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ESC Reporter | February 22, 2018

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BBC ignites fury as poignant refugee tribute act is replaced with meatball skit

BBC ignites fury as poignant refugee tribute act is replaced with meatball skit
Iain Cameron

As a resident of the UK, the online comments regarding the refugee tribute act during Semi Final 1 of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 came as a big surprise to me…because it was replaced with a skit about one of the British co-commentators (Mel Giedroyc) hosting a meatball restaurant in Stockholm.

While Mel has received mixed reviews about her presenting style, this was not the issue during Semi-Final 1. Her light-hearted mini-show that involved interviewing this year’s contestants in a meatball restaurant overrode the very important message about the current refugee crisis affecting Europe and the acceptance that they ought to be shown in light of the situation developing in Syria. Khlaed Alesmael (a Syrian refugee himself) who now works as a journalist in Sweden has said of the performance:

“It is art about human beings. It is a good way to remind the audience of more than two million about the suffering of refugees, and the importance of integration.”


The BBC has a history of interrupting the host country’s broadcast and inserting their own material during the two semi finals. The meatball shop performance by Mel (for which there is currently no video content available) was not a new concept for 2016; she has been in charge of Mel’s Cake Shop in 2015 (video below) and so is a continuation on a theme. The BBC released a statement saying:

The BBC opts out of the main broadcast at various points and has not shown the semi-final interval act for a number of years.¬†Viewers in the UK who wanted to watch uninterrupted coverage of what happened in the arena could do so via, as mentioned on air live during the broadcast itself.”


Do you think the BBC should use the content contributed by the host country or do you think it is okay for them to use their own interval acts? Sound off in the comments below!



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