Britain was humiliated this weekend when the UK entry, James Newman, was awarded no points from neither the national juries and the public — meaning he came last in the competition. While this is not the first time the UK has found itself towards the bottom of the Eurovision scoreboard, the show remains immensely popular among British audiences. Statistics revealed 7.4million watched the competition on BBC One, as audiences peaked at 8.4million — and at one point had a 48.5 percent audience share.
SNP MP for Stirling, Alyn Smith, blamed Britain’s lack of success in the talent contest in the way the BBC presents the programme.
Speaking in 2018, when he was an MEP, he told The Sunday Herald: “It’s a little bit snide and grudging the way the BBC does it.”
He may have been referring to the cynical commentary which was first introduced by the late presenter Terry Wogan — he provided the voiceover for the British broadcast, always shared on BBC One, up until 2009.
He was then replaced by fellow presenter Graham Norton, who also injects some humour into his commentary when introducing each country’s act.
However, Mr Smith explained how Eurovision is a missed opportunity.
He said: “This is a shop window and a stage on which we could shine whereas the way that the BBC does it still is, ‘this is a bit of camp nonsense and it’s rubbish, and it’s great because it’s rubbish, and it’s great because it’s camp.’”
He continued: “There’s a reticence on behalf of serious artists to say they’d go for Eurovision because of the way it’s done in the UK whereas across the rest of the EU it’s a big gig, a big showcase.”
He also called for a rotation system in the UK, meaning each home nation would have the chance to contribute a contestant for Eurovision every four years.
A similar system is already in place for international sports competitions, when Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales enter separately.
He went on to pitch the plan to the European Broadcasting Union, the producers of Eurovision — of which the BBC is one.
Although the first independence referendum saw a majority of Scots vote to remain in the UK, the EU referendum saw the Scottish public support staying in the bloc as opposed to leaving.
The SNP have since renewed their call for an independent Scotland to be a member of the European Union following Brexit.
Many also pointed the finger of blame at Brexit for the UK’s poor performance in Eurovision this year.
Another member of the SNP then faced backlash after she said Scotland “hates the United Kingdom too” in response to the vote.
Cllr Rhiannon Spear, the SNP’s National Women’s Convenor, wrote on Twitter: “It’s ok Europe we hate the United Kingdom too.
“Love, Scotland. #Eurovision”
The Scottish Tories hit back and claimed it was another example of the party’s “toxic obsession with division”.
Cllr Spear later apologised for the tweet and said in a statement: “I have now deleted this tweet about the UK’s results in the Eurovision Song Contest and apologise for any offence caused.”
The historic property, named Kinmel Hall, is located near Abergele, Clwyd in Conwy and is in need of major renovation. It has been listed with a guide price of £750k, but sell for much more depending on interest when it is auctioned off in May.
According to Rightmove, where the estate and its surrounding buildings are currently listed, it was designed by the architect WE Nesfield in the style of the Palace of Versailles in Paris.
Kinmel Hall has 365 windows, 122 rooms and 12 entrances, making it suitable for a range of purposes depending on who buys it.
So far, the estate has operated as a private home, health spa, military hospital and even a conference centre, but since 1999 it has remained unused.
The buildings span an area in excess of 80,000 square feet, with the overall site encompassing 17.51 acres.
Kinmel Hall has 365 windows, 122 rooms and 12 entrances (Image: Rightmove / Off the Ground)
The estate is in need of a refurbishment. (Image: Rightmove / Allsop)
Kinmel Hall’s current state is clear from the images included in the listing, with some parts of the property starting to crumble.
In its present form, it comes complete with a large central staircase, huge formal rooms, a chapel and even a courtyard stable block.
The main building was completed in 1850 by owner Hugh Roberts Hughes, who used profits from a copper mining enterprise on Anglesey to build the lavish property.
Its current hall is thought to be the third version built on the Kinmel Estate and was constructed around 1874-76.
Its current hall is thought to be the third version built on the Kinmel Estate. (Image: Rightmove / Allsop)
The property’s guide price at auction is £750,000. (Image: Rightmove / Off the Ground)
The estate’s surrounding gardens were designed by Mr Nesfield’s father, with a Venetian-style in mind to complete the luxurious grounds.
The building has been given Grade I status because of its periodic features and distinctive design, as well as being considered as a historic part of the region.
It is even believed that Queen Victoria visited it in 1870 and presented the property with carved wooden panels to show her royal approval, though these were reportedly stolen in 2013.
Commenting on what is thought to be Wales’ largest country house, one local resident said: “It’s essential that Kinmel Hall’s new owner has the vision, dedication and finances to ensure a prosperous future for this hugely important site as part of the region’s economy and community. This needs to include an appreciation of its architectural, historical and cultural significance.”
The property comes complete with a chapel. (Image: Rightmove / Off the Ground)
Another said: “Like Versailles it should come into public ownership.”
A third added: “The Welsh government should take it and open it to the public.”
Similarly, someone else said: “Open to the public, or affordable housing. Sick of properties running to waste so the developers can knock it down and build luxury flats rather than preserve listed features.”
In February 2021, a campaigning group called The Friends of Kinmel Hall petitioned the Conwy County Borough Council to help protect the building.
Speaking to North Wales Live at the time, Rosie Burton, a spokeswoman for The Friends of Kinmel Hall, said: “We are asking them (the council) to proceed with an Urgent Works Notice, which will at least protect the hall from any further damage and make it secure, and proceed with a compulsory purchase.
The buildings span an area in excess of 80,000 square feet. (Image: Rightmove / Allsop)
“I understand there are a number of potential purchasers so the council would not be at much risk of funding repairs to the damage as they could do a ‘back-to-back’ agreement, which means they compulsorily purchase it and sell it on the same day.”
The building is believed to have been sold to British Virgin Islands registered Acer Properties Ltd for £1.45m in 2011, who are thought to still currently own the estate.
It has been listed on Save Britain’s Heritage ‘buildings at risk’ register for several years, with the charity joining the fight to save it just last month.
The estate is being marketed jointly by Allsop and Carter Jonas and will appear at auction on May 13.