Annie Lennox launches Christmas number one bid

Annie Lennox has quit her record label after 30 years to launch an assault on the charts for the Christmas number one.

The 55-year-old Scottish singer will release her next album, a collection of "dark" covers of Christmas carols, through Amy Winehouse's label Island Records in the UK.

Lennox. who has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide with the Eurythmics and as a solo artist, has left music giant Sony.

Dicing with death

Popstar To Opera Star winner Darius Campbell has revealed he was just three millimetres from death after a horror crash in which he broke his neck.

The singer - who first found fame on TV's Popstars then Pop Idol - declared: "I feel like the luckiest man alive."

Speaking about the accident for the first time, he tells Hello! magazine he turned down an operation because he feared it might damage his voice.

Hoax movie

Keith Allen and Phil Daniels are to head the cast in a movie based on an infamous chart hoax which saw Alarm frontman Mike Peters score a hit with a spoof band.

Peters put together a fictitious act in 2004 as a front for his own single to highlight what he saw as ageism in the music business.

Now the story is being adapted for the screen by director Sara Sugarman, who began filming the story - to be called Vinyl - this month.

Is it Stig?

A racing driver who was a stunt double for James Bond has been linked to the role of Top Gear's motoring mystery man The Stig in financial documents.

Ben Collins is one of several drivers whose names have been put forward as being the man who regularly takes to the track on the BBC2 show but famously never removes his helmet on screen.

Accounts for Collins Autosport Ltd from 2003 - the year the present Stig first got behind the wheel - describe it as "a cornerstone year".

Gag king

Comic Tim Vine has been crowned king of the one-liners after one of his gags was named the best joke of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Wisecracking Vine - who set a world record for his quickfire delivery in 2004 - beat acts including John Bishop to the award created by TV channel Dave.

Vine won for the gag: "I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again."

X Factor Exit

Eccentric X Factor hopeful Shirlena Johnson has been thrown out of this year's Miss Great Britain contest after organisers discovered her real age when they watched her TV audition.

Millions of viewers saw Johnson, a single mother, get through to the boot camp stage of the X Factor after she performed, in leopard skin leggings, a bizarre rendition of the Duffy track Mercy.

Johnson told the X Factor judges that she was 30, but the age on her online Miss Great Britain form was 28, said a spokeswoman for the contest, which is for those aged 29 and under.

BIRTHDAYS: Antonia (AS) Byatt, writer, 74; Jean-Michel Jarre, composer, 62; Sam Torrance, golfer, 57; Stephen Fry, actor/writer/presenter, 53; Steve Guttenberg, actor, 52.