Eurovision 2019: BBC apologises after semi-final is cut off air

Chris Edwards
Contributor
Portugal performing in the Eurovision 2019 semi-final (BBC Four)

The first semi-final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 was unexpectedly cut short on Tuesday after a technical glitch on BBC Four took the programme off air.

The BBC subsequently issued an apology at the end of the broadcast, which came to a premature end as the successful contestants were celebrating.

A message was promptly displayed on the screen, which read: "We are sorry for the break in this programme and are trying to correct the fault.”

The broadcast eventually returned, but by the point the celebrations were already over, leaving only the credits to watch.

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The technical glitch occurred at the exact same time the programme was scheduled to end, according to the TV listings.

The 10 countries who made it through to Saturday’s final had just been announced before the screens went black and the statement from the BBC appeared.

Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, Czech Republic, Australia, Iceland, San Marino and Slovenia were all successful in the semi-finals and will now get to join the action on Saturday.

10 more countries will be looking to join them in the final as they compete in the second semi-final on Thursday.

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This year’s final, which will be held in Tel Aviv in Israel, has been a source of debate as a number of campaigns have called for the competition to boycotted due to the Israeli conflict currently taking place in the Gaza Strip.

However, Rachel Riley, Stephen Fry, Sharon Osborne and various other stars from the entertainment industry have since signed a counter-petition, calling for the show to go ahead as planned.

The petition states that Eurovision’s “spirit of togetherness” is “under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division”.