James Arthur 'to miss out on Christmas number one'

James Arthur 'to miss out on Christmas number one'
James Arthur 'to miss out on Christmas number one' (Image credit: PA)

X Factor winner James Arthur is set to be denied a Christmas number one by the star-studded single in aid of the Hillsborough charity. The version of the Hollies' hit He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by The Justice Collective - which features the likes of Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams, is donating all its proceeds to cover the legal costs of the families of the Liverpool supporters killed in the disaster in 1989. The song, released on Monday, was inspired by the sight of two children who walked out to the track during a tribute to the dead from rivals Everton, and comes after the report into the handling of the crowd crush at the stadium which left 96 fans dead. According to bookies William Hill, the song is currently 1-7 favourite to top the charts over the festive season, with James Arthur's track Impossible the 9-2 favourite. "The Christmas charts have become a little less predictable since Rage Against The Machine denied the X-Factor another sure-fire Xmas number one a couple of years back, so anything now seems possible," said HMV's Gennaro Castaldo. "But The Justice Collective's cover of the classic Hollies track He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother which is being released in aid of the Hillsborough families' campaign for justice, looks like the song to beat this year - we're seeing a lot of interest from media and public alike." The single also includes vocals from former X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson, Spice Girl Mel C, Holly Johnson, Gerry Marsden and Paul Heaton. The song, originally a number three hit for The Hollies in 1969, got to number one when it was re-released in 1988. James - who won the X Factor last weekend - is on course to top the charts this Sunday ahead of the Christmas chart, in a repeat of 2011's charts which saw Little Mix triumph the weekend before Christmas with Cannonnball before being dethroned by the Military Wives.

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.