In theme with our celebration of the 1982 contest, we have curated a list of fun facts that you might not know about the contest. How many times has Norway’s John Teigan tried to return to Eurovision after his 1982 appearance? How many members of Portugal’s Doce were part of another Eurovision band? What happened to cause France and Greece to not compete in 1982? All these questions and more will be answered!

The returning artists for 1982

In total the 1982 contest saw eight artists return to the contest in Harrogate, with four of them competing as solo artists in the contest for the first time. Stella Maessen of Belgium had the longest gap in between participation by only one year, having last competed in 1977 alongside one-half of Norway’s duo Anita Skorgan (Anita would return for Norway again in 1979).

It would be Maessen’s second time representing Belgium but third time at the contest, having represented Belgium in 1977 with the group Dream Express and the Netherlands in 1970. She also received a rare distinction of receiving points from all 18 participating countries despite finishing in 4th place. Her song was entirely in French, although Stella admits that she could hardly speak the language prior to Eurovision.

Fatima Padinha and Teresa Miguel also returned to represent Portugal as part of Doce, having previously participated as members of Gemini in 1978. It would be their fifth try to make it to Eurovision, as Gemini competed in the Portuguese national final in 1977 and 1978, and the members of Doce participated in the same national final in 1980, 1981, and 1982.

Norway’s previous participants Jahn Teigan and Anita Skorgan returned to the contest after Jahn’s 1978 participation and Anita Skorgan’s participation in 1977 and 1979.  Anita had performed in Melodi Grand Prix numerous times before 1982, and was also a co-writer on numerous Norwegian entries in the 1980s. Across their two careers, they were present at six contests over seven years (missing out on the 1980 contest).

Also returning was Anna Vissi representing Cyprus (she represented Greece in 1980 and would return for the 2006 contest for Greece again), and Sally Ann Triplett who was a member of the British group Prima Donna in 1980.

What happened to Greece and France?

The 1982 contest would see two staples of Eurovision pull out of the contest, with France pulling out well before the contest deadline. French broadcaster TF1 declined to participate in November of 1981, with head of entertainment Pierre Bouteiller citing the “lack of talent” and “mediocrity of the songs” as the reason. This would cause the country to miss out until 1983 when Antenne 2 (France 2) would step in to organize the country’s participation and has done so ever since.

Greece also pulled out, but their withdrawal happened two weeks before the contest. They were set to send Thermis Adamantidis with the song “Sarantapente kopelies”. To this day ERT has never revealed why the entry was withdrawn from the contest. According to the Eurovision website though, the reason is because ERT was unhappy with the entry.

The Harrogate hosting….Where is Harrogate?

When the contest was awarded to Harrogate for 1982, many Europeans likely had no clue where the host city was. In fact, John Kennedy O’Connor writer of “Eurovision Song Contest”: The Official History stated that the decision to host in a small town was a brave decision. He believed that “many European viewers would have never heard of Harrogate” and it “helped create a bit of a buzz and sense of intrigue about that year’s contest.”

And so came the idea for a map to open the contest as a whole. Before the host even stepped on the stage, the BBC played a clip of the phrase “Where is Harrogate” in each of the national languages of participating countries. Immediately after there was also a montage of shots around the town of Harrogate including a shot of a department store window that mentioned all the winners from the United Kingdom: Lulu (1969), Sandie Shaw (1967), Brotherhood of Man (1976), and of course Buck’s Fizz (1981).

Ireland’s 1970 winner Dana, who is from the Northern Ireland city of Derry (Northern Ireland has been part of the UK since 1920) was also featured in the window spread alongside the second Irish winner Johnny Logan (1980). It is unknown why Logan is featured in the window design as he is from Australia and resided in Ireland at the time.

Nicole’s landslide victory in Harrogate

Despite being part of the inaugural broadcast and every contest since (expect for the 1996 contest where they were relegated out), Germany has only won the contest twice. The first ever win for the country would of course happen there in Harrogate with Nicole’s song “Ein bißchen Frieden” and they would have to wait another 28 years to win again with Lena’s song “Satellite”.

Nicole would win the contest by 61 points, which seems like a small margin by today’s results but prior to that the largest gap between 1st and 2nd was only 32 points, the year Israel first won in 1978. This winning margin would not be broken for another 15 years, when Katrina and the Waves beat Ireland’s Marc Roberts by 70 points.

She also held the record for receiving 1.61 times as many points as the runner up for 27 years, when Norway’s Alexander Rybak scored 1.78 times as many points as Iceland in the final. This feat is extremely impressive as the contest was jury voting only until 1997, and then the contest moved to televoting until the 2009 semifinals (in 2001 and 2002 countries could choose between 100% televote or 50/50 voting).

Additional fun facts from Harrogate

  1. Despite winning the year prior, Buck’s Fizz did not appear at the 1982 contest to present Nicole with the winning trophy
  2. During the postcard an expert of each national anthem was played expect for with Israel and the United Kingdom. The Israeli postcard began with the traditional Jewish folk song “Have Nagila” and the UK had “Land of Hope and Glory” play.
  3. The Harrogate International Center was said to be so small that the first three rows of seats had to be removed so that the stage could be expanded for the contest. It was also the first event to take place within the venue’s auditorium.
  4. The UK’s Sally Ann Triplett has said that she was very fond of her time in Harrogate and knew she might lose to Nicole. She stated in an interview that the ongoing Falklands War and Nicole’s message of peace might have influenced her loss. She would go on to have a very successful musical theater career.
  5. The 1982 contest utilized state of the art technology to record the artists in Harrogate or the International Flower Festival, and some also included promotional videos of internally selected songs. Both of these were a first for the contest and would influence the postcards for years to come.

This contest is one of great music and performances, enjoyable postcards, and some artists that would impact the contest over the next two decades for sure. But hang tight as we have a second edition of 1982 fun facts coming your way tomorrow!

Did #YOU know all of these facts about the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!

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