In recent years, the United Kingdom have been something of a laughing stock when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest. The land that gave us Mary Poppins and Fish n Chips have finished bottom of the leader board on three occasions since 2003 and famously recorded nul points that same year, but it hasn’t always been that bad for the UK.
In fact, the UK has won the competition five times since itsinception in 1956, making them the third most successful nation in the competition’s history. This year, the UK will be represented by Michael Rice – who’ll be hoping to upset the Eurovision odds and steer the UK to a sixth victory. If the 21-year-old is successful in Tel Aviv, he’ll be joining thisillustrious list of previous winners.
Sandie Shaw – Puppet on a String – 1967
The UK’s first-ever win at the Eurovision Song Contest came in 1967, with Sandie Shaw’s Puppet on a String taking the honours over Ireland (second-place) and France (in third). At the time, the UK recorded one of the largest winning margins in the competition’s history which saw them have over doublethe amount of points than the runner-up.
Lulu – Boom Bang-a-Bang – 1969 (tied)
Just two years after their first success, the UK were celebrating once again but the 14th edition of the competition was shared amongst four nations. France, Netherlands and Spain all tied with the UK on 18 points, but there were no rules in place at the time to determine a single winner. Lulu represented the UK with Boom Bang-a-Bang but the competition rules were changed for future contests to avoid joint-winners.
Brotherhood of Man- Save Your Kisses for Me – 1976
The UK’s third victory came courtesy of Brotherhood of Man’s Save Your Kisses for Me, which amassed a whopping 164 points. The band were made up of Martin Lee, Lee Sheridan, Nicky Stevens and Sandra Stevens; and they enjoyed much success throughout the 1970s. Alongside their Eurovision win, Brotherhood of Man recorded three number one hits in the UK and are still active today.
Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up – 1981
Bucks Fizz recorded the UK’s fourth Eurovision win as the pop group pipped Germany by just four points, singing Making Up Your Mind accompanied by a catchy dance routine. Perhaps the most notable facet to the UK’s 1981 win was that the band were only formed earlier in the year, specifically for the contest. The group were made up of four vocalists – Bobby G, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston – but their line-up has changed numerous times over the years.
Katrina and the Waves – Love, Shines a Light – 1997
It’s been 22 years since the UK’s last win and it certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry by Eurovision fans, as Katrina and the Waves recorded an impressive 227 points to seal the victory. The British-American rock band were best known for 1985 hit Walking on Sunshine but it was Love Shine a Lightthat saw them clinch the Eurovision Song Contest. The UK’s win was the second they’ve recorded on Irish soil after Bucks Fizz’s success 16 years previous.