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Thinker446 posts since 14 Dec 2005
Why would the broadcaster recordings be off-air? Most UK broadcasters recorded either the output of presentation (the BBC routinely did this for live events) or the output of the studio feeding presentation when making recordings of live shows.

Off-air recording wasn't that common (as it was significantly poorer quality than a baseband recording) - though it was used in some cases I believe.


While not necessarily "off-air", there are some programmes that only exist as consumer-grade tapes recorded by the broadcaster. One example is the first half of Melodifestivalen 1975 which only exists because SVT was required to record all its output so that it could be reviewed later on. These tapes were only kept for compliance and never intended for rebroadcast, so quality wasn't an issue.
tightrope781,210 posts since 29 Dec 2005
UTV Newsline
Why would the broadcaster recordings be off-air? Most UK broadcasters recorded either the output of presentation (the BBC routinely did this for live events) or the output of the studio feeding presentation when making recordings of live shows.

Off-air recording wasn't that common (as it was significantly poorer quality than a baseband recording) - though it was used in some cases I believe.


While not necessarily "off-air", there are some programmes that only exist as consumer-grade tapes recorded by the broadcaster. One example is the first half of Melodifestivalen 1975 which only exists because SVT was required to record all its output so that it could be reviewed later on. These tapes were only kept for compliance and never intended for rebroadcast, so quality wasn't an issue.

The 1973 final, which ABBA lost, is famously missing from the archive.
noggin14,939 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Why would the broadcaster recordings be off-air? Most UK broadcasters recorded either the output of presentation (the BBC routinely did this for live events) or the output of the studio feeding presentation when making recordings of live shows.

Off-air recording wasn't that common (as it was significantly poorer quality than a baseband recording) - though it was used in some cases I believe.


While not necessarily "off-air", there are some programmes that only exist as consumer-grade tapes recorded by the broadcaster. One example is the first half of Melodifestivalen 1975 which only exists because SVT was required to record all its output so that it could be reviewed later on. These tapes were only kept for compliance and never intended for rebroadcast, so quality wasn't an issue.


Yes - that's a different situation, where consumer recordings are made for compliance / legal purposes. These may actually be required to be made from an off-air source to demonstrate the broadcast actually happened.

The BBC used to run VHS machines recording its channels off-air (with a burned in clock and channel ID) for the same purpose well into the 00s.

SVT also used modified 1" VT machines for recordings they were required to make for the authorities - as there were 1/3rd speed Type-B models marketed (this was SLP mode I believe). A number of the VT recordings that look non-broadcast quality on Öppet Arkiv have been sourced from these recordings.
Last edited by noggin on 22 May 2020 7:00am - 2 times in total
digipal152 posts since 20 Nov 2008
I've really appreciated Eurovision uploading previous contests to their channel, especially seeing Birmingham 98 and Brighton 74 in great quality has been a tv positive of this lockdown. Watching Shine A Light last week, when the hosts started singing at the start had me in bits, I was meant to be there albeit, I totally appreciate we're facing bigger challenges in the world right now

Rotterdam would have been an amazing show and will be next year, in whatever format it takes
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tightrope781,210 posts since 29 Dec 2005
UTV Newsline
In the absence of DVB I should tell you that tonight’s Eurovision Again is Riga 2003.



ChipperBird92 posts since 20 Jun 2017
Anglia (East) Look East
2003 had a decent lineup of tracks if you like europop & synth. Though looking back now, you can see that Eurovision had sort of settled into something a little bit "safe" overall in terms of musical style, which is maybe what helped support the view that it was behind the times in terms of music trends.

That said, this was the first year when I recall the Eurovision week buildup hit the news more than usual. Mostly because Russia's TATU was their entry after "All the Things She Said" had hit it big in the charts. They'd been reported as being rude, insulting other acts, skipping rehearsals and a rumor that the 2 female singers were planning to kiss onstage in their performance. Which was a slight flap as I think there was a small debate if that was a political message or not and if it would disqualify them.

In the end they bottled it, did a boring performance and left to become one hit wonders forever after. Still kinda wild that they actually came close to winning on their live performance.

Also man those postcards were bad - who thought stop-motion camera settings on filmed footage of the acts goofing about was a good idea?

You also then have Jemini - ah Jemini. Rewatching 2003 there was certainly some sort of issue where a lot of the acts were struggling to gauge the sound of their voices in the venue. However a lot of the other acts maybe had a few off-tune opening verses before settling in. Jemini however - they were rotten start to finish. You can tell looking at their faces mid-performance that they know it's a trainwreck too.

The BBC delegation didn't take it well. A snippet of 9 minutes from the "Liquid Eurovision" show that immediately followed over on BBC 3 survives on youtube - but somewhat illustrates part of the issue at this point. The BBC team felt themselves a little bit above the rest in 2003, was a bad attitude to have and totally played part into why we had a bad entry and lost.



It's interesting that they started airing before Turkey had even gotten their award and done winners reprise. But also sort of shows that UK was not the only act struggling with vocals - mind greenroom usually leaves the performers a little worse for wear too. I think the panel and Lorraine trashing it on-air was a bit of sour grapes though.

But then they switch to a live-link with Jemini and...usually when a UK act goes and fails, the artist will still get a "tough luck old chap but you did your best" interview. Jemini seem to know that isn't coming for the live link interview, so they alone have to be like "we didn't suck, we were great!" - I mean not even sunny Lorraine actually steps in (during the live link) to back it up, it's bad if even Lorraine isn't agreeing with you.

She does try to be nice at around the 7 minute mark when they discuss the UK act, but one of the panelists pretty much puts the knife in by openly stating she thought Gemma was totally out of tune. The questioning moves to the show overall immediately after to avoid any more of that : P
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tightrope781,210 posts since 29 Dec 2005
UTV Newsline
Eurovision 2003 very nearly proved to be a disaster. Latvijas Televīzija simply weren't up to the job. About a month prior to the Contest the EBU became aware of the organisational debacle. Contracts not signed, awful postcards etc. At the last minute the EBU took over and staff from SVT and ETV (Estonia) took over the day-to-day production. Sven Stojanović from SVT took over as director, as role he would fulfil for much of the next decade. This thread pretty much sums up the sense of what happened:





From this point on the EBU effectively took over the day-to-day production of future contests, having in place a team of experts who could be called upon each year.

A couple of things are notable about this contest:

- The last single-night Eurovision Song Contest. As announced the semi-final was introduced the following year.
- The last Contest not to feature the heart logo and Eurovision typeface.
- The first Contest to have an electronic scoreboard that rearranged itself into the order of the scores, instead of order of performance.
- The last Contest to have a British scrutineer (Executive Producer) in Sarah Yuen. In a sign of how part-time the role was at that time Sarah was at the same time running a B&B back in the U.K.!
BillyH1,401 posts since 26 May 2001
London London
Lots of comments on the live chat about how "bad quality" the 2003 contest is - it's fairly standard 4:3 SD for the time but to those who've grown up with HD it must look pretty bad, especially as many were saying it was the year they were born which made me feel rather ancient. Some saying it looked worse than the 1974 contest, but that was a brighter and much less energetic production that tube cameras and 2" quad tape wouldn't have struggled with!

I've got really fond memories of this one, the Eurovision website's chatroom at the time would invite a different contestant on every few days to answer questions which to a 14 year old me in the pre-Twitter world felt incredible. I printed out a 'scorecard' from the BBC's website then and made my first phone vote, to eventual winners Turkey.

It's nice to see that the general consensus now is that the UK's infamous last place is because of a mildly ok song getting an extremely bad performance, not helped by sound issues that affected a fair few of the acts that year - a much more rational answer than "IT'S BECAUSE OF IRAQ!!!" at the time that would go on to be an excuse for years. It's often forgotten that Cry Baby was a top 15 hit in the UK - not a luxury that later last-place UK results would have, and especially an achievement given that the charts were still physicals only then so all of those would have been CD/cassette purchases. Jessica Garlick the previous year only charted two places higher and she came third in the contest!

The 1999-2001 contests are often glossed over from a UK perspective as well, which showed a signficant decline long before Jemini and before the brief Garlick revival in '02. Precious in 1999 did brilliantly in the UK charts but disappointed in the contest by "only" coming 12th, which at the time was seen as a disaster but today they'd be hailed as heroes. The UK entry didn't appear on the official compilation CD at the time for some reason either, along with a couple of others.

Both 2000 and 2001 suffered a big drop in ratings which then recovered from 2002 onwards, which may have been due to the UK selection process being heavily scaled down and appearing mid-afternoon on a weekend, meaning the UK entry had barely any hype attached to it at all and neither Nicki French or Lindsay Dracass are seen as some of the best entries today. Both performed poorly in the contest, and I think it was Nicki French who blamed it on the fact that the UK wouldn't be adopting the Euro or something - the excuse that 'Iraq' in the 2000s, 'Brexit' in the 2010s and 'their bad response to Covid-19' in the 2020s (we'll see...) would replace.
Member since 26 May 2001
deejay3,008 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Central (South) Oxford
I really enjoyed watching Riga 2003 again last night and actually it’s one of the better contests from that era. A great mix of songs, lots of absolute bangers, some duds, but nowhere near the snoozefest of some contests from around then. Whatever the backstory of Gemini, they were truly abysmal on the night and, as Carrie Grant says in that Liquid Eurovision clip, the U.K. really needs to get artists who can sing live on the night. The vocals from Sweden were wonderful - very strong indeed - compare and contrast.

Nicki French and Lindsey Dracass were both (IMO) let down by the songs - neither were great and the former was even called “Don’t Play That Song Again”. While both scraped into the top 40 singles chart, they were some of the lowest placed songs in both the contest and the chart for over a decade. The U.K. went into a long period of thinking “the Europeans just hate us” and I’m not sure we’ve ever fully got out of it.
Two minutes regions...
gottago3,115 posts since 26 Aug 2004
London London
I must admit I think the UK has had worse songs and even performances since Jemini that were more deserving of 0 points.

I think Sertab was a great winner although I remember downloading Everyway That I Can from Limewire way back when (maybe 2004/5) and the studio version was awful , really terribly produced, the sort of thing you'd listen to now and wouldn't think it would have a hope of qualifying through the semi finals. Maybe I'd downloaded a first version of it or something.

2003 was so much of an improvement on 2001 and 2002, the winners of those years were so bad. I Wanna would probably languish in 13th/14th place in a semi these days while I really do think Everybody would come dead last in a semi today.
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