From Abba To Azerbaijan

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20120524

In a substantially updated version of a programme first broadcast in 2006, your tour guide to 56 (yes 56) years of the Eurovision Song Contest is Maria McErlane, the 'Postmistress of Pain' herself from Graham Norton's Saturday morning show on Radio 2. Graham, of course, will once again provide the commentary for BBC1's coverage of this year's Grand Final on Saturday (May 26), being held in Baku, Azerbaijan after Eldar & Nigar's win last year with 'Running Scared.' So don't be surprised if Norton makes a guest appearance in tonight's programme.

Graham's predecessor as mischievous master of BBC ceremonies, Sir Terry Wogan contributes, as does the man who's described the action for Radio 2 since 1988, Ken Bruce. Terry describes his Eurovision journey from the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin in 1973 to a football stadium in Copenhagen and beyond; Ken recalls how in his time it's turned from a black-tie event to being "like a football match, crowds cheering, beer being served...nobody's got a shirt on half the time, let alone a black tie!"

Former British representatives Lulu, Sonia, Katrina Leskanich of Katrina & the Waves (the last UK winners in 1997) and Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz all share memories, and we'll preview this year's orgy of dodgy haircuts, fashion mistakes and syllable-mashing choruses, including an interview with the man carrying Britain's 2012 hopes, Engelbert Humperdinck.

Expect a boom-bang-a-bangin', ding-a-dong-in', diggi-loo-diggi-ley'in' hour featuring All Kinds Of Everything - just before you start Making Your Mind Up and then saying either Congratulations or What's Another Year?