Who will be the face (or cheeks) of 2013?

  • @susborne

It's the time of year we start looking for new ways to tell the time of year, with the help of naked do-gooders, furry animals, and the uncommonly chiselled pecs of a 71-year-old who should know better.

Calendars are big business, defying the march of time into the digital age to keep a place under our Christmas trees and (if they're not too awful) on our walls and fridges.

Amazon already offers more than 3,000 calendars for 2013, a figure boosted by three competing trends: celebrities; cute animals usually doing human things (yoga, say); and people with their bits out for charity.

On Saturday, the Calendar Club opened the first of its 300 temporary UK stores in Glasgow. It says it will sell four million calendars this year and expects One Direction to top the charts.

"Sales are good considering the challenge of digital calendars," says Natalie Taylor at the Club. "People get hooked on a theme and paper calendars are also still practical and cheap."

The original Calendar Girls can take the credit for much of the nudity; the Rylstone Women's Institute inspired countless imitators – including the Bare Naked Cavers and the Game Birds – and a movie when they stripped for leukaemia research in 1999.

But we skip back several more months for the origins of themed time-keeping. In 1977, the London printer Laurence Prince created a calendar tribute to the late Elvis Presley. His company, Danilo, now supplies 10,000 retailers worldwide. Its biggest seller is Cliff Richard, whose taut torso has shifted 1.5 million calendars (second only to One Direction last year).

The singer, who turns 72 this month, has said he works out daily for months before his shoot – and insists photos are not airbrushed.