A History of Scoreboards

Being a series of photographs of scoreboards, arranged chronologically, and annotated by an idiot.

1956 - Switzerland

No scoreboard.

1957 - Germany
[song# - title - score]

Here's the first scoreboard in Eurovision: a simple affair: songs arranged in order of performance and a running total displayed alongside on cards.

1958 - Netherlands
[song# - title - points - score]

Rollers replace the cards, with an extra column to indicate the points given by each announcing jury.

1959 - France
[song# - title - score - nation]

This is the first outing for what will be a regular board in the early days of Eurovision. A movable arrow points to the leading nation, while a woman with a stick indicates anything else of import.

1960 - United Kingdom
[title - score - nation]

A clearer scoreboard, but it requires a camera tilt if we are to see the nations near the bottom.  Arrows, this time on rollers, indicate the leader or leaders as required.

1961 - France
[song# - title - score - nation - song#]

A reworking of the 1959 scoreboard with an extra column on the right.

1962 - Luxembourg
[song# - title - score - nation - song#]

Essentially the same as the French scoreboard.

1963 - United Kingdom
[song# - nation - score - title]

The UK shuffle things about a bit in an effort to create a clearer table. The arrow to denote the leader is now illuminated instead of being on a slider.

1964 - Denmark
[nation - points - score]

We only have a few excerpts of the 1964 contest but it appears to be the same scoreboard used next year. It's a real wonder that at first glance looks like some sort of DNA breakdown. It's actually a bar chart on a scale from 0 to 70, numbered at tens, and shaded in blocks of five (dark 'grey' / light 'grey') and one (inverted 'greys'). Awarded points are indicated by die-face lights in the arrow device at the side of the country name, while the total score is given on the mechanical bar chart. It's a work of Tuftean beauty.

1965 - Italy
[nation - code - points - score]

A repeat of the 1964 scoreboard. But now you get to actually see it because the footage still exists. I mean, look at it! The only change here is the addition of the country code in brackets, right-aligned after the country name.

1966 - Luxembourg
[title - score - nation]

Luxembourg return to the classic design, albeit this time without the song numbers.

1967 - Austria
[points - nation - code - score]

The number of contestants is now sufficiently large as to suggest a two-columned scoreboard. To break it up a little the Austrians have opted to include four apparently functionless circles after each entry.

1968 - United Kingdom
[nation - score]

To celebrate the arrival of colour in understated style, the UK give us a spot of classy minimalism, all gilt and wood like the dashboard of a Rover 75.

1969 - Spain
[code - nation - score]

Fascist Spain opt for a similar minimalist approach albeit backlit and futuristic like something from a Kubrick film.

1970 - Netherlands
[nation# - nation - code - points - score]

This scoreboard is amazingly little-changed from the last time Holland hosted, in 1958. The only difference is that nation's names (and vehicle codes) replace the song-titles.

1971 - Ireland
[nation - score]

More minimalism, but this time it's electronic minimalism!

1972 - United Kingdom
[nation - score]

Similar to the 1968 scoreboard, but with a new skin.

1973 - Luxembourg
[nation - score]

Ah... the old classic! But now in two columns, and with a blinking arrow rather than a mechanical one to indicate the leader.

1974 - United Kingdom
[nation - score]

The same UK scoreboard design as the last couple of times, but now with back-lighting to indicate the awarding jury. This is the last outing for a mechanical board.

1975 - Sweden
[nation - score]

A very stripped-down approach, and the second electronic scoreboard in the contest's history. A constant light indicates the awarding jury while a blinking light indicates the nation to whom points are being allocated.

1976 - Netherlands
[nation - code - score]

This arrivals board is a little cluttered. The awarding jury (in this case Germany) flashes as it reports.

1977 - United Kingdom
[nation - flag - score]

Flags appear for the first time, and the leader's score can be made to blink when deemed appropriate.

1978 - France
[nation - score]

A very basic design, enlivened by the iridescent title and the Thomas Crown Affair split-screen production that combines shots of the scoreboard, the presenters and the green room. 

1979 - Israel
[nation - score]

The white balls appear to serve no function and just get in the way.

1980 - Netherlands
[nation - score]

Rather reminiscent of some white-goods appliance. A solid light on this board indicates the awarding jury while a blinking light indicates the leader.

1981 - Ireland
[nation - score]

A simple but rather fetching scoreboard. The red marker indicates the awarding jury.

1982 - United Kingdom
[nation - flag - score]

The UK are sticking with their flag idea, and bring with them another innovation: using the backlights to indicate progress through the juries.

1983 - Germany
[nation - score]

A very basic board. A light indicates the awarding jury (in this case Portugal).

1984 - Luxembourg
[nation - score]

What a horrible harpoonish font, but the digital counter is incorporated well into the carbon-paper design (CSO from black to blue). The leader can be indicated by a wiped flashing of their score, and a top bar to the left of the score briefly indicates the awarding jury before the points are distributed.

1985 - Sweden
[flag - (position) - nation - score]

Sweden are the first to have what will become a standard scoreboard for the next few years. It incorporates a new column which between juries displays the positions of each nation. When a jury is returning, a square in the new column column indicates the awarding nation (in this case Finland).

1986 - Norway
[flag - (position) - nation - score]

This is essentially the same scoreboard as last year, just tarted up a bit.

1987 - Germany
[flag - (position) - nation - score]

This is essentially the same scoreboard too. It is also the last to exist in physical space.

1988 - Ireland
[flag - nation - score]

Ireland buy a computer. In the clip-art they even find a little telephone to indicate the awarding jury.

1989 - Switzerland
[flag - nation - points - score]

Another little telephone (and also peach text) indicates the jury, while yellow text denotes those nations receiving points, the points allocated being marked up between the nation and the score.

1990 - Yugoslavia
[flag - nation - points - score]

Much the same as last year, but the novelty telephone is replaced by a blinking flag, and darkened fields show which nations are being scored.

1991 - Italy
[flag - nation - points - score]

Now the flag ripples, but otherwise there's no real change.

1992 - Sweden
[flag - nation - points - score]

The flag ripples, and the text is made red for the awarding jury.

1993 - Ireland
[flag - nation - score]

A slight revision of the grid gives us the awarding jury (and the return of the telephone) in the top left cell. The highlighting for the nations in receipt of points moves to the score column. Ireland still have no truck with indicating how many points are being awarded.

1994 - Ireland
[flag - nation - score]

The telephone becomes a satellite dish, and progress through the voting is now indicated through shading in the nation column. Otherwise this is the same as last year.

1995 - Ireland
[flag - nation - score]

This really is the same as last year, albeit spruced up a bit and made green.

1996 - Norway
[score - nation // nation - score]

Welcome to the future: a virtual reality scoreboard, and the first aberration in basic layout since 1985. Turquoise text indicated the awarding jury and mauve indicates points as the camera pans around to show how clever technology can be nowadays.

1997 - Ireland
[flag - nation - score]

Back to Ireland, albeit without the clip-art. Instead, the leader (the UK in this case) gets its own shade.

1998 - United Kingdom
[flag - nation - points - score]

The UK, keen to inject a bit of vim into proceedings, introduces a series of stars indicating the points being awarded. Animations notwithstanding, this is the same as the 1992 scoreboard but with the awarding nation indicated at the top of the screen (elevated from its place in the board for no other reason but symmetry). Blue text indicates our progress, while gold text and a ripply flag denote the current leader.

1999 - Israel
[flag - nation - points - score]

Foremen are brought in-vision on the scoreboard for the first time in this development of last year's model. Progress is shown by fainter text, while a negative entry denotes the current leader(s).

2000 - Sweden
[nation - points - score]

Sweden go back to basics with this pleasantly minimal little number. Pink text denotes the leader, grey text shows the progress made so far. But with the exception of the missing flags this is really just the same approach as last year...

2001 - Denmark
[nation - points - score]

...as is this.

2002 - Estonia
[flag - nation - points - score]

Now a tick indicates our progress, and an animated creature gets in the way. The flags are back too, except for the awarding jury (also indicated by an oval border).

2003 - Latvia
[flag - nation - points - score]

Shading indicates our progress once more, but now the list automatically orders itself as a leaderboard (Estonia being promoted at the expense of the Ukraine here). Also, Colin has been replaced by Lorraine Kelly. 

2004 - Turkey
[flag - nation - points - score]

The same approach as last time, but arranged a little differently.

2005 - Ukraine
[flag - nation - points - score]

They've given up trying to show the progress through the voting now, mainly because the semi-final system makes a mockery of its existence. Also Lorraine's been replaced with Cheryl. But in other respects the model is unchanged.

2006 - Greece
[flag - nation - points - score]

A formula has fully established itself, and the UK is now using Fern Cotton.

2007 - Finland
[flag - nation - points - score]

The backgrounds change, but the process is now firmly embedded.

2008 - Serbia
[flag/points - nation - score]

The UK has a new foreman, and an indication of progress returns, written in a bar at the bottom of the screen.

2009 - Russia
[flag/points - nation - score]

The progress bar is now depressingly reminiscent of waiting for something tedious to happen on a computer. And there's a strange man representing the UK.

2010 - Norway
[flag/points - nation - score]

The progress bar is replaced by words again, this time positioned over the curiously leaning gentleman. The golden sunburst is merely the 10pts flying to its destination. 

2011 - Germany
[flag/points - nation - score]

Progress is still denoted by text. Awarded points still fly to their destination, this time from a purple bar at the bottom.

2012 - Azerbaijan
[flag/points - nation - score]

Same as last year, but now the points boxes are of increasing rather than uniform size. The colour-scheme is orange and red.

2013 - Sweden
[flag/points - nation - score]

The progress bar is back! The text still remains too. Points graphics are back to being the same size, and now take up just two columns rather than all three. They still fly to their destination.

2014 - Denmark
[flag/points - nation - score]

A similar layout to last year (albeit with the progress bar moved to the same row as the progress text). The current points animate with a crystal-cube effect, and still fly to their destination.

2015 - Austria
[points - score - flag - nation]

Brace yourselves. We've had a seven-year itch and now some things are in slightly different positions! The progress bar is now a series of barely visible dots beneath the progress text, and the points are back to being little circles. They still fly.

2016 - Sweden
[flag/points - nation - score]

Back to the previous layout convention. Again the progress bar and progress text have had a move about. Spokespersons now only speak the 12pts vote, but the 12pts still flies to its place. This is the first year in which televotes are given as a separate block, but the same mechanism applies (albeit without the headshot column).

2017 - Ukraine
[flag/points - nation - score]

The progress bar is gone again, but the text is still there. The large space below Katrina is also used for green-room reaction shots. The 12pts marker seems rather lonely when placed at extreme left. It still gets to fly, though.

2018 - Portugal
[flag/points - nation - score]

Yes, it's just a recolour of last year's board. Yawn.

2019 - Israel
[flag/points - nation - score]

The progress bar is back again, below the progress text, and there's spent points too, to keep the 12pts company. The 12 still flies. The spokesperson's inset has absorbed the dead space but the feed gets shrunk down when the 12pts are awarded to add the green room feed below.

We've now had this basic layout for 15 years, with very little variation in the last decade. Even the colour-scheme seems to have settled on blue.

2021 - Netherlands
[flag - nation - points - score]

It's been six years since we last had a separation between flag and points. Again we've lost the progress bar, but again we've still got the text. The background is still blue, but the white and pink lightens things up for the first time in a while. Rather than resize the spokesperson feed, the green room now just covers the bottom half of the picture when the 12pts get awarded.

2022 - Italy
[flag - nation - points - score]

A re-spray of last year's board in the Italia '22 colourscheme. And after four years of the UK spokesperson being stood in front of that same Tower Bridge card, AJ Odudu's managed to find herself a change of scenery.

2023 - United Kingdom
[flag - nation - points - score]

Fundamentally the same board again, and back in blue, albeit with a change of case, the points store running in the opposite direction, and some diagonals thrown into the mix. With the UK hosting, they've even let Catherine Tate in the same blooming building.