My relationship with Eurovision has always been ambivalent. There were so many bad memories as well as good ones associated with it... Particularly as the BBC of the time presented their cold face of moral rectitude in censuring me for being named in the divorce case of someone I believed I was engaged to and who turned out to already have a wife. Rolf Harris, his manager, his director and the BBC conspired to have me removed from his TV show in which I was presenting the six Eurovision songs to the viewers. They did not want me to harm his reputation as a family entertainer...
As licence-fee payers, shouldn't we have a say in the artist and song that represents our country in an international competition? As consistently one of the highest-rated programes on television in the country in the whole year, shouldn't the lead-up programme be shown on a mainstream channel (rather than hidden behind the Red Button)?
It has emerged that the winner of last weekend's Eurovision Song Contest, Austrian drag act Conchita Wurst, was not the choice of the elite juries that cast half the votes in the annual Euro-singathon. Instead, Wurst swept to victory thanks to the support of the public, who decided that behind the camp persona and hype there was actually quite a good song (at least, relative to the others). Conchita was the people's choice.
Russian officials have banned a parade of bearded men and women due to take place on 27 May in Moscow because 'beards are immoral'.
All Conchita's done is put the bearded lady right back where she always was. What is Eurovision but a successor of the old carnivals and freak shows, where anarchy and disorder were kept safely contained? You could get your cheap thrill staring at the weird and different, and still sleep easy in your bed at night.
Eurovision has always been the embodiment of everything that is weird and wonderful about Europe. Although trends change and the boundaries of what constitutes 'outrageous' shift with every competition, Eurovision has continued to be a citadel of glittery splendour...
It was Conchita Wurst of Austria who stole the night. Her song 'Rise Like a Phoenix', was incredibly reminiscent of an old Bond theme, and ran away with the competition, racking up a total of 290 points. But it wasn't just her song that won it...
Such is our love for the annual procession of weirdness that the 'Eurovision party' is actually a thing now. As a lover of Eurovision, here are the three golden rules that I follow when watching Eurovision. You should follow them too if you want to have the correct kind of fun.
Eurovision officially kicks off on Tuesday 6 May at 8pm UK time from Copenhagen with the first semi-final. To help you through the semis and Saturday's Grand Final, I've picked my ones to watch below...
Given Eurovision's conception and birth and its formative years took place in Western continental Europe, it is fair to say that Western Europe remains at its historical and cultural heart.
Molly Smitten-Downes is the artist (in these class-conscious pop days, she is being recast as the much more approachable "Molly" as though one earns a mono-nomic moniker with a debut song). Her song, "Children of the Universe" is being premiered via the BBC Red Button at 19.30 GMT on Monday 3rd March.
Last weekend marked the finale of the annual extravaganza of Europop and European spirit called Eurovision. In it, countries put their best musical foot forward to beat the rest of Europe for Eurovision glory. The winner has to host the next year's event. A bit of a financially poisoned chalice of sorts.
Whilst many could claim that Eurovision has become dated and over politicised, very few could argue that it produces some of the most dramatic, outlandish and sometimes downright bizarre outfit choices.
One of the best parts of my job is creating cocktails for every single special occasion or calendar date that comes a'knockin. And Eurovision is no different. So I've created a special cocktail to embrace the glitz this weekend - for those that don't fancy knocking back a drink for each country.
Silly pop songs, over-the-top costumes and dance routines, and a (possibly) fake sense of intra-European bonhomie. Yes, it's easy to dismiss the annual Eurovision song contest. But wait. This year might be a little bit different. Eurovision might actually get political - and not just political in the usual sense that neighbouring countries vote for one another in a show of regional support... What better time to demand equal rights than when you have the eyes of much of Europe on you?
The annual celebration of all that is kitsch, camp and quirky in European music comes to our screens this Saturday at 8pm BST, from Malmö, Sweden. We've watched both semi-finals and as many rehearsals as we can to give you a taster of what to look out for (and when to take a loo/fag/cuppa break).