St Andrew's Day is celebrated on the 30th of November. St Andrew is the the patron saint of Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. The day is best known as Scotland's national day and has been a bank holiday in the country since 2006. On this day of celebration we look at the contribution that Scotland has made to the Eurovision Song Contest.
Scotland has never entered the Eurovision Song Contest but has been represented as part of the United Kingdom. The BBC is the national broadcaster for the UK and covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The BBC has continued to have the exclusive right to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Scotland has long made its presence felt at the Eurovision Song Contest though, and even hosted the event in 1972.
Kenneth McKellar was the first Scottish performer to represent the UK in 1966. He performed his entry, A Man Without Love, in a kilt in Luxembourg however his efforts were not appreciated by the juries and he finished ninth in a field of 18 participants. Glasgow-born Lulu triumphed in Madrid though in 1969 with Boom Bang-A-Bang which went on to become a huge hit for her and an all-time Eurovision classic.
When the BBC stepped in to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972 a venue outside of London was chosen for the first time. Edinburgh's Usher Hall played host to the 17th edition of the contest which was broadcast live to Asia for the first time. It also was the first year that a video wall was used to present song titles and artists.
In 1987 Richard Peebles, also know as Rikki, flew the flag for the UK in Brussels with Only The Light. In a nod to his Scottish identity, the singer wore a tartan scarf which was attached to his jacket. The entry finished 13th on the night which was the worst placing for the UK at that time. Another Scottish singer, Scott Fitzgerald, represented the UK the following year. Scott, born in Glasgow, performed Go finishing in second place, just one point behind Switzerland's Céline Dion. Scott has fond memories of his time at the Eurovision Song Contest and following the voting he told a documentary film crew that "the best, most professional lady won".
Scottish singers have also gone on to represent countries other that the UK. In 1996 Scottish singer Karen Matheson, lead singer of the group Capercaillie, represented France as part of the group L'Héritage des Celtes. They performed the song Diwanit Bugale in Breton, a Celtic language spoken in Brittany.
A Song for Scotland?
Over the years there have been several calls for Scotland to have its own entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. Alyn Smith, a Scottish National Party member of the European Parliament, has even lobbied for this. The EBU followed the initiative with "great interest" although to date, a separate Scottish entry has yet to emerge.
In late 2013 the Scottish Government published Scotland's Future, a white paper which set out the case for independence. Within this document it was proposed that a Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS) would be set up, which would apply to join the EBU and participate in the Eurovision Song Contest:
The SBS would seek membership of the EBU and would be an active and constructive partner in the organisation. As part of this participation, we would envisage the SBS engaging with some of the EBU competitions, including Scottish entries in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The United Kingdom has confirmed its participation in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Scotland has shown that just because a country does not participate in its own right, it can still make a meaningful contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest.
To all celebrating today, we wish you a happy St Andrew's Day!