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The Year Franco Stole the Eurovision

“What will come 2nd to Congratulations?” pondered the press in the run-up to the final of the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest, which was staged at the Royal Albert Hall in London. “Congratulations,” performed by Cliff Richard, and went on to sell over 250 million records, was the runaway favourite to win. Phil Coulter and Bill Martin – the pair who composed Sandie Shaw’s winning entry, Puppet On A String, a year earlier – wrote the song. However, everyone was in for a huge, huge shock. Cliff Richard was pipped to the post by Spanish singer, 20-year-old Massiel. The rumour mill went into overdrive with accusations that General Franco rigged the competition. Why would the Spanish dictator be interested in interfering in a song contest? And did he actually do it... (First Broadcast 2014)

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