Andrew Lloyd Webber has said Britain needs to show it will take the Eurovision Song Contest seriously.

The theatre impresario, who is writing the UK’s 2009 entry, told Heat magazine: “I think there’s a feeling in eastern Europe that Britain has been taking the p*** out of Eurovision for years, and they slightly resent it.

“Whether or not the new voting system – half jury, half public vote – will stop them voting for each other, we don’t know yet.

“I think these countries feel that a good entry from the UK would be very welcome. I feel that.”

Speaking about Sir Terry Wogan’s departure as the show’s commentator, Lord Lloyd Webber added: “Terry’s a great mate, but there’s a journey we’d have to take to convince Europe that we’re being serious.

“He got upset over the voting last year, and he’s said things in the past that have upset one or two countries.”

Eurovision: Your Country Needs You starts on January 3 on BBC One.

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