears that the presenter wouldn’t be able to fill Wogan’s footsteps, but these were soon unfounded as Norton received positive reviews from the British press.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our current King of Eurovision’s best one-liners:

On Albania’s 2015 entry:

“Okay…that’s three minutes we’ll never get back, but look at it this way: We’ll never have to hear that song again.”

Revisiting Albania’s efforts in 2012:

“She’s a devoted experimental Jazz musician. She can do extraordinary things with her voice…not pleasant things, but extraordinary.”

On Slovenia’s experimental 2018 entry:

“I liked the bit when she stopped the music.”

On Italy’s 2017 performance:

“If you’re going to get someone to dress as a gorilla, at least get a decent outfit. That looks like a couple of old car seats sewn together.”

Ah, wise words from Norton there. Afterall, we are a nation which prides ourselves on having a sense of humour – the rest of the world might just not understand it!

With the 2021 Eurovision betting odds starting to come together and point towards this year’s worthy winner, you’ll be pleased to hear that Graham Norton will be back as the host of the UK’s coverage, alongside presenter Rylan Clark-Neal who will make his comments from London. Norton will fly out to Rotterdam, this year’s hosting country, and dish out all the gossip on each hopeful act. We can’t wait!

We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with Betfair. For more articles, please pay a visit to our lifestyle page.

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