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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

Celebrating the Eurovision Song Contest in Harrogate

Today August 1st is Yorkshire Day! What is Yorkshire Day you say? Well it's a day dedicated in celebrating the historic English county of Yorkshire. It was first celebrated in 1975 by the Yorkshire Ridings Society. The date coincides with two important events, the day when Yorkshire Soldiers fought in the 1759 Battle of Minden in Germany and the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire, which occurred in 1834 and was campaigned by Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce.

In celebration of this momentous day we look back at a time when the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate had the honour of hosting the 27th Eurovision Song Contest in 1982. It was the UK’s fourth time hosting the Contest all thanks to that narrow win by Bucks Fizz where in the previous year their performance of “Making Your Mind Up” beat Germany by just four points!

Where is Harrogate?

The Contest actually began with the question “Where is Harrogate?” overlaid on a map of Europe and shown in every language of each competing country, even shown in Irish “Cá bhfuil Harrogate?”. The rather informative introduction also showed footage of Harrogate’s spa waters, shopping precincts, gardens and happy Yorkshire folk enjoying their day.

A brand spanking new venue and dashing audience

It was held in a newly opened 2000- seat auditorium within the Harrogate International Centre. The venue, now known as the Harrogate Convention Centre was well suited for this big musical gala event. Catering for all the gentlemen and women dressed respectively in their tuxedos and evening gowns, patiently waiting for the conductors and performers to entertain them. Eurovision has certainly come a long way…

The lovely host

The Contest was hosted by the lovely Jan Leeming, who was one the best known newsreaders at the BBC. She wore a stunning sparkling blue dress with a woven blue head band. She spoke eloquently in English and French. As it was the norm in old school Eurovision during the voting procedure, Jan translated in French each country’s spokespersons’ voting results from 1 to 12 points. The image of her reading up at the huge Eurovision scoreboard in the auditorium looks rather iconic now.

British love birds

The UK duo, Sally Ann Triplett and Stephen Fischer, known collectively in the Contest as Bardo, belted out their pop dance number “One Step Further”. They had a lot riding on them entering the Contest as hot favourites. The couple, who were in a relationship at the time, were very much in love, so much so to rival the affection we saw between Slovenia’s 2019 performers Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl in Tel Aviv! In the postcard footage they looked at each other very affectionately, with arms locked. Unfortunately, Bardo’s on stage chemistry wasn’t enough to win the Contest, finishing at 7th place.

Null points for that drum beat!

For the third time ever in Finnish Eurovision history Finland’s entry finished last, with zero points. Kojo’s rock song “Nuku pommiin” wasn’t well received. Though we think it didn’t deserve a last place of null points, with an infectious build up to that drum beat in the chorus, and the band all dressed in black tuxedos and bowler hats, with the lead singer all clad in a striking red suit, it is definitely not something you would forget! But, the bleak lyrics of the song which suggests that the best way of avoiding a nuclear crisis is to sleep through it may have sealed its fate.

The Greek goddess

The Cypriot-Greek Anna Vishy, as she was known in the 1982, sung her self penned pop song “Mono i agapi”, meaning ‘only love’, looking like a Greek goddess on the stage. She previously performed in the Eurovision Song Contest 1980 for Greece as Anna Vissi and The Epikouri with the song “Autostop”. In this Contest she received Cyprus’ best result at 5th place which will remain unbeaten until 2018 when Eleni Foureira came in as runner up for Cyprus with her epic performance of “Fuego”. Anna Vissi would go on to return to the Contest for the third time in 2006, representing the host nation Greece with her self-penned power ballad “Everything”, which featured at number one in our top 10 Best Host Nation Songs article.

Catchy Belgian Eurovision

I feel like if you wanted to show someone what Eurovision was like in the previous decades this catchy positive number “Si tu aimes ma musique” would be the performance you would show them. The Dutch singer, Stella, was very familiar with Eurovision having previously performed for the Netherlands in 1970 as part of Hearts of Soul, and in 1977 as part of Dream Express for Belgium. Her performance happens to be only the eighth song in Eurovision history to that date, and third non-winner, to receive points from every other participating country.

Lai lai lai lai…. la la lai lai lai….

Israel didn’t disappoint with Avi Toledano and his energetic back up singers/dancers busting out their iconic Israeli choreography which they were well known for in Eurovision. Avi’s up-tempo song, “Hora”, which is a traditional circle dance, is about the joy he feels in seeing his country and dancing the Hora. Their big energetic performance got them a runner up place.

A big win for peace!

The biggest audience gasp of the night was when the Austrian spokesperson announced that the Austrian jury gave Germany one point, but Nicole’s song “Ein bißchen Frieden” which calls for world peace was the big favourite of the night receiving 12 points from eight countries. It was Germany’s first win having competed in every year since the beginning of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. At the time her win was the biggest difference in points between 1st and 2nd place. After being crowned she sung the winning song at the end of the show in English, French, Dutch and German. Nicole had huge chart success with her song, releasing it in all the four languages from her Contest performance reaching the top of the charts across Europe in every territory it was released.

Some 33 years later in 2015 Nicole would go on to sing her winning song live on BBC’s celebration show “Eurovision Song Contest’s Greatest Hits” which celebrated Eurovision’s 60th birthday.

Overall final scoreboard:

  1. Germany - Nicole “Ein bißchen Frieden” - 161 points WINNER

  2. Israel - Avi Toledano “Hora” - 100 points

  3. Switzerland - Arlette Zola “Amour on t’aime” - 97 points

  4. Belgium - Stella “Si tu aimes ma musique” - 96 points

  5. Cyprus - Anna Vishy “Mono i agapi” - 85 points

  6. Luxembourg - Svetlana “Cours après le temps” - 78 points

  7. United Kingdom - Bardo “One Step Further” - 76 points

  8. Sweden - Chips “Dag efter dag” - 67 points

  9. Austria - Mess “Sonntag” - 57 points

  10. Spain - Lucía “Él” - 52 points

  11. Ireland - The Duskeys “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” - 49 points

  12. Norway - Jahn Teigen & Anita Skorgan “Adieu” - 40 points

  13. Portugal - Doce “Bem bom” - 32 points

  14. Yugoslavia - Aska “Halo, halo” 21 points

  15. Turkey - Neco “Hani?” - 20 points

  16. Netherlands - Bill van Dijk “Jij en ik” - 8 points

  17. Denmark - Brixx “Video, Video” - 5 points

  18. Finland - Kojo “Nuku pommiin” - 0 points

Have we missed any of your favourites from the Eurovision Song Contest 1982? Let us know which performance was memorable or a stand out to you.


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