London, July 25 (IANS) The UK will be hosting the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine.
The news was revealed by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the BBC on Monday, reports 'Variety'.
Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra won the 2022 contest with the UK's Sam Ryder placing second.
It is customary for the winning country to host the following year's contest, but in light of Russia's continuing invasion of Ukraine, it will be held in the UK next year on behalf of this year's winning broadcaster, Ukraine's UA:PBC, reports 'Variety'.
"Following the decision that, regrettably, next year's event could not be held in Ukraine for safety and security reasons the EBU explored a number of options with the winning broadcaster. As a result of discussions, the BBC, as runner up in the 2022 Contest, was invited by the EBU to act as Host Broadcaster for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest," the EBU said in a statement.
Next year's host city will be chosen in the coming months following a bidding process to be launched this week. The BBC will manage the bidding alongside the EBU and expects the process to be completed by the fall.
The two semi-finals and grand final will be produced by BBC Studios, who were previously commissioned to produce Eurovision 2023 coverage before there were any discussions about the contest coming to the UK. The BBC will also be seeking additional programming and content from producers across the market.
The dates for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be announced imminently.
Tim Davie, director general of the BBC, said: "It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.
"The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity. The BBC will now begin the process to find a Host City to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the U.K. in 2023."
The BBC has staged the Eurovision Song Contest more times than any other broadcaster, hosting in London in 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977, Edinburgh in 1972, Brighton in 1974, Harrogate in 1982 and Birmingham in 1998.
Martin Osterdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest's executive supervisor, said: "We're exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023."
"The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions. Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year's contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe's most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year's winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event."
Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of the managing board of UA:PBC, added: "The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine. We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us. I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent."
"Representatives from UA: PBC will work with the BBC to develop and implement the Ukrainian elements of next year's shows. Ukraine, as the winning country of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, will also automatically qualify to the grand final of the upcoming contest," Chernotytskyi said.
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