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Changing the tune: 1971's Eurovision Song Contest was a watershed moment in TV history

In spite of IRA threats to kidnap Co Down-born entrant Clodagh Rodgers, 1971's Eurovision Song Contest was a watershed moment in TV history, writes Liam Collins

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Carefully selected: Eurovision UK entrant singer Clodagh Rodgers on stage

Carefully selected: Eurovision UK entrant singer Clodagh Rodgers on stage

Carefully selected: Eurovision UK entrant singer Clodagh Rodgers on stage

The Eurovision Song Contest held at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin 50 years ago today was the moment Catholic Ireland switched from black and white to colour.

Girls in hot pants were photographed walking down Grafton Street and disporting themselves in the River Club on Bachelors Walk; a riotous after-party went on until 4am in Dublin Castle; and the Cork-born drag queen Danny La Rue held court in the Shelbourne Hotel.

In sharp contrast, the segment between the performances and the voting - the interval that would make Riverdance an international phenomenon two decades later - showed "official Ireland" as a stylised country of comely maidens playing their harps in Bunratty Castle, "real men" on horses out hunting and weather-beaten peasants taking snuff.


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