For the first time since 2005, it has been announced that the United Kingdom will compete in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, when it heads to Yerevan in December. The UK previously took part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest between 2003 and 2005 with ITV as the participating broadcaster.
The BBC confirmed the news today, marking their first participation in the contest. The contest will be broadcast on CBBC, BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with the UK commentators to be announced in due course. The UK previously took part in Junior Eurovision between 2003 and 2005, achieving their best result in 2004 when Cory Spedding finished as runner-up to Spain.
“The same spirit of unity that the adult contest brings”
Following the announcement of the news, Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children’s and Education, added that the broadcaster was looking forward to taking part in the contest for the first time with it set to “showcase” the talent of young artists from across Europe.
We are beyond excited to bring the Junior Eurovision Song Contest to the BBC for the first time, and to showcase the diverse young musical talent from across Europe for children and their families to discover and enjoy together.– Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children’s and Education
Hidalgo also added that the contest will “encapsulate” the same unifying feel as the adult contest, which will be hosted in the UK in 2023. The United Kingdom’s entry will be showcased alongside other entries from across Europe, with 16 other countries confirmed to date.
This junior version of Eurovision will undoubtedly encapsulate the same spirit of unity that the adult contest brings, reflecting the heart of what CBBC is all about, an inclusive channel that celebrates the diversity and creativity in all children. I can’t wait to unveil our own musical talent who will proudly represent the UK.– Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children’s and Education
The selection of the UK’s entry is currently underway and is being led by the BBC’s children’s entertainment channel CBBC along with BBC Studios Entertainment and Music. The UK’s act, along with the commentators for the contest, will be announced in due course.
United Kingdom at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest
One of the sixteen nations to take part in the first contest, the United Kingdom were represented by ITV between 2003 and 2005. Tom Morley became the first British representative in 2003 with “My Song for the World”, finishing in third place. In 2004, Cory Spedding brought the UK their best result to date with a second place finish for “The Best is Yet to Come”. The UK were also due to host the 2004 contest though, due to financial reasons, the contest was instead held in Lillehammer.
The UK dropped out of the top three in 2005 with Joni Fuller finishing in 14th place. Following their poor result and falling viewing figures, the UK did not return to the contest in 2006. The UK’s return to the contest has been rumoured over the past few years. Earlier this year, Martin Österdahl confirmed that the EBU were working hard to get all the “Big Five” members taking part in Junior Eurovision.
During the UK’s absence, Wales took part in the contest for two years in 2018 and 2019. Manw became Wales’ first representative in 2018 with “Perta”, while Erin Mai represented Wales in 2019 with “Calon yn Curo”. Wales withdrew from the contest in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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