Eurovision could be held in Scotland after organisers opened talks with the UK about becoming host.
Ukraine’s act Kalush Orchestra won the 2022 event, but Russia’s invasion means it can’t fulfil the champion’s right to host.
Speculation is now rampant that it could take place in Scotland – most likely Glasgow – in 2023. Here’s why.
Hydro’s ‘diary is clear’
Eagle-eyed Eurovision fans have spotted that slots are clear for May at the OVO Hydro in Glasgow around the time it’s set to take place.
The venue coincidentally featured in Will Ferrell’s 2020 comedy The Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would be “happy to discuss” hosting the competition in Glasgow.
She later added that other venues in Scotland should be considered.
Sturgeon tweeted: “We wish Eurovision could be in Ukraine but understand that in circumstances this isn’t possible.
“However, I can think of a perfect venue on banks of the River Clyde!!
“@scotgov is happy to discuss with BBC, @GlasgowCC @EBU_HQ and others.”
Scotland has hosted only once in the competition’s 66-year history.
The BBC chose Edinburgh in 1971 after defending champion Monaco was unable to provide a suitable venue. It was the first time it had been held in the UK outside London.
Eurovision chiefs said on Friday that it was “with sadness and disappointment” that security and operational measures could not be guaranteed in crisis-hit Ukraine.
The UK finished as runner-up this year as Sam Ryder impressed viewers and judges with his song Spaceman – meaning they are next in line to host the competition.
A statement read: “The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most complex TV productions in the world with thousands working on, and attending, the event and 12 months of preparation time needed.
“Following objective analysis, the Reference Group, the ESC’s governing board, has with deep regret concluded that, given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organise and produce the Eurovision Song Contest cannot be fulfilled by [Ukrainian broadcaster] UA:PBC.
“The EBU would like to thank UA:PBC for their wholehearted cooperation and commitment in exploring all scenarios in the weeks since Kalush Orchestra’s win on May 14 in Turin and share their sadness and disappointment that next year’s Contest cannot be held in Ukraine.
“As a result of this decision, in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuity of the event, the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom. “