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Interview | Eurovision legends Scooch: ‘We didn’t realise just how competitive some artists would be!’

The band are, ahem, Flying the Flag for Attitude and Netflix’s BIG Eurovision Song Contest Quiz, on Saturday 27 June

By Thomas Stichbury

Bubblegum pop, camp-tastic cabin crew outfits, cute choreography, complete with airplane arms… Scooch ticked all the boxes when they represented the UK at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.

Despite experiencing some turbulence in the competition – they placed 22nd with 19 points – the band scored a top five hit with their song ‘Flying the Flag,’ which has become a gloriously cheesy LGBTQ anthem.

And they’re taking part tonight, as Attitude and Netflix have teamed up to deliver The BIG Eurovision Song Contest Quiz for you to play along at home, and the cast and performances that make up our nigh 90-minute quiz show special will surprise and delight in equal measure. Expect nothing but the unexpected.

But fasten those seatbelts as Russ Spencer, David Ducasse, Caroline Barnes and Natalie Powers are taking flight once again for Attitude and Netflix’s BIG Eurovision Song Contest Quiz, on Saturday 27 June.

In a throwback interview, Scooch tell us about the behind-the-scenes drama during their big night, hairy encounters with fans and plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their album ‘Four Sure.’

The foursome also unveil their cover of ‘Volcano Man,’ from Netflix film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, out Friday 26 June.

How did your lives change after you represented the UK at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest?

Russ: Despite not doing amazingly in the contest, we came back to the UK with a top five single which meant a lot to us, and we’re proud that ‘Flying the Flag’ is still the highest charting UK Eurovision single since Katrina and the Waves won in 1997.

David: The UK really got behind the song and partied along with us. Thirteen years later, it’s still played and loved. 

Where is the most unexpected place you have heard ‘Flying the Flag?

R: TK Maxx.

D: My mum has it as her ringtone still – so I’ve been in hospital, the bank, the gym and it’s gone off. As much as I love the song, in those circumstances I’ve wanted to disappear!

Caroline: Heston Services on the M4.

Natalie: It may not seem that unexpected for others, but it totally took me by surprise when I heard it being played on holiday at a resort. My children definitely weren’t expecting it either.

Why do you think the track has been so embraced, especially by your LGBTQ fans?

R: It’s got it all: the dance beat, the outfits, the innuendo… what’s not to like?!

D: It just makes you smile, sing along, and move. The [lyric] “flying the flag for you” is so positive – it’s a reference to being someone’s champion, [being] on someone’s side.

What would it surprise Eurovision die-hards to know about the contest? Any behind-the-scenes drama?

R: You only get a couple of rehearsals on stage and there is a clock in the corner counting down your time – if you’re not finished, you just get booted off. There’s a lot of pressure to get the camera angles right etc [and] this leads to lots of stressed artists.

D: It is a competition [but] I never expected just how competitive some of the artists taking part would be. I remember arriving and having one of the acts dance up to me and literally pin their country’s flag on my cabin crew jacket – that was a little bit weird. In the contest we were on after Verka Serduchka, so we were stood with them backstage waiting for rehearsal, sound and camera checks, and then during the votes. When the votes came in, Verka kept slapping his backing singer who was upset and crying that the votes weren’t going in their favour. It was very odd – especially in their baking foil outfits – definitely a “is this really happening” moment.

N: It’s an early start and a long day of rehearsals, make-up, more rehearsals, more make-up before stepping onto the stage for the real thing. By the time we actually got to the big moment, I had so much make-up layered on that I thought my face would crack!

Who would you like to see represent the UK? And what do you think our chances are of winning Eurovision again?

R: How about a Eurovision super girl group comprising of Samantha Janus, Sonia, Gina G and Bonnie Tyler. Seriously, it would be great to see the UK win again, but I think it would need to be something really special.

D: I’m always going to say us! Chances of [the UK] winning? You’ve more chance of Steps and Scooch teaming up for a cover of ‘Agadoo.’

N: I’m not sure if the UK will ever win Eurovision again, as it’s just so political these days, which is such a shame.

What is your favourite Eurovision song – excluding your own – and why?

R: ‘Think About Things’ by Daði og Gagnamagnið from this year’s contest that wasn’t to be. Their dead-pan performance would have been awesome and I’m sure they’d have won.

D: I have two: Linda Martin’s ‘Why Me” and ‘Let It Swing,’ by Bobbysocks. Great pop songs.

C: ‘Heroes’ by Måns Zelmerlöw. Great song, amazing visuals.

N: I tend to like the really crazy entries that you can’t get out of your head, no matter how hard you try. My favourite would have to be ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’ by Verka Serduchka.

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Tell us about your plans to mark the 20th anniversary of your album, Four Sure

R: We’ve got ideas and had some conversations with exciting people… we will definitely do something whether it’s this year or next. What we have done in lockdown is start a new YouTube channel @SCOOCHOFFICIAL and we will be uploading new content on there – our latest video is a cover of ‘Volcano Man’ from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.

D: We are always asked to perform and when will we be releasing new material. The music industry is so different to what we experienced in the 90’s. We would love the opportunity to regroup on stage and perform some of our back catalogue with and for the pop lovers who have grown up with us – a celebration of great pop – and maybe add just one more great song to the mix that brings the two decades together. We should perform at the Attitude Awards next year…

What is the worst thing that has happened to you whilst performing?

R: I remember doing the Smash Hits tour in Wales. I had my favourite MC Hammer-style baggy cargo pants on, and I think the sheer weight and volume of material caused them to come down!

D: I’ve forgotten lines, moves, fell over, had my flies undone – it’s part of performing. You learn how to dig yourself out of a situation or just embrace it and laugh along.

C: Back in the 90’s we used to perform at movie premieres. We did Oliver Stone’s American football movie Any Given Sunday, starring Al Pacino – Scooch were an odd choice on reflection. Anyway… the track started skipping, jumping, stuttering, we didn’t have live mics, it was a nightmare. Mr. Pacino enjoyed it though and came to say hello – I hear he is still a die-hard Scooch fan.

What is the most memorable encounter you have had with a fan?

R: I once got given an envelope with some pubic hair!

D: I couldn’t possibly tell you, and that’s probably your answer right there…

C. In the 90s I saw a couple of fans waiting outside my house in the pouring rain. I brought them some tea and biscuits.

Pride month is here. So, with that in mind, what does Pride mean to you?

R: Pride, to me, means [being] safe, not judged and [having] an epic party

D. Pride is a celebration of coming together as the person you are, the person you will be and the unity for a time when you are introduced without a definition.

Attitude and Netflix present The BIG Eurovision Song Contest Quiz this Saturday 27 June on YouTube. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga arrives on Netflix this Friday 26 June.