Eurovision Song Contest
Ukraine has pulled out of this year's
Eurovision Song Contest after its selection process became
embroiled in political tensions involving Russia.
Pop singer Maruv, who won Ukraine's
public vote, withdrew from the contest on Tuesday, saying she
refused to be used as a "political tool".
Two other bands were then approached
by the national broadcaster, but both declined to take part.
The broadcaster has now chosen not to
attend the contest in Israel in May.
The row comes amid Ukraine's ongoing
conflict with Russia, which centres around the annexation of
Crimea by Russian forces in 2014.
Maruv was asked to sign a contract
saying she would not play concerts in Russia in the lead-up to
Eurovision. The 27-year-old said she was willing to accept this
condition, but argued that other clauses would have made her a
mouthpiece for propaganda.
British broadcasters BBC and ITV have confirmed
plans for a joint UK streaming service in the wake of
competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
They said that talks for the service, to be
called BritBox, are “in the concluding phase”.
It is expected that others will join the service,
to put British boxsets and original series, on demand, in one
The broadcasters said it would boast the biggest
collection of British content on any streaming service and will
feature “old favourites”, recent shows and new commissions
produced specifically for BritBox.
ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “BritBox
will be the home for the best of British creativity –
celebrating the best of the past, the best of today and
investing in new British originated content in the future.”
BBC Director-General Tony Hall said the streaming
service would be “truly special”.
“A new streaming service delivering the best
home-grown content to the public who love it best,” he said.
“The service will have everything from old
favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions. It’s an
exciting time for the viewing public.”
The service is expected to launch later this
The cost of subscriptions has not yet been
The BBC and ITV said they have enjoyed success
with their BritBox streaming service in the US.