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BBC Eurovision Producer Helen's Blog Part 4

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BBC Eurovision Andrew BBC Eurovision Andrew | 17:19 UK time, Thursday, 12 May 2011

Another day, another marvellous blog entry from BBC Euro Doyenne Helen Tumbridge. Here's what she had to report...  

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 My days at the BBC are numbered, it was only a matter of time before I was found out. But, at least I can leave with my head held high knowing that at last Tumbridge Tours was a success. We can forget the boat trip up and down and up and down, and up and down again for luck of the Danube in Belgrade. Who wants to remember the five hour guided tour around the Kremlin and Red Square where Jade wore 6 inch heels and stumbled over the cobbles. I’m trying to forget the whole hideous thing in Oslo with Captain Jim last year (although he did accept me as a friend on facebook). But, my Eurovision friends, my trip up the Rheine aboard the Rheinefantasie was a triumph. I can go to my BBC grave in peace.  Perhaps that should read “in pieces”.

 Blue on boat tour for Eurovision 2011

Alright, it had nothing to do with me. The German Delegation arranged the whole thing, a rather charming man called Marcus in fact.  They were the ones that asked for the spontaneous moment. But before we all acted spontaneously, The Big Five performed their songs.

 

The Big Five are Germany, Italy, UK, France and Spain. Every year we get together on a tour of the city we’re in, usually on a boat. In fact I’m beginning to think that the Eurovision host city might be chosen on the issue of “has this city got a river so the Big Five can go on a boat trip?”

 

Lena gave us a great performance of “Taken By A Stranger”, I wish she’d eat more, she’s very thin. Then Raphael, at his piano with “Madness of Love” – only just realised that it was called that. We especially love the Italians cos they paid for the piano that Blue used on their rendition of “I Can”. It was a very special moment. They didn’t want to do their performance to a backing track as per the others, they wanted to do a broken down, more chilled version. Thus why we 

needed a piano played by Daniel. You’ve no idea what I had to do for that piano. But I don’t speak a word of Italian.

 

I’m sure you’ll be able to find this clip on the interweb thing (of them singing, not what I had to do to get the piano) as there were approx 250 journos filming their every move. I would challenge you to disagree with me that that was not a gorgeous performance. I felt very emotional watching them. It’s been a fantastic week, they’ve worked so hard, we’ve all come so far together. I’ve gotten so fond of them and their funny ways. Antony always arrives early. Simon always arrives BANG on time.  Lee, he arrives, then he leaves, he comes back, then he wanders past, then disappears again, then we search the toilets, then he reappears, smiles at me and I forgive him everything. Duncan? Duncan. Duncan. Duncan. Thank God you’ve got good cheek bones.  But, I love them all – in a motherly way – hence when they sang, a tiny tear may have appeared in the corner of my eye.  I found myself hugging them all when they came off stage. Is this unprofessional? What the hell. I was extremely proud of them.

 

Next up Amaury Vassili showing why he’s the bookies favourite, but I don’t know…and finally Spain where we la la la la la la laaaaa’d together and all did the moves and ooooh, it were grand.

 Spanish act Lucia Perez sings on the Eurovision tour boat

So the ship/boat/whatever vessel it was sailed up the Rhine, did a neat 360 degree turn and headed back to where we started from.  And then the spontaneous rendition of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” which I kept on muttering about under my breath to the boys, and as it was, they were delighted to sing it, particularly Antony who together with Lee opened the number, so I needn’t have worried all along…they are troopers.

 The Big Five Eurovision entrants sing

It’s been pointed out to me that my blog can become a little self indulgent, so I’ll keep the next bit short.

 

In the afternoon I ended up in hospital for two hours, but it’s OK, I think I’ll keep my leg.

 

Wednesday night….the lovely Italians (who luckily for us never travel without a piano) invited the UK delegation to their party. They asked if Blue would perform “I Can” and “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” at a showcase event with Raphael playing keyboards. Raphael is really shy, it amazes me that he’s an outgoing gregarious performer, but take him away from his piano and he’s everso quiet.

 

It went really well, we’d managed to squeeze in a quick rehearsal after the boat trip and before my trip to German A&E and the small, but perfectly dressed Italian audience very much appreciated the two countries coming together.

 

And, off again to the OGAE party, which is sort of like the umbrella organisation for many Eurovision websites – I don’t know why I’m telling you this, you know far more than me. We only popped in for ten minutes, but they were very appreciative and we’re very glad we went.

 

And tonight it’s semi final two.

 

Sarah Cox is waiting for your tweets (wish I knew what this meant) and she and Scott Mills (who has gone strangely quiet on me) will guide you through the evening’s proceedings with humour and grace.  

 

On the show tonight we have France, Switzerland, Hungary, Serbia and of course the UNITED KINGDOM…you might even see me hobbling along behind them, dragging my gammy leg behind me, but I’m not supposed to be talking about that.

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