Eurovision 2023: BBC confirms song contest will take place in UK - and this Yorkshire city could be in the running to host

The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the UK next year, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the BBC have confirmed.

A statement from BBC director-general Tim Davie 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 UK in 2023.”

Kalush Orchestra - Ukraine's entry to the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest

Next year’s Host City will be chosen in the coming months following a bidding process to be launched this week.

Several mayors, councillors, and MPs have already informally expressed interest - including Leeds officials.

Back in June, Leeds City Council leader James Lewis and Councillor Jonathan Pryor released a statement that said it “goes without saying” that Leeds would bid for the event.

“Leeds has already proved that it has the capability and capacity to host major international events and ASM Global successfully hosted Eurovision in the Avicii Arena, Stockholm Sweden in 2016,” they said.

Sam Ryder, Eurovision entrant and the runner-up of the 2022 singing competition

“Given that we will be mid-way through the Leeds 2023 year of culture, it could not come at a better time.

"We are extremely disappointed that Ukraine will be unable to host in 2023, but it would be an honour to host on behalf of them, especially given that West Yorkshire is home to a large number of Ukrainians.

“If we are successful with our bid, we will be looking to get the local Ukrainian community involved with our plans as much as possible.”

However, it remains to be seen whether the Yorkshire city will officially enter the running.

Other cities that have informally expressed an interest include Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Swindon and Wolverhampton.

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After it was announced the UK will host Eurovision in 2023, Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of the managing board of Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC, said: “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.”

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.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would “put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends”.

He said that in talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week they “agreed that wherever Eurovision 2023 is held, it must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine”.

“As we are now hosts, the UK will honour that pledge directly – and put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends,” Mr Johnson said.