RADCLIFFE-born songwriter Martin Isherwood has hit back at critics after his Eurovision entry scored the dreaded nil points.

Martin, who penned Cry Baby, sung by pop duo Jemini, described the song contest as "a political lottery".

He said: "It wasn't about the song, it was about the fact that the UK is a very unpopular country at the moment," he said.

Despite a barrage of criticism, Martin (38), who used to live in Park Street, remained undaunted and proud of his song, although it was the first time a UK entry failed to get a single vote.

"More than 100,000 people voted for it in the UK heats and it was selected to represent the country from more than 1,000 other songs so I don't understand why the media and music industry professionals have waited until now to slag it off. It's very easy to be wise after the event. And let's not forget that not one single established pop act had the bottle to go out there and do what Jemini did."

He added: "The single was released on Monday and sales are already going very well. With the exception of Russia's entry by Tatu, I doubt very much that any of the songs that did better than Jemini will even be released in this country."

Martin, a former pupil of St Mary's Primary School in Radcliffe, had intended to travel by train to the contest in Latvia. But in the event he watched it on television at a pub in Manchester.

"It's something of a tradition. Me and my friends always watch Eurovision in the City Arms while having a pint so that's what I decided to do this time."

He did take part in a live link-up with Latvia though, and witnessed Jemini's performance on a giant outdoor TV screen.

"As soon as they came on I knew something was very, very wrong with the sound," he said. "They were singing in an Olympic stadium packed with people and this affected the acoustics. It really threw them and Gemma was singing in the wrong key, but I have to say that I think they recovered well."

It was the fourth time Martin, who is head of music at Sir Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, has submitted an entry for Eurovision.

"I'm a serious songwriter and what happened on Saturday hasn't dissuaded me."

Martin is the younger brother of Radcliffe Labour councillor Tony Isherwood.

"Tony's performed consistently well in his election campaigns so maybe I need to learn a few tricks from him!" he joked.