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King Charles III and Queen Consort officially unveil lavish Eurovision staging

The Royal couple at the Liverpool Eurovision set

His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort visited Liverpool Arena today (April 26, 2023) to see the preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 and officially unveil the set and stage for the event.

They were joined by Tim Davie, BBC director-general, for a tour and met staff from the creative team, as well as apprentices getting the arena ready to host the world’s largest live music event.

They were then invited to light and animate the arena with the set designer and sound and lighting directors, revealing the Eurovision staging for the very first time.

The royal party also chatted to Eurovision hosts including Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina, Emmy-Award winning actress Hannah Waddingham and BBC Radio 2 commentators Rylan and Scott Mills. They also met the UK’s entrant for the 2023 contest, Mae Muller, and music director of Eurovision 2023 Kojo Samuel.

The set was revealed to a soundtrack of the Eurovision theme composed by Michael Nekrasov, the event’s Ukrainian composer.

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Julio Himede's impressive Eurovision set
Julio Himede’s impressive Eurovision set

Blue Peter presenters Abby Cook, Joel Mawhinney and Mwaksy Mudenda were also on hand to present their Majesties with a coveted Gold Blue Peter badge each – the long-running show’s highest honour, albeit one that pales next to the further gilded trinkets awaiting King Charles at his May 6 coronation.

King Charles is no stranger to Blue Peter. The monarch appeared on the show in 2018 when he met competition winners who had designed dragon statues for the great pagoda at Kew Gardens, and in 1982 he was interviewed by Blue Peter about his 15 x Great Uncle (according to royal historian Robert Stedall’s calculations) Henry VIII’s ship The Mary Rose, showing the audience artefacts from the wreck and speaking about its preservation.

Blue Peter editor Ellen Evans said: “It was a real honour to introduce Their Majesties to our Blue Peter fans ahead of the forthcoming Coronation celebrations and for them to hear how they earned their badges.  Blue Peter receives over a thousand letters, pictures, competition entries and comments every week so it was also lovely to show them some of the amazing artwork sent in by our viewers.”

Tim Davie, BBC director-general and official royal tour guide, said: “It is an honour that His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort have come here today to reveal the fantastic staging for our Eurovision Song Contest programming. This set will be the focal point for all of the celebrations and we cannot wait to see it lighting up Liverpool and TV screens across the world.”

Martin Green CBE, managing director of Eurovision, added: “We are thrilled His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort have unveiled this landmark moment for 2023 Eurovision. It has been a fantastic collaboration between all of our partners and the BBC to get to this point and now the stage is officially set to capture everyone’s imaginations and bring together audiences from across the world.”

Designed by Julio Himede, who has previously designed staging and sets for musical shindigs the MTV VMAs and the Grammies, the impressive stage has been designed on the principles of togetherness, celebration and community. Across more than 450 square metres of staging, the set brings together another 220 square metres of independently moving and turning video screens, over 700 video tiles integrated into the floor and more than 1,500 metres of LED lights.

Following the visit to the Arena, HM The Queen Consort dropped into The Big Eurovision Read pop-up reading den outside Liverpool Central Library. Led by The Reading Agency and supported by BBC Arts, the Big Eurovision Read is a reading-for-pleasure campaign celebrating music and reading, to mark the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in May, with Semi-Finals on May 9 and 11 and the Grand Final on May 13. The event is organised by the European Broadcasting Union and watched annually by around 160m people. It is typically the world’s most-watched live TV event outside of major sporting finals and news events of global significance.

The BBC is this year’s host broadcaster and lead organiser, working closely with Liverpool City Council, the European Broadcasting Union, Suspilne Ukraine (Ukraine’s public broadcaster) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

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