As the world prepares to tune in to the Eurovision Song Contest, the Echo marks the occasion by looking back at when a local musician attempted to make his song the official entry for Britain.

Dorset songwriter Martin Kitcher decided he wanted to go nose to nose with Andrew Lloyd Webber and be in the race to represent the nation.

Martin, who was a well-known legend among local musicians, pulled out all the stops to enter his song I Actually Rather Like You as a contender for 2009’s Eurovision Song Contest.

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In response to the BBC's announcement that Lloyd Webber would write the song and viewers would vote on the performers through a show called Your Country Needs You, Martin challenged the decision. He claimed it was against Eurovision rules.

But a brief announcement was made in September 2008 that anyone could enter a song for Europe, and that meant Martin was able to throw his hat in the ring after all.

To make sure he could compete with the glitz and glamour of an Andrew Lloyd Webber song, Martin went on the hunt for a dance troupe.

Bournemouth Echo: Martin Kitcher  and his dancers  aiming for The Eurovision Song Contest.

Having appealed through the Echo for dancers, Martin's wish was granted as the MK M'donnas assembled for the first time.

"The girls were brilliant," said Martin at the time. 

"They all actually like the song which is excellent. We did all the photos literally in the road - stopping local traffic which was a laugh!

"They got the job on pure enthusiasm. For their part the girls were raving about the song and their shot at Euro stardom.

"We love the song, it's really catchy," said Laura Stockley at the time. 

Laura got in touch with Martin after seeing a story about the Euro-bid in the Echo.

"Martin's been great. He's sent us away with some ideas about what he wants, but is leaving it to us to come up with the choreography."

Kim, Laura, Anna, and Sophie had danced together for eight years at the Andrea Knowles School of Dance in Parkstone. They met Kim for the first time at the photo shoot.

"The four of us know each other really well, but it's always good to get some new ideas. I'm sure we're all going to have loads of fun together," added Laura.

“I got the song to the chairman of the Eurovision committee and have been told that they actually rather like it,” said Martin at the time.

“It’s a triumph not so much for me but for the girls who have come together to choreograph the dance routine and all the people who have worked on the recording and mixing of the song. Plus, the video director Paul Ralfe from Bournemouth and Poole College who has demonstrated again what a wealth of talent there is in this part of the world.”

I Actually Rather Like You was posted on MySpace and attracted well over 100 plays in the first 24 hours. It was subsequently released as a download single and video through iTunes.

Bournemouth Echo: Martin Kitcher  and his dancers  aiming for The Eurovision Song Contest.

“What happens from here is that the song will get released and we’ll sell a lot of copies because we’ve got up a lot of people’s noses,” said Martin.

Kylie Minogue's former guitar player John Myers mixed the song.

Despite Martin’s gallant efforts to take on the titans of music, It's My Time, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren, became Britain’s official entry for 2009. 

The pop song was performed by Jade Ewen and took the nation to a fifth-place finish.

Martin Kitcher died on May 21, 2015

Bournemouth Echo: