UK humiliated in Eurovision 'post-Iraq backlash'

Charles Begley
Sunday 25 May 2003 00:00 BST

The UK received an unprecedented "nul points" in last night's Eurovision Song Contest in Latvia, in what BBC commentator Terry Wogan called a "post-Iraq backlash".

Never before in 48 years of the extravaganza had the UK failed to register a single vote. Gemma Abbey - one half of the UK entry Jemini - was reduced to tears as a verdict was delivered that appeared to paint the country as the pariah of Europe.

The song was written by Martin Isherwood, head of music at Sir Paul McCartney's fame school, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live's Up All Night programme, he insisted the song was "great" and that the competition itself was " a complete and utter lottery" and "extremely political".

Mr Isherwood said: "I think politically we are out on a limb at the moment. As a country I think we paid the price last night"

Victory went to Turkey, which observers noted may have benefited from its resistance to the US in the build-up to the war in Iraq. Second was Belgium, with the controversial Russian duo Tatu in third place. Not even those countries which received votes from the UK could find it in them to reciprocate. These included Ireland, to whom the UK gave its top mark of 12 votes.

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