Her first taste of the public spotlight came when she won the UK's Song for Europe in 1991, entitling her to represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Rome. However, it would turn out to be an experience she wanted to comprehensively forget. In retrospect, her dubious distinction is that the main impact of her 'success' was a major rethink of the process by which the UK selected its Eurovision entry, since her case was apparently seen as an exemplar of everything that had been going wrong. The British public had voted for the song A Message To Your Heart not necessarily because they thought it was the best, but because it was the best fit for their hopelessly out-of-date stereotype of what a Eurovision song should sound like. Similarly, the public had voted for Samantha, not because she was the best singer, but probably because she was a beautiful young woman in a short skirt. Frustratingly for many, the song she beat into second place, Brendan Faye's distinctively gentle Lover Come In, sounded like precisely the type of song that might have prospered in Eurovision during that particular era.
In Rome, it seemed Samantha and the people around her were banking on the same recipe for success, appearing as she did in a low-cut all-white dress that was even more revealing than what had gone before. The only snag was that, in contrast to the Song for Europe, points were awarded solely by juries who were not actually permitted to see the contestants as they were singing. So the mesmerising qualities of Samantha's bare shoulders and legs suddenly fell by the wayside, and all that was left was the cold reality of a dodgy song, dodgily sung. Remarkably, however, she evaded calamity, and finished joint tenth alongside Ireland's Kim Jackson.
The huge irony is that what was unquestionably a terrible strategy in 1991 would have the potential to be a brilliant strategy in the Eurovision of today, which has changed beyond recognition since the introduction of public televoting in 1997. In the present-day contest, simply the sight of Samantha and what she wore in Rome - or rather, the considerable amount she didn't wear - would arguably have every chance of yielding a bonanza of votes, regardless of the song or singing.
After her bruising Eurovision experience, Samantha concentrated on her acting abilities which brought her far more success, appearing prolifically in films and television shows, most notably the long-running comedy Game On.
In 2003 she co-starred in the short-lived BBC One fantasy drama series Strange.
Samantha Janus Facts
|November 2, 1972 (51)
|5' 8" (1m73) How tall is Samantha Janus compared to you?
|Pie in the Sky
|The Other Side / Grim / Night Junkies
|Baby Juice Express
|Dead Man's Cards
|Jekyll & Hyde
|A Murder of Quality