‘It was an awful moment’ Radio 2 legend Ken Bruce on tough Eurovision memory

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Ken Bruce, who is best known for presenting his longstanding show on BBC Radio 2, shared a lesson he learned during his first year on the job. The presenter made a prediction ahead of one particular Eurovision Song Contest, which left listeners and his colleagues “crestfallen”.

Speaking in a new interview, the 70-year-old broadcaster recalled the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest entry Scott Fitzgerald in 1988.

Ken said that he had predicted that the Go singer was bound to secure the coveted win during the annual song contest.

The radio broadcaster, who has commented on the competition for the past 32 years, admitted things didn’t go exactly to plan.

Ken said: “In 1988 Scott Fitzgerald was our entry.

“The voting was going our way until the very end when it was whipped away from us and Celine Dion won for Switzerland. Everyone was so crestfallen.”

He continued to this week’s Radio Times: “The BBC had put champagne on ice at the hotel, and the ice melted long, long before the bottles were taken out of the bucket!

“It was just an awful moment. So after that I thought I’d never attempt to predict the winner.”

The competition champion was Switzerland with the song Ne partez pas sans moi, performed by Canadian singer Celine with Scott coming runner-up.

Despite his blunder, Ken has shared his thoughts on the UK’s 2021 entry James Newman.

The Radio 2 host is positive that the latter’s song Embers is a good choice for the show.

“It does have a very pertinent message, but I don’t think people listen to the lyrics on Eurovision at all,” Ken remarked.

“I think they go for something that’s rumpty-dumpty and jolly — or if it’s very aggressive, they might go for it.

“But maybe they will this time, for once, because it’s the right song for this year.”


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Meanwhile, ABBA’s Waterloo has been revealed as the UK public’s favourite Eurovision song following an online vote by Radio 2.

Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz came in second, Love Shine a Light by Katrina and the Waves came third, with Brotherhood of Man’s Save Your Kisses for Me in fourth, and Sandie Shaw with Puppet on a String coming fifth.

Ken presented The UK’s All-Time Eurovision Top 50 where voters were asked to select between three and 15 of their favourite Eurovision songs from the last 65 years, with the results being compiled for the show ahead of this year’s grand final.

Ken said: “Well, who’d have thought it? Waterloo comes top but as ABBA sang, ‘I feel like I win when I lose’ – a massive 18 of the Top 50 are UK songs, so well done us!”

This year’s Eurovision will take place at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam.

The show will be opened by the last winner Duncan Lawrence, who came top in 2019.

Audiences will take part in the events after the organisers got permission from the Netherlands government.

The Eurovision Song Contest Final airs tonight on BBC One at 8pm.

You can read the full interview with Ken Bruce in this week’s Radio Times – out now.

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