Cliff's heading for Christmas No 1 (but don't worry, he's not singing...)

Even Justin Bieber trails in the veteran's wake when it comes to calendar sales

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The Independent Culture

He's been snubbed by radio stations and given up hope of the Christmas number one. But Sir Cliff Richard can console himself that he is still king of the pin-ups after his 2012 calendar outsold the offering from teen idol Justin Bieber.

Cliff's calendar features the 71 year-old in a series of buff, all-action poses and even includes a topless shot of the singing legend. It has proved so popular that Cliff 2012 is outselling the latest effort from the Canadian heart-throb Bieber, web retailer Amazon said.

Take That, Cheryl Cole, Kylie Minogue and Michael Bublé are all trailing in Cliff's wake. Only the X Factor-created groups One Direction and JLS have shifted more calendars this year.

Cliff's calendar is being sold to his target audience with the tagline: "Release the 'Devil Women' in you and pin our Cliff to your wall for the next 366 days." It is not clear if the Christian singer approved the racy sales pitch. The calendar depicts him astride a motorcycle, swimming with dolphins, preparing to paraglide and alongside his trusty steed, in a series of Vladimir Putin-style pictures demonstrating his virility.

Danilo, publishers of the calendar, said that Cliff had sold 1.5 million copies over the years, more than David Beckham. The top female seller, Kylie, had sold just 750,000 calendars.

Danilo however has high hopes for a calendar featuring Mark Wright, from the Only Way Is Essex reality series, who is depicted naked with just a towel covering his modesty.

Boyband One Direction's 2012 offering was named the best-selling celebrity calendar on record by Amazon. Its sales remain some 240 per cent ahead of Cliff's top-selling 2011 release. Calendars selling strongly this Christmas include Moshi Monsters, television series the Vampire Diaries and Elvis Presley.

Sir Cliff, who this year released an album of soul collaborations, said he would not compete for a fifth Christmas chart-topping single because "X Factor had killed the Christmas Number 1."