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Franco robbed Sir Cliff of Eurovision win

Spanish dictator's 1968 vote-rigging outrage

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Of all the crimes perpetrated by the late and largely unlamented Franco - dictator of Spain during more years than most locals care to remember - perhaps the most heinous is the fascist regime's fixing of the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest which saw the sainted Cliff Richard's Congratulations pipped at the post by Hispanic musical outrage La La La.

That's according to a Spanish TV documentary which aired last night, in which director Fernandez Vila claimed corrupt Spanish television execs promised to buy series from other countries if their voting went in singer Massiel's favour.

As the older readers among you will recall, the 1968 clash of melodies was a real nail-biter, with Sir Cliff's early lead slashed by a late flurry of pro-Spain voting. In the end, Congratulations lost by just one point.

In case you're wondering just why Franco would go to such lengths to secure the Eurovision crown, he apparently thought the title would enhance Spain's international reputation - a cunning plan foiled by the subsequent worldwide chart success of Congratulations and the consignment of La La La to the dustbin of history.

And just in case the shock dictatorial vote-rigging exposé hasn't sufficiently tarnished Spain's international reputation, the country's entry for Eurovision 2008 should do the trick once and for all. ®

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