8 November – A beautiful new star has lit up

That first entry. Always daunting for a broadcaster. What will Europe think of us? How will we do? Will we have the money to take part every year?

Back in the 1960s, participation was easier. Eurovision was a cosy evening’s entertainment that was all done and dusted in a couple of hours. In 1961, Finland exercised its vocal chords for the first time, and sent today’s birthday girl Laila Kinnunen. There was no Saaaaara Aaaaaalto, no Ossi Runne, no Sonja Lumme. Just Laila and a conductor. How quaint. Laila and her song came 10th. Left-hand side of the scoreboard these days, but in a field of 16 meant the bottom half. However, at least she didn’t finish last. Sadly, Laila died in 2000.

Laila would have been 80 today.