Britain’s Eurovision Song Contest entries: where are they now?

Guaranteed to provide a lift in dark times, Eurovision 2022 is set to flounce back on to screens. It starts on May 10, with the final taking place on May 14.

Britain’s representative this year is 32-year-old TikTok star Sam Ryder who came to fame covering songs on the social media platform during lockdown. With more than 12 million followers, he is the platform’s most followed British star. But that popularity could count for nothing with the judges in Turin, if his single Space Man doesn’t blow them into orbit. 

You can see how the Maldon-based singer fares by turning into the Grand Final on Saturday, May 14, which will be broadcast live from Turin at 8pm on BBC One. The event will be hosted by singers Mika and Laura Pausini and, as usual, Graham Norton will be on hand for eyebrows-raised presenting duties. 

After the innocuousness of Britain’s entry last year, James Newman, Ryder is a step back towards Eurovision’s outré extravagance. He looks like Jared Leto playing Jesus, and his vocal style is part Freddie Mercury falsetto, part made-for-YouTube autotune. But, as previous entries have proved, bigger isn’t always better at the event

After all, down the years we’ve had everyone from the unforgettable airline-themed Scooch to the woeful Liverpool duo Jemini (“nul points”). So gird yourselves, glitter-lovers, it’s time to look back at what happened next to all the British acts who’ve graced the Eurovision stage.

Where are the Eurovision Song Contest entries now?

1957: Patricia Bredin, ‘All’

“All the golden dreams of yesterday,” crooned Patricia Bredin, the young actress and amateur opera singer from Hull who became Britain’s first ever Eurovision contestant, when we joined the contest for its second year. (We would skip the next one, too.) At a nifty one minute and 52 seconds, All remains the UK’s shortest Eurovision entry.

Born in 1935, Bredin went on to appear in several films alongside Sid James and Richard Burton, before taking over from Julie Andrews as Guinevere in a Broadway production of Camelot. She then emigrated to Canada and took to raising cattle.

She was still performing as recently as 2007, and looks back at her Eurovision appearance fondly, although she was a bit baffled when she was first approached to take part in the contest. She had never watched TV before, and wasn’t sure what it involved. “Television? I’d never heard of it! I didn’t know what they were talking about,” she recalled in 2016.

1959: Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson, ‘Sing, Little Birdie’

Very much the Beyoncé and Jay Z of their day, Carr & Johnson were both popular and independently successful singers before their marriage in 1955. They arrived on Eurovision at the peak of their fame, which clearly helped: they placed second in that year’s contest.

After Eurovision, Johnson went on work as a Radio 2 DJ, and appeared in the TV children’s programme Crackerjack. In 1978, the couple starred together in a West End revival of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Follies. For many years, they lived together in Brinsworth House, an actors’ and artists’ retirement home in Twickenham. Teddy Johnson died in June 2018, and Pearl Carr followed in February 2020. They were both 98. 

1960: Bryan Johnson, ‘Looking High, High, High’

Our 1959 contestant Teddy Johnson had auditioned to represent the UK again in 1960, but found himself pipped to the post by his own brother, Bryan, an out-of-work actor. Like Teddy the year before, Bryan finished in second place.

Better known for his stage roles than his singing, Johnson gave several acclaimed performances in Shakespearean productions, taking comic roles alongside the famous (and famously histrionic) actor-director Sir Donald Wolfit. Recalling his part in Wolfit’s King Lear, the impresario called Johnson “the best Fool I ever had”. He died in 1995.

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