Weaver's Week 2014-05-11

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This edition of the Week was published on Saturday 10 May, before the final took place.

Hello, Europe!

Contents

Eurovision Song Contest 2014

DR for BBC, RTE, and other EBU members

Semi-final 1, 6 May

Welcome to Eurovision Fortnight. This week, we're looking at the two semi-finals; next week, the final and all the voting. In a change to previous practice, we're mostly going to refer to the entries by their broadcaster, not the country.

There are quite a few changes to the line-ups this year. Still out this year are the broadcasters from recent competitors Slovakia, Czechia, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Turkey. The prolonged absence of BiH and Turkey will certainly alter our Eurovision Map, of which more next week. Withdrawing after disappointing results last year are BNT from Bulgaria, HRT from Croatia, CyBC from Cyprus, and the 2008 hosts RTS of Serbia. It leaves just two former Yugoslav republics competing, Slovenia and Montenegro. Albania has lost most of its traditional allies, and with Cyprus out we ask to whom will the Greeks give 12?

Two revenants are hungry for success. Broadcasters from Portugal are back after a year out, and Poland have returned after a two year absence.

Eurovision Song Contest Emmelie de Forest's back!

That's the basic story of the opening segment, last year's winner walking through Denmark, before a montage of cooing selfies leads into the reprise of "Only teardrops", backed by a mass choir.

This year's hosts are Pilou Asbæk, Lise Rønne, and Nikolaj Koppel. The absolutely fantastic news is that they're not talking in rhymes, like what they did in 2001. The less good news is that BBC3 hosts Laura Whitmore and Scott Mills talk over the top of the host while they're cracking the Eurovision Substandard Joke.

Wrong sort of Shiny warning, for bright lights and/or strobe effects. Representing AMPTV of Armenia, the contest begins with Aram MP3 and his song "Not alone". Good luck searching the interwebs for more information about that, folks. It's a very modern song, starting as though he's in an X Factor sing-off, building to a massive blast, likely just too modern to win. That hasn't stopped the punters, who made it favourite as soon as the preview videos were shown, and it went into the contest at prohibitive odds, "Euphoria" and "Fairytale" levels. One sign of its success is how it's already made the Azeri download charts.

Eurovision Song Contest A great Baltic baker.

Hmm. Don't think we've heard the winner yet. For LTV, a catchy number. Aarzemnieki flies the flag for Latvia with the song "Cake to bake". This is an earworm of grotesque virulence, as infectious and moreish as anything Mel and Sue can come up with. Wow, they've even got a video wall in the satellite stage! The performance in the jury final on Monday – where half the votes are awarded – was poor.

Slight shiny warning here. A few broadcasters appear to have confused the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest with something else. ERR of Estonia have sent an entry for Eurovision Young Dancers. Tanja's "Amazing" is contemporary pop, with a jawdropping, gobsmacking, outstanding contemporary dance routine. Readers may be familiar with Keizsa's video clip for her hit "Hideaway", but "Amazing" is even better. Singing in tune while being lifted up and spun round? Don't try this at home, kids!

Eurovision Song Contest This lift is going up.

Another broadcaster suffering from confusion is SVT. "Undo", performed by Sanna Nielsen, is a marvellous entry to the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest, over-emoted and over-sweet balladary, with a gratuitous keychange. The entry from Sweden appears to be trapped in the bottom of the Five Minutes to a Fortune hourglass. This caused problems in the jury final, when one of the panels went conking off and shone in Sanna's face. SVT put in a protest, saying that their entry was disadvantaged: the Eurovision people said, "No."

Eurovision Song Contest The hourglass is turning.

Wrong sort of shiny warning o'clock! Light rock is the order for RÚV of Iceland, where Pollapönk sing "No prejudice". It's light rock with shades of punk, a little too earnest for its own good. The gentlemen are wearing multi-coloured tracksuits, and the ultimate effect is a bit too close to a bunch of PE teachers doing karaoke Showaddywaddy for our liking. They had a good time, we reckoned it's a bit naff.

This year, the Eurovision Song Contest is coming from the Industrial Zone. Specifically, the grubby building in the background of pictures of The Little Mermaid statue. It's a shipyard converted into a concert hall. The stage design is meant to be the prow of a ship under construction: we're rather reminded of half of The Cube with a grid on the wall. Scott Mills is narrating a brief travelogue on Copenhagen, without once mentioning Sandi Toksvig or the Eurovision Book of Records they're seeing in the hall. But we are graced by some of 2012 entrants: Soluna Samay doesn't get screen time, but the Jedwards do.

Eurovision Song Contest Losing the flashvote tonight...

More past historic from Albania, "One night's anger" is performed by Hersi. She's emerged from an internal selection run by RTSH, and she's emerged with a thin and watery ballad, a bit too close to Céline Dion than we might like. The competitor stands on a raising plinth, even after the screaming guitar solo. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is how she had a tattoo in the postcard (where everyone makes their flag) and in the pre-song bit, but didn't have said tat in rehearsals this afternoon.

At this point, the entry from RTR. We have difficulty with a couple of this year's competitors, one of them being the Russian station. The government in Russia has been quite deliberately suppressing open debate and silencing its critics, neutering RTR's journalistic credentials. While this isn't grounds for the station to be expelled from the EBU, we don't have to pay their output – Tolmachevy Sisters performing "Fire" – any attention.

Careful with the shinies here. It's two years since Azerbaijan hosted the contest. This year, Í┬Źctami's entry is Dilara Kazimova, performing "Start a fire". It's an intense ballad, boosted by a gymnast doing Stuff in the background, and a breathtaking whoosh when the video screens change. Gently ethnic, subtle and beautiful and really looking forward to seeing that again on Saturday. Just the once.

Eurovision Song Contest Ah yes, land of fire. See what they did there?

Some strobing and flashy lights here. Ten years ago, Ukraine won the contest with a very ethnic song. For 2014, they're confusing this event with the Eurovision Hercules Challenge, specifically the Wheels of Ixion. "Tick – tock", performed by Mariya Yaremchuk, is a moderately-intense ballad that's benefited from a contemporary remix. Which means it'll lose some marks from the juries, but could gain on Saturday televotes. If, as NTU hopes, it gets to Saturday.

Eurovision Song Contest No, us neither.

Which half of Belgium is talking to us this year? VRT, the Dutch-speaking side. They've got Axel Hirsoux performing "Mother". It's the Belgian equivalent of Paul Potts from Britain's Got Talent a few years ago: a middle-aged gentleman singing light opera in a very granny-friendly style, if you look past a spectre behind him. The juries will love it, the performance clearly shows vocal ability and musical range. The televoters on Tuesday? Might not. The televoters on Saturday? That's how Paul Potts did win Britain's Got Talent. But he's got to still be in the contest after tonight.

Warning! Wrong sort of Shiny Warning! Since the colourful yawn of RÚV, it's been quite a dark and bleak contest. There's a bit of a break in the clouds from Cristina Scarlat's song "Wild soul". The entry for Moldova is a return to light rock, but this time done a bit more convincingly. There is a staging gimmick to help viewers remember the song: it's a hair-raising experience, and we mean that quite literally. Not so much TRM as total rubbish, mate.

Eurovision Song Contest This bit was Eurovision I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.

Another face from 2012, and 2013, SMRTV has sent Valentina Monetta. For the third time, she's singing a Ralph Siegel song (last year's entry mixed up two songs, and Ralph is on the piano this year). For the third time, it's a dreary song that isn't going to put San Marino or their cloth seashell on the Saturday stage. "I thought it was a type of cocktail" says our Eurovision expert Laura Whitmore. Composer Ralph Siegel is the guy on the piano, the sort of useful information you just don't get on BBC3.

Which brings us to the second commercial break, and Scott Mills is talking to Conchita Wurst, of whom more anon. The official coverage is trying to break some world records, sadly without Norris McWhirter. Apparently, the hot dog stall that blew up in the surrounding area this morning wasn't part of the performance, just an entry into The Great Danish Pork Banger.

Eurovision Song Contest All the pictures of Suzy were too saucy, so here's that cube effect.

With a warning for the Wrong Sort of Shiny, it's welcome back, RTP. "Quero ser tua" is the sort of sound that fits well into Euro-beach clubs. We can imagine people sipping a cool beer on the beach, and hearing this exotic sound and thinking, "corks, that's nice." And then two minutes after it's finished, they'll forget about it. This won't necessarily allow Suzy to put Portugal into the final. And we do hope that Scott Mills has evidence that his temporary building is from the Portakabin company, we know how well they protect their trademark.

Hipsters all over the world are getting into country these days. The genre is making one of its occasional entries into the Eurovision Song Contest courtesy of AVROTROS from the Netherlands. The Common Linnets' song "Calm after the storm". It's got a country beat, it's accessible to an audience who isn't accustomed to the genre. The stage sell is impressive: it starts with a pan down from the roof to the floor. The two singers are standing toe-to-toe, able to look into each other's eyes and find the camera. Have they treated the picture to drain some of the colour, given it an old world filter? Clever stuff.

Eurovision Song Contest Middle-of-the-road stuff from the Dutch.

All the withdrawals mean there are only two representatives from the former Yugoslavia this year, and Montenegro have a better reputation in football than this contest. Sergej Cetkovic is performing "Moj svijet", a tremendously ethnic song. We reckon it's a song of reputation and quality, and it cuts through the language barrier like a hot knife through butter. The juries might like this enough to put it through, but we can't see the RTCG representative getting many viewer votes, in spite of the ice skater leaving a trail of lights behind her.

One final Wrong Sort of Shiny warning. One final track, MTV's song. András Kállay-Saunders sings "Running". Again, a tremendous song, with depth and meanings that aren't apparent on first listen. Hungary are going to the final, that much is certain. Hungary are likely to do well in the final, even if they've sent their entry for the European Interpretative Dance Contest. We will pick up this story next week.

Eurovision Song Contest What's Budapest like at this time of year?

The active voting window ran from 20.21 to 20.36 UTC. Not that this bothered viewers in the UK or Ireland, they get to exercise their democratic rights on Thursday. The interval act falls in the mid-voting bit, a five minute performance based on the Ugly Duckling. Which, with the commitment to high culture we've come to expect from the BBC, is entirely ruined by Scott Mills wittering inanely over the top. Is the BBC so afraid of visual entertainment that they can't bear to show a brief contemporary dance piece?

While the rest of Europe has one last recap, and whatever happens after, we're treated to a fifteen-minute plug for BBC Introducing and a holiday cottage on the Smitten-Downes. What we're not allowed to see is a comedy skit with one of the hosts; we do get to see Lise engage in banter and selfie-taking with contest supervisor Jon Ola Sand.

The qualifiers are, as ever, announced with the maximum of fuss; Laura Whitmore reads out factoids as though she was commentating on the lottery draws. Montenegro are first out, there are some loud boos when Russia are announced. "It's all done in a random order" claim the hosts, with Azerbaijan and Armenia announced next to each other, and (as has happened on the last few times they qualified) Iceland saved till last. The winner of the Eurovision Eyebrow Raising Contest is San Marino, ousting the somewhat favoured Belgium from the final; RTCG make their first Saturday appearance since independence in 2006. Also looking for flights tomorrow are Latvia, Estonia, Albania, Moldova, and Portugal.

Eurovision Song Contest We're going through, we're going through...

Semi-final 2

Hello again Europe! After the hopeless performance on Tuesday night, we've retuned to the wireless. Thanks to the technical breakthroughs available these days, we have a choice of signals tonight. We can hear Radio 2 Eurovision in unsatisfyingly squelchy digital mono, or we can hear RTÉ Radio 1 in satisfyingly hunky analogue mono.

Good evening Dublin. May we have your commentary please! Shay Byrne and Zbyszek Zalinski are in the bowels of RTÉ Donnybrook, commentating on tonight's contemporary dance, a performance inspired by the staging and the cube. Apparently, one of the hosts is a star on BBC4, appearing on the bridge-based drama Børgen. And, with a double rainbow appearing over the Industrial Zone, let's begin.

First up are the defending Eurovision Song Contest champions, PBS. That's "defending" in the sense of "they absolutely nailed the Junior contest last year" and "it'll be staged in Malta this November". Do we have the budget to go? (No. Not even to go for a Malteaser.) Firelight sing "Coming home", a disco song with a chunk of folk and more than a smidgeon of emo. The juries are going to love this. The public might, too. Can PBS possibly host both contests in six months?

Eurovision Song Contest Inspired staging for Firelight.

Our first Wrong Sort of Shiny warning of the night here. Fifteen years ago, the IBA pioneered three hosts with the event in Jerusalem. This year, Mei Finegold sings "Same heart", the entry for Israel. This is another crossover song, a bit of a belter with some soft rock sounds. We have a nasty feeling it'll get swallowed up by what's around it. The staging is a warrior and her two acolytes, which is different.

Eurovision Song Contest We hope the rumours of Israel withdrawing are just rumours.

NRK started the recent run of contests in north-west Europe five years back. This year, Norway are on their home territory, a solo male who doesn't so much sing as blast his song. It can do well, as they showed around the turn of the century. It can do "Mil etter mil" badly. Hoping to do a lot better is "Silent storm", performed by Carl Espen. Again, the juries will lap this up; unlike VRT on Tuesday, this should do something with the public. Not having a ghost in the background helps: there's just the singer, another man at a piano, a string quartet on the tilty bit, and lots of dry ice. Lots of false endings send the crowd wild.

Once again, some broadcasters seem to have got confused with this event. GPB have got their wires crossed, and sent an entry for The Eurovision Old Grey Whistle Test. "Three minutes to Earth" is three minutes of prog rock weirdness, it's performed by The Shin and Mariko – a German band with a singer from Georgia. Men of a certain age will be stroking their beards and praising the innovative structures. Viewers will be asking themselves, what's with the paraglider? And what's Georgian for "zero point"? "It was only three minutes, but it seemed so much longer", says Zbyszek.

Eurovision Song Contest Next, on BBCOMGWTF...

Wrong sort of shiny warning here. TVP are back, but seem to have grown confused in their three year absence. They're putting an entry for The Eurovision Legs And Co Contest. "My Slowianie" is developed from the biggest viral video in Poland last year; Donatan and Cleo take the stereotypes of the Polish woman, and deconstruct them. Alternative views are available, many continue by saying "in the style of Benny Hill." Earworm, juries won't have liked it, public might want to see this again. Possibly so that they can actually see Donatan, who seemed to be very missing.

We agree with the RTÉ commentator that TVP produces excellent radio hosts; on the stage, they're producing butter. "Is making butter a euphemism?" asks Shay Byrne. Dude, what do you think. On stage, more from the Eurovision Book of Records; on BBC3, the Smitten-Downes tells us about her hairpiece; on RTÉ Radio 1, an advert for a budget airline flying into London City airport.

Eurovision Song Contest Watching.. waiting..

And we're back, with a formal Wrong Sort of Shiny warning. Conchita Wurst is the selection of ÖRF, and the song is entirely predictable from its title, "Rise like a phoenix". The entry for Austria is performed by a man in drag, and that might kill the song's chances. Can we seriously see a jurist in Minsk or Moscow giving this bearded lady a high ranking, especially when their name is going to be associated with their votes? The performance begins with the camera pulling in, and it's not until the chorus starts – about 45 seconds in – that Wurst is shown in full light and close-up. Doesn't move during the whole song. "Shirley Bassey and Adele and Old Spice", reckons Zbyszek.

With another formal Wrong Sort of Shiny warning, we go from an old-fashioned freak show to the most contemporary song in the contest. LRT command "Attention", performed by Vilija Mataciunaite. There's no rhyme scheme, the performance goes from singing to shouting and back, tempo changes with the winds. Which, if you're into eastern Baltic dubstep, is music to your ears. British radio station Galaxy FM will love it, we won't be looking to Lithuania next year. Which is a shame: the song is modern, the dance routine sells it wonderfully.

Eurovision Song Contest She might want to take the tutu back, with those holes.

Another Wrong Sort of Shiny warning for this next one. Three songs have impressed the pundits during rehearsals. AVROTROS have already gone through, and the BBC were seeded into the final. Will YLE's entry join them? "Something better" is the best rock song in this year's contest, performed by a very young, very energetic, very shy Softengine. If they can nail the punch-the-air moment at the start of the chorus, like they do on the CD, this will have us looking up the weather in Finland at this time of year. Not entirely sure they got it, and is 26th on Saturday worse than 11th tonight? In a semi-final of 15, no.

RTÉ had a tempestuous national final, with Linda Martin and Louis Walsh ganging up on some aging rocker. The result was that the people of Ireland put through Can-Linn and the song "Heartbeat". Attention focuses on the group's singer Kasey Smith, and it's clear that she wishes it wouldn't. It's another ethnic song, aimed at the Irish diaspora, but we don't believe there are many votes available from Australia and Massachusetts. The four women are joined by two men in shorts and vests, who proceed to re-enact a portion of Riverdance over a pounding house beat. First time there's been Irish dancing since 1996, apparently.

Eurovision Song Contest Can-Linn, but didn't-linn.

More Wrong Sort of Shinies. In the opening spiel, Timmy (or was it Tommy) described the contest as a buffet. So, anyone for "Cheesecake"? BTRC have confused this with The Eurovision Robin Thicke Contest, sending a song that can be described as "frisky" and "greasy" and "being nice to a stalker". In spite of him continually missing the live camera, there seem to be five worse songs in the semi, so we have to sit through this Belarus entry all over again. Grate.

Yet more Wrong Sort of Shiny warnings. Someone at MKRTV in Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of) needs a new calendar, as they seem to have sent an entry for the 1987 contest. "To the sky" is performed by a woman with a power suit and a hairstyle like Charlotte Pickles' it has an inoffensive and completely bland sound, is augmented by a hoodie in need of a hug, and makes three minutes sound like an awfully long time. Do the Algerians still put out interference on 252 long wave? They don't? Shame, might improve this.

Eurovision Song Contest It's Cynthia next year.

Shiny warning, wrong sort of, mostly for the opening pyrotechnic explosion. The Eurovision Mumford and Sons Contest might be won by "Hunter of Stars", Sebalter's song for SSR and SRG. There is whistling, there is a catchy tune, there is enough fiddling to bring back memories of Rybak. It's a great stage presence, and the most mumbled delivery of a vocal line since elocution classes at Jamaica Inn. Again, with only five to go, this might scrape through, but don't book tickets for Switzerland next year.

And it's another ad break. On the radio, buy a car. On the telly, Laura chats with Twin Twin from France 3. In the hall, another record. A quick check in with Radio 2 Eurovision shows that they're playing Lulu, before a scripted link from Ana Matronic.

Back, with another shiny warning. And the entry that isn't from ERT. We have difficulty with a couple of this year's competitors, and the other is this from Greece. The government illegally closed down the state broadcaster in June last year, complaining about the way it was putting opposition critics to air. This actually is grounds for the station to leave the EBU, seeing as how they're not serving the population in any meaningful way. Nor, at the entry date in January, was the government-controlled successor NERIT actually on air, and hence that organisation isn't eligible to enter. The result is that we don't need to pay any attention to "Rise up", performed by Freaky Fortune and RiskyKidd.

Eurovision Song Contest Mr. Riskykidd.

Guess what! Warning, shiny, sort of, wrong. The right sort of contemporary pop is displayed by RTVSLO in the song "Round and round". It's elegant, poppy, the young voters will go for it, it looks good on stage. Tinkara Kovac has fifteen years of pop music experience, according to her official biography, and she does make this look effortless. Lovely blue ballgown, tremendous purple-and-blue spirals on the floor. Slovenia should be in the final, and that's achievement enough.

Shall we have one final Wrong Sort of Shiny warning? For the second time in five years, TVR are sending Paula Seling and Ovi, hoping to bring the contest to Romania. Don't book tickets for Bucharest just yet, as "Miracle" is solid top ten without challenging for the win. It's a slightly disposable dance number, the sort of tune that Galaxy FM would love to play. It features a lot from the Eurovision Special Effects Contest 1983 – dodgy colour separation overlays, Ovi playing in the middle of a round keyboard, and the eye from some other show. Drawn last in the semi-final, it'll go through. Drawn sixth in the final, it'll stiff.

Eurovision Song Contest He's not really playing that.

And that's it! The active voting window runs from 20.16 to 20.37. Votes can be cast through the Eurovision Song Contest application, that's except for viewers in the UK because the BBC says "Down with this sort of thing!". Viewers in the UK could vote on landlines: 09015 2252 and the two digits, or by mobile telephone by calling 6 22 52 and the two digit number. Calls cost 15p from a mobile and BT landline other networks may vary. And don't call now, the lines closed days ago, chump.

Viewers in Ireland could vote by telephone by calling 15 13 71 72 and the two digit number. Or they could vote by SMS by sending the two-digit code to 53535. Phone votes from an Eircom line cost 61 cent. SMS votes cost 60 cent. They're not available for viewers in the UK, because (again) the BBC says "Careful, now!" It's the sixth year we've written this, and the BBC's position on SMS votes is tending to the Luddite.

You can vote for your favourite songs up to 20 times: any more, and you'll get a visit from 2001 hosts The Tooth Fairy and Dr. Death. The interval act is from Australia, it's introduced by a filmed sketch and some dancers doing Australian things (surfing, barbecues, Aussie rules football). Has the Eurovision network been reduced to Jessica Mauboy plugging her new single?

We don't blame the RTÉ commentators for gabbing over the top with the voting numbers. Oddly, Shay is suggesting that the overseas listeners vote for Ireland. Even more oddly, Zbyszek is bigging up Poland and trying to read out the voting number in Polish. And failing.

And a live-by-satellite linkup to Sydney in Australia. How are things there?

Eurovision Song Contest "It's four in the morning."

To fill the gap left by song 16, and have the two shows run to time, there's a second mini-interval act of children and adults from across Europe dancing the hip-hop on stage, while other footage appears on the video walls. It's a very visual thing, and no surprise that the radio ducks out for an ad break.

On the radio, there are discussions with some of the presenters in the green room, which this year is near the foot of the stage. On the telly, Scott and Laura are stuck in a backstage corridor and drop by the media tent. We could be seeing Softengine's headmaster saying "You've missed school, that's fine"; we are seeing a BBC presenter pilfer petits-fours from the British ambassador's reception. BBC viewers don't get a long note contest; nor do RTÉ listeners, who get Zbyszek's reflections on this year's contest. The radio does get a bizarre discussion about Conchita having a sausage named after her. "Am I missing the point?" asks Shay. Not really, it's about going with the flow, seeing where things take us.

Shall we have some results? No, they need some more time, so fill with the final recap from the voting window. Then the winners are announced with somewhat less fuss than usual. The surprises came early: Switzerland and Slovenia came out first, Finland got the other bubble spot, with Austria left to last.

Eurovision Song Contest We are going through!

We can hear the disappointment in the RTÉ commentators' voices, Can-Linn will be going home tomorrow. Also flying home: Israel, Georgia, Lithuania, and Macedonia.

No, You Haven't Missed Molly

The running order for the Saturday final has come out. Performances with a Wrong Sort of Shiny warning are marked with a star; we've made a guess at warnings for the direct qualifiers based on reports from rehearsals and the publicity videos.

01 Ukraine* / Belarus* / Azerbaijan* / Iceland* / Norway
06 Romania* / Armenia* / Montenegro / Poland* / Greece*
11 Austria* / Germany // Sweden / France* / Russia
16 Italy* / Slovenia* / Finland* / Spain / Switzerland*
21 Hungary* / Malta / Denmark* / The Netherlands / San Marino / United Kingdom

The one commercial break comes after Elaiza at position 12.

Very good draw for MTV, decent position for YLE, ÖRF and not!ERT has done as well as they can in the first half. The pre-contest favourite from AMPTV is doing reasonably; the current favourite from SVT is stuck after the ad break, generally seen as unfavourable. AVROTROS might be a little too late in the running order, AZTV has a rotten draw, TVR has been buried, and last of 26 does no favours for the BBC.

The voting order has also been published. It starts with Azerbaijan's votes, ends with those of Slovenia, and passes through Scott Mills about a third of the way through. Sweden has a lot of traditional friends voting just before halfway through, but not much in the second half. The other favourites are entries from Greece and Armenia, they're very close in the voting map and either or both could stage a late run. If we believe that Austria will not attract many votes from eastern bloc countries, they may be staging a late run. But there are no traditional friends for Austria, or for the other tipped entries from Hungary, the Netherlands, or the UK.

All of this is speculation. By sunrise tomorrow, we will know facts. Enjoy the show.

This Week and Next

Our apologies to Dave McBryan, who won Fifteen-to-One last week, and we omitted to mention it.

Fifteen-to-One The new Fifteen-to-One champion.

Daniel Fullard, Chris and his brother Brendan Curtis are the Erstwhile Athletes. Adam Barr, Richard Gilbert, and Rachael Neiman are the Record Collectors. This week's Only Connect ensured that we've finally met the winning team. Record Collectors put their hands up to dancing to "YMCA", which you've already missed on TOTP '79. The Erstwhile Athletes redeem themselves with the "Latin" names for Road Runner. A gamble on the picture question puts the Record Collectors ahead by 6-1.

Victoria seems to be under the illusion that Ceefax is a piece of history. Nay, nay, it's just grown up and changed its name to "BBC Red Button". Panel-beater of the week is Henry V, Edward VI, Harriet VII, a devilishly hard question. Points and bonuses are tossed around, after which the Collectors lead 8-5. On wall 433, the Athletes get stumped by confusing T S Eliot's cats with dolls from children's television. Wall 434 for the Collectors; with a blind contender, they read out the various options before jabbing, which might actually be a good idea for all sides. After a wobble near the end, they take ten points, and an 18-11 lead.

It's not an insurmountable lead, but the Athletes will need a bunch of helpful categories. Like 18th century inventions. Or songs from "Joseph". Or perfumes. They ever-so-briefly draw level, only for the later questions to go against them. The Record Collectors win by 24-19.

Two pieces of news from Operation Yout00b. First, that Freddie Starr will not be prosecuted for historic offences involving a crushing machine and people's cars. Also, the investigation into Paul Gambaccini has continued for so long that it's not possible to mount a series of Counterpoint. This year's edition of Round Britain Quiz moves into the gap, and begins on 19 May.

Everything old is new again: in recent weeks, we've discussed the Catchphrase revival, and the Fifteen-to-One revival. This is nothing new: ten years ago, we had the The Price is Right revival, and the Family Fortunes revival (which we never reviewed), and the Bullseye revival. Now, ITV wants to bring about the Bullseye revival revival, updating the 2006 tribute to the 1982 revamp of the 1981 format. We're already preparing a ratings infographic based on Bully's prize board.

BARB ratings in the week to 27 April.

  1. The Eastenders is again Britain's most popular show, its 9.1m beat Britain's Got Talent by half a million.
  2. Masterchef (5.75m) remains popular, as does Have I Got News for You (5.2m)
  3. Big Star's Little Star (3.7m) also remains popular, but Amazing Greys continues to slide. Paddy and Angela are now down to 2.95m and level with The Chase.
  4. Mastermind ended with 2.2m, just behind The Big Allotment Challenge (2.25m) and ahead of Great British Menu (2m).
  5. Celebrity Juice (1.6m) and Britain's Got More Talent (1.05m) pulled in their usual numbers. Come Dine with Me (830,000) pulled in a number alarmingly close to Only Connect (795,000).

We were hoping for new old Blockbusters on the Challenge channel, but these have been delayed for "technical difficulties". Having difficulty squeezing in a fourth ad break? Dave has new old Only Connect (1.20 and 6.20 weekdays), the Young Musician of the Year Concerts go out on Radio 3 (7.30 weekdays). It's the final of The Big Allotment Challenge (BBC2, 8pm Tue and Thu). Britain's Got Talent is scheduled for 7.30 next Saturday, but is subject to delay if the football runs long (that's except for viewers in Scotland, who got an unexplained edition of You've Been Framed last time). Last Amazing Greys at 8.50, and the folk on The Guess List include Eamonn Holmes, Nick Hewer, and the super Helen Skelton.

Photo credits: DR, Remedy / Argonon. The UK's National Domestic Violence helpline is 0808 2000 247.

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