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Iceland 2020 Eurovision participant Daði og Gagnamagnið
Photograph: EBU/Mummi Lú

There’s a whole night of Eurovision TV happening to make it up to fans this weekend

Gutted that the Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled? The BBC is hosting a pop extravaganza on Saturday night instead

Laura Richards

It’s the middle of May, which might mean absolutely nothing to you (I mean, what day even is it?). But for fans of big choruses, dramatic staging, silly costumes, awkward repartee and deeply confusing geopolitics, this time of year can only mean one thing: The Eurovision Song Contest. 

Sadly, the annual Europop extravaganza has been cancelled in 2020, because, well, what hasn’t been cancelled this year? But there’s a ray of hope for UK followers stuck at home with a hankering for some zany anthems. This weekend, the BBC is stepping up its programming to fill the cheese void. Graham Norton will of course be involved. 

On Saturday May 16 from 6.30pm, at the time the Eurovision universe would have been gearing up for lift off (and UK fans would have probably been starting some Continental-style pre-drinking), BBC One will be showing ‘Come Together’, a TV show filmed in BBC Studios and hosted by Norton that will gather acts and favourites from this year’s contest and allow viewers at home to cast their votes live. It’s like a pared-back version of the competition without the live performance but with, we can only hope, the usual hilarious side-swiping remarks.  

Then, from 8pm, the BBC will air a programme being shown across Europe and presented live in the Netherlands, the country that would have been this year’s host. ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’ won’t have a competitive element, but it will air all of the 40 songs entered into this year’s contest. That could sound like either heaven or hell to you (usually it’s narrowed down to 26 acts by the time you get to the final). Thankfully, though, the BBC hasn’t totally lost its mind – the whole show will be accompanied by a live commentary from Graham Norton, too. 

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