Monday, 5 May 2014

Eurovision - A very special edition

Hello folks and welcome to a very special edition of my Eurovision specials.

The year was 1981, the date 4th April and in Dublin the Eurovision Song Contest was taking place. Jay Aston, Cheryl Baker, Bobby G and Mike Nolan, otherwise known as Bucks Fizz were representing the UK with Making Your Mind Up. With the German entry hot on their heels on the scoreboard, Bucks Fizz won by the smallest of margins. The rest is history.
33 years later and after several million record sales, sell out tours, countless television appearances, solo careers and many other things, it is with great delight and just a little bit of giddiness that I welcome original member Cheryl Baker to this Q&A special.
View photo in message

D. Hi Cheryl. Many thanks for taking time out from Happy Days for this Q&A special.

C. It's a pleasure.

D. Shall we start?

C. Fire away.

D. Other than winning the contest, what were your personal highlights from Eurovision 1981?

C. My personal highlight from winning Eurovision 1981 for me  was
afterwards when we got back to the  hotel and I rang home.  At that
time I lived in a council flat in Bethnal Green, East London and had
done all my life.  My sister answered the phone and screamed when she
heard my voice.  There were masses of cheers as our tiny flat was
rammed with friends, family and neighbours.  Sheila, my sister, told me
that when we were announced as winners, the whole block of flats
erupted - with people opening their windows and cheering on the
landings.  Although at that time I had just won possibly the biggest
international prize in music, my heart was in Bethnal Green with my
family.  After speaking to everyone, I could go back down to the
celebrations in the hotel and really start to enjoy myself.

D. Were you and the rest of Bucks Fizz confident the song would win?

C. The only one in the group who was confident that we would win was
Mike Nolan.  We were in Dublin for a week before the competition and
Mike was confident right up to the actual day, 4 April. When you hear
the other songs so often in rehearsals they start to grow on you and
this is what happened with Mike.  He said our biggest competition was
Germany and Switzerland and he was right - we beat Germany into second
place by just 4 points!

D. If you could travel back to Eurovision 1981 and perform for  a  different country, which one would you choose and why? Bare in mind it has to be a country that participated in the contest.

C. The country I would have chosen to perform for other than the UK
back in 1981 would have been  Ireland.  It was a 3 girl harmony group
and, as I love singing harmony, it would have suited me fine plus they
wore gorgeous dresses and they sang in English, a definite bonus with
me as I can't speak any other language!

D. How do you think Bucks Fizz would fare if they represented the UK today with the same song?

C. I would love to say Bucks Fizz could win today if we entered the
competition but in reality I am absolutely sure we wouldn't.  We were
perfect for 1981 but music has moved on and "Making Your Mind Up" would
be far too "cheesy" for today's competition which, I believe, is very
sophisticated now. 

D. What are your thoughts on today's Eurovision?

C. I think today's Eurovision is fantastic.  You cannot compare it
to when we won in 1981 -  just have a look on YouTube and see the
difference.  Ours was done in a television studio with barely any
staging.  Nowadays, the Eurovision is held in massive arenas with
fantastic lights, special effects and stage set.  Although we haven't
done very well in the votes  in the past few years (an
understatement!), I still think the competition as a television
programme is superior.

D. Throughout the history of the contest, who has been your favourite UK entry?

C. It is hard to say who my favourite UK entry is as I am such a
Eurovision fan that I have loved them all (well almost). I loved the
New Seekers in 1972 with Beg, Steal or Borrow, Prima Donna in 1980 with
Love Enough For Two, Sweet Dreams in 1983 with I'm Never Giving Up and
Scooch in 2007 with Flying The Flag.  Funny that they are all girl/boy

D. And who do you feel was the best act ever?

C. I suppose my all time favourite Eurovision act is Abba but I also
loved Nicole, Gigliola Cinquetti, Severine, Vicky Leandros and
Anne-Marie David.

D. Personally, I would love to see Mika represent the UK in a future contest. Who would you love to see?

C. I would love a band like Girls Aloud to represent the UK, or even
better Little Mix.

D. Do you think any of today's songwriters could write a winning song for the UK and if so, who?

C. Of course, any of today's song writers could write a winning
song, probably the safest bet as he writes so prolifically would be
Gary Barlow. 

D. Now for some Bucks Fizz questions. Of all the brilliant songs the group recorded, which are in your top 3 and why?

C. It is difficult for me to choose my absolute favourite but it
would be between Now Those Days Are Gone, New Beginning and Land of
Make Believe.   NTDAG is a favourite because of the vocal harmonies,
LOMB is because it reminds me of Christmas 1981 and NB because it is
such a powerful track.  I am personally very proud of all three of

D. And your favourite album? Mine is Hand Cut.

C. My favourite album is our second, Are You Ready?

D. You're currently touring with the Happy Days musical. How is it going and will we see you in the West End?

C. I am loving Marion Cunningham in Happy Days, The Musical,
although my first love is singing with Mike and Jay.  Acting is far
more stressful for me!  There is hope that the show will go into the
West End but nothing is written in stone yet.

D. Describe your perfect day.

C. My perfect day is getting up early and walking my dogs for ages,
and then coming home to have breakfast with Steve and the girls.
Doing an Asda shop, with my daughter, Kyla, having an amazing Sunday
roast dinner and then settling in front of the TV to watch Mr Selfridge
and Call The Midwife.

D. Your Twitter profile states "Refuse to grow old gracefully". Is this still the plan?

C. I absolutely  refuse to grow old gracefully.  I will continue to
wear too much make up, bleach my hair and wear inappropriate clothes.
Age is a number  - in my heart I am still a teenager. 

D. One final question. What is next for Cheryl Baker?

C. After Happy Days, The Musical, I will be working with Mike and
Jay doing festivals and eighties gigs up and down the country and
abroad.  Hope to see some of you there.

D. Many thanks Cheryl. It has been a pleasure talking with you today.

C. Thank you.

To find out where Cheryl, Jay and Mike will be performing this year and much more, pay a visit to their official website at

To see Cheryl in the fabulous Happy Days - The Musical, check the official website for venues and dates at 

And that folks is my Eurovision special. A massive thank you to Cheryl and the best of luck for all her future projects. Also, many thanks to Cheryl's PA Elaine for all her help and for putting up with my constant barrage of emails.

All that remains is my top 3 acts for this years contest. Those who almost made it include Finland, F.Y.R Macedonia, Israel, Italy and San Marino. Here's hoping it's 3rd time lucky for Valentina Monetta who so deserved to be in the final for San Marino last year.
The lucky 3 this year are:

1. Conchita Wurst with "Rise Like a Phoenix (Austria)
2. Axel Hirsoux with "Mother" (Belgium)
3. Ruth Lorenzo with "Dancing in  the Rain (Spain)

Tune in to BBC One/BBC One HD 10th May for the contest live from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Until next time, I bid thee farewell.