How many times has the UK won Eurovision?

Olly Alexander will represent the UK in Malmo at the 2024 contest

Olly Alexander performs during the Nordic Eurovision Party concert
Olly Alexander of Years & Years will represent the UK at Eurovision. (TT/AFP via Getty)

The UK will be hoping for its first Eurovision win in 27 years when Olly Alexander takes to the stage in Malmo, Sweden this weekend.

Five British acts have claimed the Eurovision trophy since the contest began in 1956. Only Ireland and Sweden have secured more wins, with seven apiece.

But victory for has proved elusive since Katrina and the Waves triumphed in 1997 – and the UK has become more used to the humiliation of nil points than topping the leaderboard.

Mae Muller finished second-last in Liverpool last year, following Sam Ryder's impressive second-place finish in Turin in 2022.

Ahead of the Eurovision 2024 grand final on Saturday, 13 May, here are all five of the UK's winners to date.

British Eurovision winner Sandie Shaw lies on the ground amongst autumn leaves
Sandie Shaw won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967. (Getty)

After five second-placed finishes, the UK scored its first Eurovision win in 1967 thanks to Sandie Shaw.

Puppet on a String became her third UK number-one single – a first for a female artist at the time – and also topped the charts across Europe.

But the London-born singer later admitted she "hated" the track. "I was instinctively repelled by its sexist drivel and cuckoo-clock tune," she wrote in her 1991 autobiography.

Its co-writer Phil Coulter hit back at her comments in a 2015 interview, saying: "Sandie Shaw is not one of the greatest brains in the world." He added: "She is very dismissive of a song that, by any standard, she should feel a debt to."

She re-recorded the song in 2007 before retiring from the music industry in 2013.

Lulu performing a song wearing a floral dress at Eurovision 1969
Lulu is the only Scottish artist to have won Eurovision. (Cover/Getty)

Scottish singer Lulu secured another victory for the UK two years later, with her performance of Boom Bang-a-Bang. She shared the top spot with France, Netherlands and Spain, with 18 points apiece.

The song was a major hit across Europe and reached number two on the UK charts, behind Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through the Grapevine.

The BBC banned it from airplay during the Gulf War in 1991, as its lyrics were deemed inappropriate, despite them having nothing to do with war.

Eurovision winners Brotherhood of Man standing outside a row of houses
Brotherhood of Man's Save Your Kisses For Me is the biggest-selling Eurovision song ever. (PA via Getty)

Nine years after Lulu's victory, Brotherhood of Man made history with their winning song.

Save Your Kisses For Me reached number one in 33 countries and shifted six million copies, becoming the biggest-selling Eurovision song ever, according to PRS.

The band's manager Tony Hiller put the song's success down to their TV appearances in France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland the year before the contest.

Speaking to the BBC in 2015, singer Nicky Stevens said: "We're still in the Guinness Book of Records as getting the highest number of votes and it's still the biggest-selling Eurovision song in Britain. We really felt like the whole of the UK was right behind us. Very magical, wonderful feeling."

Eurovision winners Bucks Fizz holding a medal
Bucks Fizz won the contest in 1981. (PA via Getty)

Pop quartet Bucks Fizz won Eurovision after being formed specifically to enter the 1981 contest.

Making Your Mind Up went on to sell four million copies and BBC Radio 2 listeners voted it their all-time favourite UK Eurovision song in a 2013 poll.

But the group are perhaps best remembered for their stage act, where the two male members ripped off the skirts of Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston.

Reflecting on the track in a 2021 interview with The Independent, Aston said: "The song is quite magical. It cuts across, it's a silly song that's just got something.

"I think it broke some boundaries and people couldn't help but kinda like it… It's amazing how many complete strangers come up to me when I'm shopping, choosing some cereal or something, and they say, are you making your mind up?"

Katrina And The Waves at Eurovision 1997
Katrina and the Waves won Eurovision in 1997 with Love Shine a Light. (PA via Getty)

Katrina and the Waves were the last UK act to take the title, with their gentle ballad Love Shine a Light.

But the band's former singer, Katrina Leskanich, believes it was overlooked in the UK at the time due to the popularity of "druggy and upbeat" Britpop music.

Speaking in 2020, she said: "People talk about the UK and Eurovision and they will always think of Making Your Mind Up and Bucks Fizz.

"I remember winning with Love Shine a Light and feeling a little bit as it... I know Tony Blair and the Labour Party had just come into power and it was a great time – it was a really up time.

"It was very 90s and the music was very… druggy and upbeat. I don't feel as if Love Shine a Light got quite the look-in that other winners got because of the circumstances."

The Eurovision 2024 final is on BBC One at 8pm on Saturday, 11 May