The Irish presenter, comedian and actor recently ruled himself out of the role but now the beeb has confirmed that Graham Norton will take over commentary duties, from Sir Terry Wogan, for Eurovision.
The Eurovision Song Contest is famous for dodgy lyrics, crazy costumes, ‘interesting’ dance routines, bloc voting… and Terry Wogan’s commentary. The veteran BBC presenter has, in recent years, become more annoyed with the political and geographically voting that has dogged the competition.
At the end of this year’s competition, after Russia won, Wogan threatened not to return to the event until the voting situation was dealt with. Now it seems that Wogan has followed through with his statement as it has been announced by the BBC that Graham Norton will take over commentating duties at the annual event. Not so long ago, however, Norton denied any such plans to take over commentating of the event.
“I’ve had 35 wonderful years commentating on the Eurovision for radio and television. From my first, in a small music-hall in Dublin, to my last, in the huge arena in Belgrade, it has been nothing but laughter and fun. The silly songs, the spectacle, the grandiose foolishness of it all. I’ll be sad to leave it all behind, but I’ll be watching and listening, and happy to leave it in the witty hands of Graham. Let’s hope that between him and the musical brilliance of Lloyd Webber, Royaume Uni will gather its proper share of ‘Douze Points’ and bring the Grand Prix home to where it belongs.” – Sir Terry Wogan
Although Wogan is departing the contest the regulations regarding voting are being changed with the reintroduction of judging panels for each country. While the televote will still take place a panel of judges for each country will also make their own judgements on the competition. It’s hoped reintroducing the panels will combat wide-spread criticism, not just in the UK, about the current voting set-up.
“As a long time fan of the Eurovision this is an amazing job and a huge honour. Sir Terry is nothing less than legend and is an impossible act to follow but somebody must and I just couldn’t say no. I can’t wait to get to Moscow – with a combination of cheap vodka and a language barrier what could possibly go wrong?” – Graham Norton
Graham’s association with the Eurovision title began with the Eurovision Dance Contest which he has presented for the last two years. In the New Year he’ll host Your Country Needs You on BBC One – the UK public’s chance to choose the act that will perform Andrew Lloyd Webber’s specially composed song in Moscow 2009.
“Terry has enhanced viewer’s enjoyment of Eurovision for many years and I would like to thank him for all of his work on the programmes. I am delighted that Graham Norton will now be bringing his wit to bear on this iconic music event.” – Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One