THE Eurovision Song Contest takes place this weekend with a record 25 countries taking part. King of the blarney, Terry Wogan, is on home turf this time, hosting the show from Ireland. The Candid Caller asked: can we have your marks, please, for the contest's entertainment value?

Joyce Ireland of Belfast: 'I give it 4. Abba's 'Waterloo' was the best song to come out of it. I'm not a great fan nowadays but I wouldn't want to see the contest scratched, it's part of our tradition.'

Dorothy Spain of Liverpool: 'The full 10. I enjoy the competition very much and always watch it. I liked Lulu's song 'Boom Bang a Bang' best and this year I think Sonia's got a good chance of winning for us.'

Ronald Germany of Birmingham: 'I give it 7 because it's got a certain entertainment value. But I really haven't taken enough interest in it to have any favourites from over the years and won't be watching it on Saturday. I'm already doing something else.'

Jean Holland of Norwich: 'I'm one of that strange breed of people who don't have a television set so I haven't watched it for years. But even when I did I'd have only given it 2 points.'

Martin France of Eastbourne: 'Just 1 point. I rarely watch it these days. The last time I knew any of the candidates was when Cliff Richard was singing in it. If the show was cancelled I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.'

Anne Denmark of Glasgow: 'It deserves 7. I follow it avidly and my favourite song was Johnny Logan's 'What's Another Year'. I'm Irish and this year I'm hoping the Irish entry wins.'

Terry Wogan: 'I've been doing it for 300 years and I would give it 10 because it's been entertaining for me.

'Providing you accept it for what it is and put aside your prejudices, like wanting good musical quality, it has a very high entertainment value. The best song ever was Abba's 'Waterloo' and my favourite competitor was Jan Tigent from Norway, who scored no points at all. He was the first person to earn 'nul points' for Norway (they managed it the next year as well) and he carved himself a huge career in Europe on the basis of having won nothing.

'I always say that anyone who criticises the Eurovision Song Contest on the basis of mediocrity has missed the point. The point is its mediocrity - mediocrity taken to a tremendously low level.'