Eurovision Song Contest in Ireland and in Colour

On this day in 1971 Ireland hosted the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time, the production was also one of the first home produced colour television programmes.

The 1970s saw tremendous investment by RTÉ in the new technology of colour television. The first broadcasts in colour had taken place in 1968, but it took a further five years of work before colour transmissions became a regular event on Irish television.

Colour was introduced into RTÉ in three phases. Firstly, relays of sports events and other programmes were taken from the Eurovision network. Secondly, colourisation of playback equipment allowed transmission of home-produced films and video productions. Lastly, the studios and Outside Broadcasting Units were converted to full working colour.

In 1976, 'The Late Late Show' finally went colour, the last major programme to undergo the change. By this year all studios, outside broadcast and film production units were full colour.
The Railway Cup Finals of 1971 was the first home-produced colour production, followed soon after by Ireland's first hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in April.

In this clip Bernadette Ní Ghallchóir introduces the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest from Dublin's Gaiety Theatre. The programme was one of the first home produced colour television programmes by RTÉ. The programme opens with a couple being taken by horse and carriage through St Stephen's Green and arriving at the Gaiety Theatre.

Bernadette Ní Ghallchóir introduces proceedings in Irish, French and English.

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