Away from the public gaze preparations are taking place in Dublin for the 42nd Eurovision Song Contest.

In just 24 hours 300 million viewers will tune in to watch the 42nd Eurovision Song Contest broadcast live from the Point Theatre Dublin, the largest TV satellite transmission in the world.

This is the fourth time in five years that Ireland and RTÉ will host the Eurovision Song Contest. Tomorrow night Ireland will have the distinction of having hosted the competition seven times in total.

RTÉ's largest Outside Broadcast (OB) Unit is at The Point and it is from here that the images of the performances will be mixed as they go out live on air. A lot of work goes on in the background, as director Ian McGarry explains,

So that by Saturday night you'll have a perfect show.

Director of TV Programmes at RTÉ Liam Miller says although the cost to RTÉ is significant, the event is an investment in showcasing Ireland.

Particularly from a tourism point of view.

One Irish innovation for Eurovision is a viewing room, where artistes can view their rehearsal performances. The RTÉ production team benefits from the feedback, and performers feel confident about how things will go on the big night says viewing room interpreter Pauline Bracken,

Making them feel, this is my song, I'm going to get out there and win Eurovision.

The Eurovision Song Contest is just as much a musical tour of Europe as it is a contest says musical director Frank McNamara and such a creative mix is a good thing,

That's how music grows and develops.

Wardrobe supervisor Tony Murphy ensures that what the artistes wear will look good on TV. Gary Kavanagh creative director at Peter Mark is chief Eurovision hairdresser. Fourteen makeup artists on the night will work under the direction of RTÉ makeup artist Antoinette Forbes-Curham. All the styles have been agreed on beforehand, as

Everybody's made up differently.

With a preparation time of six months, Eurovision is quite a different type of show than most production staff are used to says executive producer Noel Curran who is looking forward to tomorrow night,

I'm actually delighted that it's happening.

Details of what the set will look like has been kept under wraps from the media, but production designers Paula Farrell and John Cassey are pleased with the results,

It's a lovely use of space.

A 'Nationwide' report broadcast on 2 May 1997. The reporter is Diarmuid Peavoy.