IT was the Top of the Pops-friendly sexual tension that did it for me. The lovely ski chalet, the crackling log fire, the chunky knitwear, permed highlights, flirty snowball fights, Pepsi and Shirlie laying Christmas crackers on the table, longing looks of love as the tinsel unravelled.

I fell in love with Wham’s Last Christmas the first time I saw the video. I was 16 and Christmas - like life - was fizzing with promise. The video was like a Jackie magazine photo-story, and I wanted all my Christmases to be like that.

None of my Christmases have been remotely like that, of course, but it remains my favourite festive song. It’s a heady mix of nostalgia, joy and melancholy - not unlike Christmas itself.

Last Christmas is a song that means many things to many people. And since the Christmas of 2016, it has added poignancy. That was the Christmas I walked into my sister’s kitchen to find her in tears; George Michael had died, and Wham’s I’m Your Man was playing on the radio. It was a song she had played endlessly in her teenage bedroom - a Wham shrine with George and Andrew gazing from posters in white shorts and Choose Life T-shirts. Those boys were part of her youth, and now George was dead, and it was Christmas.

Last Christmas is a song that can lift my spirits and make me cry. It’s a song I turn up on the radio and sing along to in the car. It takes me back to the youthful optimism I felt watching the video, and it makes me think of those I’ve lost, the people I will never get to spend Christmas with again.

Now it has inspired a film - also called Last Christmas - and I really want it to be great. Who doesn’t love a festive movie? But when a film has at its heart a song that’s the soundtrack to Christmas for so many people, it had better get it right.

It looks promising - co-written by Dame Emma Thompson, directed by Paul Feig, who gave us the excellent Bridesmaids, it features George Michael’s beautiful, romantic music and shows off London festooned in festive lights. But I haven’t seen it yet and it’s already starting to grate, mainly because it stars Emilia Clarke, the Game of Thrones dragon lady who’s irritatingly posh and dressed as an elf. And it all looks suspiciously worthy. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m bracing myself for another Love, Actually.

Everyone adores Love, Actually, even the critics, and I wanted to love it too. While I don’t exactly hate it, it doesn’t half make me cringe. I’m not a fan of It’s A Wonderful Life either. I get why it’s meant to have a place in our hearts but, like Christmas pudding, it’s cloying.

Christmas films are as integral to the festive season as Baileys and sprouts. We all have our favourites.

One man’s Home Alone is another man’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I love Elf, The Snowman, Muppets Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, White Christmas and the Alistair Sim Scrooge, which I used to watch with my dad every Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day staples of my childhood were The Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Sound of Music, none of them festive but wheeled out every year on telly. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without them.

The Last Christmas movie could be wonderful - a classic for Christmases of the future. I hope so. I don’t want to be cynical, because it’s okay to be sentimental when it comes to Christmas movies. As long as it’s not Love, Actually. So I’m staying optimistic.

As George himself sang: “I gotta have faith”.

* PLUCKY Mike Bushell embodied everything that Strictly Come Dancing should be. The BBC sports presenter danced his socks off every week, with endearing enthusiasm, and when he was voted off last Sunday he was gracious and big-hearted. 
Unlike Viscountess Emma Weymouth who left the previous week after a dance-off with Mike (the judges got it right - she was the poorer dancer). Judging by her sulky face and dramatic declaration that “I’ll never get over this”, she’s a shamefully sore loser. Mike can hold his head high. It was his time to go, but he’ll be missed. 

* I DON’T expect contestants on BBC1’s The Apprentice to be academics - they’re more interested in the pursuit of money than knowledge. 
But recently a group of them showed a staggering lack of intelligence when they didn’t even know the dates of the Second World War. Challenged with finding a pre-war copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, contestants on one team were stumped by the start date of the conflict. They didn’t know whether 1945 was the start or end of the war, and wondered if their parents had been around then. One bright spark suggested it lasted four years.
This is a generation who learned about the war at school! They boast of running multi-million pound businesses, yet appear to know nothing beyond their own bubble of self-importance.