Next year’s Eurovision Song Contest could be hosted in the UK, as the producers say it will not be hosted by the winners Ukraine due to security issues as a result of the Russian invasion.
In a statement on Friday, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – the alliance of public service broadcasters that runs Eurovision – said the war in Ukraine made it impossible to begin the 12 months of preparation needed for next year’s show.
The EBU said it was beginning discussions “with the BBC, as this year’s runner up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom”.
“It is our full intention that Ukraine’s win will be reflected in next year’s shows. This will be a priority for us in our discussions with the eventual hosts,” the organisation added.
In a statement, the BBC said: “We have seen the announcement from the EBU. Clearly these aren’t a set of circumstances that anyone would want.
“Following their decision, we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest,” the organisation added.
A spokesperson for Number 10 welcomed the possibility of the UK hosting the competition, pledging it would “overwhelmingly reflect Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity.”
“Ukraine’s victory in the Eurovision song contest was richly deserved and as the rightful winner the government’s firm wish has been to see next year’s contest hosted there,
“If the EBU decides the competition can’t go ahead in Ukraine we would of course welcome the opportunity to work closely with Ukraine and the BBC to host it here in the UK.
“But we would be committed to ensuring it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity, as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries.”
When asked if the government would help with the costs, the spokesperson said “we’re slightly getting ahead of ourselves in terms of the process”.
Kalush Orchestra, who performed the folk-rap song Stefania, won the song contest due to an enormous public vote in their favour – pipping the UK’s Sam Ryder, who had won the national jury vote.
Ryder received full points from the Ukrainian jury and Ukraine received full points from the British public vote.
He narrowly missed joining the likes of Katrina And The Waves and Bucks Fizz to give the UK its sixth win since 1957, but he was ecstatic about the result. “There is so much gratitude, what an experience,” he said.
Kalush Orchestra’s band members had been out on the streets fighting off Russian aggressors just weeks before taking to the stage in Turin – instead of rehearsing for the biggest performance of their lives.
They subsequently raised $900,000 (£713,000) for the country’s military by auctioning their trophy.
Kalush Orchestra sold the crystal microphone they received in a Facebook auction hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula on Sunday.
The money will be used to buy the PD-2 drone system for the Ukrainian armed forces, which includes three aircraft and a ground control station, Mr Prytula said.
The auction was accompanied by a raffle for lead singer Oleh Psiuk’s signature pink bucket hat, with tickets priced at €5 each.
Mr Prytula said the raffle had raised an extra $370,000 (£293,000) for the Ukrainian military, with more than 31,000 people from 56 countries taking part.
Following their win, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy defiantly vowed that next year’s contest will be held in Mariupol, which is currently almost entirely in Russian hands, writing on Facebook: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe. Next year, Ukraine will host Eurovision.”
Russia was excluded from the competition this year in response to its invasion of Ukraine.