The BBC also announces the renewed collaboration between BBC Studios and music company BMG for this year’s contest. The song will be released and published by BMG, and BBC Studios will once again produce the BBC’s coverage of the biggest and most watched song competition in the world.
James Newman says: “I’m so excited and honoured to be getting a second chance at representing my country in the Eurovision Song Contest. I haven’t stopped making new music in lockdown and I can’t wait for everyone to hear the song I’m taking to Eurovision in 2021.”
Jo Wallace, Acting Controller Entertainment Commissioning for the BBC, says: “We are so pleased to have James back with us and representing the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2021. After 2020 and the postponing of the 65th song contest Eurovision is exactly what everyone needs!”
Mel Balac, Creative Director for BBC Studios, says: “James has really embraced being part of the Eurovision family and team ESC UK are delighted that he is getting another shot at Eurovision.”
Alistair Norbury, President, Repertoire & Marketing UK for BMG, says: “BMG are delighted to continue our involvement with Eurovision and to remain in partnership with the BBC. As soon as 2020 was cancelled we immediately turned our attention to returning with James but with a brand new song. There is definitely a strong feeling of unfinished business!”
Following a process in 2019 in which BBC Studios approached a number of record labels to pitch, it was clear that BMG shared the BBC and BBC Studios’ vision of selecting a song with broad international appeal and securing an artist who embodies the spirit and values of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final will take place on Saturday 22 May in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and will be broadcast live on BBC One with commentary by Graham Norton; and live on BBC Radio 2 with commentary from Ken Bruce. Ken Bruce will be also be previewing Eurovision on his Radio 2 show from 9.30am-12 noon on Friday 21 May. The semi-finals will be held on Tuesday 18 & Thursday 20 May, broadcast live on BBC Four.
As one of the Big Five countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, Italy), the United Kingdom does not have to qualify from the semi-final stage of the competition and will gain automatic access to the Saturday Grand Final. The Netherlands, as the incumbent champion, will also not need to qualify from the semi-final stage and will gain automatic entry to the Grand Final.
The BBC’s Eurovision coverage is a BBC Studios production, commissioned by Jo Wallace, Acting-Controller of Entertainment. The Executive Producer and Head Of Delegation is Andrew Cartmell, and the series producer and Assistant Head of Delegation is Lee Smithurst. Suzy Lamb is the MD for BBC Studios Entertainment and Music and Mel Balac is the Creative Director. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Rachel Ashdown.