An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

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Rhys Benjamin
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An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:31 pm

I don't post on here very often, but I thought that I may share this here too:
[ADDRESSES ETC]

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

QUALITY AND SELECTION PROCESS OF THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST

I am writing to complain over the on-screen attitude by Scott Mills, Ana Matronic, and Graham Norton towards the Eurovision Song Contest, the poor quality of the BBC’s selection process, and the poor quality of the ‘internally chosen’ entrants. As a Eurovision Song Contest fan, I find it insulting that the BBC encourages us to laugh and make fun of the Eurovision Song Contest, whilst clearly trying not to win. I find this unacceptable when the UK has such a good historic record at the Eurovision Song Contest. Since 2011, the BBC has not let the public have any say in the United Kingdom’s contestant for the Eurovision Song Contest and no choice of song since 2008.

Firstly, the BBC encourage the viewing public in the United Kingdom to have ‘Eurovision parties’ and ‘drinking games’, whereupon the viewer is encouraged by commentator Graham Norton for the Grand Final (and to a lesser extent by Scott Mills and Ana Matronic for the Semi Finals) to drink a shot of alcohol every time there is a ‘gimmick’ or pyrotechnic on stage. This mocks the Eurovision Song Contest, which was set up to promote peace across a post-war Europe, and mocking another country is not in the contest’s intentions. This is also hypocritical of the BBC, as countless times on other programmes the viewer is force-fed information to discourage the consumption of alcohol. In addition, it is clear to the viewer that Matronic, Mills, and Norton do not want to win the contest, as they do not take the contest seriously and they often cheer on other artists. For example, in 2013, Matronic supported the Montenegrin entry, “Igranka”, and Norton supported the Irish entry, “Only Love Survives”. I understand that the BBC is supposed to be impartial, but this does not stop the sports presenters cheering on British athletes, such as Ben Edwards’s favouritism of Lewis Hamilton and Max Chilton and David Coulthard’s favouritism of Paul di Resta. There is, therefore, a serious lack of support for the United Kingdom’s entries in the Eurovision Song Contest from the BBC. It would also be beneficial if the Facebook and Twitter accounts (“BBC Eurovision” and “@BBCEurovision”) were used all year, as per the official European Broadcasting Union accounts on Facebook and Twitter (“Eurovision Song Contest” and “@Eurovision”). The BBC Eurovision website should also be regularly updated during the ‘off-season’.

Secondly, the BBC has not given the viewer any input for three consecutive years (at the time of writing) over who will represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest. In addition, the viewer has not had any input over song choice since 2008. The BBC laid too much of the decision to one particular individual when the BBC could be bothered to put together a proper selection process with multiple heats and semi finals in recent times: Sir Terry Wogan in 2008, Lord Lloyd Webber in 2009. In 2008, Sir Terry Wogan elected to keep in Andy Abraham after being rejected by the viewing public in his first heat. Abraham eventually went on to represent the United Kingdom and finished last. In 2009, Lord Lloyd Webber elected to keep in Jade Ewen in the Semi Finals of Eurovision: Your Country Needs You!, despite being rejected by the public. Lord Lloyd Webber later regretted his decision, saying that if the United Kingdom had picked a different artist, then ‘we [the United Kingdom] could have come second’. Prior to 2008 (and in 2010), the selection process was often shown on one night only, and prior to 2004, with a cheap Semi Final on BBC Radio 2. I would suggest that BBC Radio 1 have some input in Eurovision: Your Country Needs You! or some form of selection show with multiple heats and Semi Finals (such as Melodifestivalen), as the target audience of BBC Radio 2 is different to the vast majority of European voters, whereas the target audience of BBC Radio 1 is rather similar.

Lastly, the BBC does not appreciate that sending a big name does not guarantee success, as was shown with the failure of Engelbert Humperdinck in 2012 and relative failures of Blue in 2011 and Bonnie Tyler in 2013. Bonnie Tyler may be my favourite musical artist, but the song just wasn’t good enough at the end of the day (I preferred the entry from San Marino, “Crisalide (Vola)”, which did not make it through the Semi Finals). In addition, the BBC hammers home the ‘political’ aspect to the viewer, despite the fact that rule changes since 2009 make the contest less political, and it is possible for countries such as Germany to win, as they did in 2010, by a significant margin. The BBC should not be wilfully blind to Germany winning and say that politics is why the United Kingdom cannot win. If anything, the United Kingdom enjoys a political advantage from Ireland every year, whereas Germany does not have any voting ‘partners’ or blocs. This shows that the United Kingdom can win the contest. It would also not be too expensive; it would cost a fraction of the BBC’s budget. According to The Guardian, the BBC spends £2,975,000,000 per year. The Eurovision Song Contest 2013 cost Swedish television company SVT, when converted to GBP, £12,390,000. This was easily regained by SVT, as the Eurovision Song Contest brought in advertising and ticketing revenue, when converted to GBP, of £107,905,600. This shows that the United Kingdom, with a far bigger economy and budget than Sweden, can afford to host the contest.

I hope that the United Kingdom can be restored, on a regular basis, to its former Eurovision Song Contest glory.

Yours Faithfully,

RHYS BENJAMIN
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Mark Deeks
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:10 pm

They might not spot it on a Channel 4 forum, is all I'm thinking.
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:40 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:They might not spot it on a Channel 4 forum, is all I'm thinking.
I did send it directly, but as it says "an open letter", I thought you lot might like a read.
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An Open Letter to Rhys Benjamin

Post by Andy Platt » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:14 pm

Nobody cares mate

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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Eoin Monaghan » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:02 pm

Wow.

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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:08 pm

The BBC have received my letter and have passed it on...
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:29 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:The BBC have received my letter and have passed it on...
To refuse disposal?

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Rhys Benjamin
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:37 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Rhys Benjamin wrote:The BBC have received my letter and have passed it on...
To refuse disposal?
... to the
relevant department
.
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Mark Deeks » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:32 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Rhys Benjamin wrote:The BBC have received my letter and have passed it on...
To refuse disposal?

Image
Eoin Monaghan wrote:
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:13 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Rhys Benjamin wrote:The BBC have received my letter and have passed it on...
To refuse disposal?
... to the
relevant department
.
So yes.

Liam Tiernan
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Liam Tiernan » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:37 pm

Here's why the UK will never win Eurovision. Your only regular votes are us and Malta.

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Rhys Benjamin
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:39 pm

Liam Tiernan wrote:Here's why the UK will never win Eurovision. Your only regular votes are us and Malta.
So, hold on. We send the best song on earth. We get 12 points from Ireland and Malta and 10 points from the rest. In a field of 40 countries, that gives us 394 points (higher than Rybak). We can - and we will - win Eurovision again.
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Rhys Benjamin
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:07 pm

Well, this sucks:
Dear Mr Benjamin

Reference XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXXX

Thanks for contacting us.

While I appreciate the strength of your concerns, in order to make our complaints process more efficient the timeframe for making complaints about programmes is within 30 working days of the transmission or event on BBC channels or services. Due to the volume, range and complexity of complaints we receive, it's important for effective complaints handling that the BBC has a simple, clear and easily accessible complaints procedure to ensure that our limited resources are used wisely. The BBC Complaints process is outlined in full at the following link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml#code.

Thanks again for taking the time to get in touch.

Kind Regards

Kevin Freeburn
BBC Complaints
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints
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Gavin Chipper
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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:41 pm

Send it again as a suggestion rather than a complaint. You only need change a couple of words.

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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Martin Bishop » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:50 pm

Only just saw this here. While some of your points are good, I think it's naive to expect the BBC to listen.

It's massively inaccurate, however, to suggest the BBC don't cheer on their own act. Graham Norton was very nice about Bonnie this year. All the publicity before the show is now centred on how our representative will do (especially now it's a big name) and as the points come in, there's as big a focus on whether we get one point from Albania as there is on who's in the lead. In that context, it's perfectly fine for Ana Matronic to appreciate Montenegro's mad brilliance; the viewers have to vote for our competitors after all. The last thing I'd want is for the commentators to give nothing but a dispassionate listing of biographical details of the performers. It's an entertainment show and if someone does something amazing, the commentators should be able to say "wow".

You are, however, right to point out that if Germany can go from keeping us company at the bottom of the table to a win followed by consecutive top-tens, then so can the UK.

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Re: An open letter to the BBC regarding Eurovision

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:36 pm

An unexpected twist:

Points of View have now taken me up on this. I said that it was inappropriate to quote the '30 days' rule when, on the BBC website, it never says that you HAVE to complain within 30 days, just that you SHOULD. When I wrote it, San Marino and F.Y.R. Macedonia had chosen their artists for 2014. It also wasn't complaining about 2013 specifically.
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