Home » Eurovision 2024: Joanna Lumley to announce UK jury scores

Eurovision 2024: Joanna Lumley to announce UK jury scores

Mark Savage,BBC music correspondent

Getty Images Dame Joanna LumleyGetty Images

Joanna Lumley was made a Dame in the 2021 Queen’s New Year Honours list

Dame Joanna Lumley will front the UK’s jury at next week’s Eurovision Song Contest, the BBC has revealed.

It means that the star of Absolutely Fabulous and Fool Me Once will reveal the jury’s scores during the competition’s grand final in Malmo, Sweden.

“I am delighted to be announcing the jury vote for the UK at this year’s Eurovision,” said the actress in a statement.

“It’s such a fabulous honour to give the iconic ‘douze points’!”

The news was revealed by Eurovision commentator Graham Norton during Friday’s episode of The One Show.

He joked that Dame Joanna might read out the results as Patsy – her outrageously boozy character from the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.

“Glassful of champagne, fistful of cigarettes. Yeah, do it,” he laughed.

Dame Joanna follows in the footsteps of comedian Catherine Tate, who fronted the jury last year, as well as previous alumni Nigella Lawson, Mel Giedroyc, Richard Osman and Cheryl Baker.

Each country’s jury is populated by five music professionals, who judge the finalists on their music and lyrics, assigning points to their 10 favourite acts.

Last year, the UK panel gave the maximum 12 points to the eventual winner, Swedish singer Loreen.

A separate televote also saw the UK public award Loreen five points.

Controversy in Sweden

Dame Joanna started her career as a model in the 1960s before transitioning into acting.

She was a Bond girl in the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and later had a brief but memorable role as Elaine Perkins in Coronation Street.

Her first major part was in the TV action series The New Avengers, where she played the British intelligence agent Purdy.

She won a Bafta for her role as the outrageously boozy former model Patsy in the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, and was nominated for a Tony Award after appearing in the Broadway revival of La Bête in 2011.

Ten years later, she was made a Dame in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for her services to drama, entertainment and charity.

She will deliver the UK’s Eurovision scores in a year when controversy over Israel’s participation has overshadowed the contest.

Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU Eden Golan at rehearsals for the Eurovision Song ContestSarah Louise Bennett / EBU

Eden Golan will represent Israel at this year’s contest

Musicians and politicians in several countries called for the country to be suspended while the Israel-Gaza war continues.

Organisers have resisted calls for the country to be suspended, saying the show “is not a contest between governments”.

However, Israel was forced to change the lyrics of its song October Rain, after officials decided the original was too political.

The first version was widely considered to be a reference the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel, with some lyrics paying tribute to the victims. It has now been rewritten under the revised title Hurricane.

Several pro-Palestinian protests are planned for Malmo next week in the run-up to the contest, and the Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli contestant Eden Golan had arrived at the contest with “three times” the usual number of security guards.