The wild and weird world of Eurovision
Friday 08 May 1998
The 1968 Irish entry was sung by Pat McGeegan, father of the Irish boxer, Barry McGuigan. He sang 'Chance of a Lifetime' and came fourth
Malmo, Sweden, put up a banner to welcome contestants from each participating country. However, Michael Ball, the UK entrant, was greeted with 'Welcome to Untied Kingdom'.
Russia have recorded the biggest single TV audience for the contest at 75 million - without actually having a song until1994. Their first entry was Maria "Judith" Katz, but the authorities were not keen on her winning as they we worried that they could not prepare to host such a prestigious event in 12 months.
Black Lace, of 'Agadoo' fame, where chosen to repesent the UK in the1979 Contest, after a BBC technician strike meant the regional panels of a Song For Europe could only hear and not see the contestants. This seemed to favour Black Lace, who went on to place seventh.
In 1974, the year when Abba successfully fought off Poogy from Israel and Korni from Yugoslavia, BBC's David Vine introduced Norway as 'the place where they drink Aquavit' and Spain as 'the land of the package holiday'.
Belgium's Sandra Kim was 13 when she won the 1986 contest with 'J'aime la vie'. Contestants, now, have to be 16 before appearing.
Cliff Richard's 'Congratulations' was beaten by one point in 1968, by the Spanish song with 138 'la's in it. It was sung by Massiel and suitably called 'La, la, la'.
This year's entry from Israel is the 26-year-old leggy, black-haired Dana International singing a song called 'Diva'. However, she was born Yaron Cohen and has had a sex change. Something that has enraged rabbis in her native country.
Germany's 1998 contestant is a balding and bedraggled singer called Guido Horn, with a band called Orthopaedic Stockings.
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