This Christmas, they’ll give us their hearts.
And now, thanks to a new book, we don’t have to imagine it anymore.
The trio, plus a host of other stars including Caitlin Moran, Sue Perkins and Deborah Frances-White, are all contributing essays to Last Christmas: Memories of Christmases past – and hopes for future ones, a collection edited by Thompson and Greg Wise.
The book will tie in with the film Last Christmas, which has been inspired by Wham’s Christmas anthem of the same name, and is a love story combined with a message of tolerance and acceptance.
In the film, Kate (Clarke) takes on a job as an elf in a year-round Christmas Shop in London, one of a series of bad decisions in her life. However, when she meets Tom (Henry Golding), things start to change. The film is directed by Paul Feig, and the story was written by Thompson and Wise, with Thompson and artist Bryony Kimmings collaborating on the screenplay. The film will feature previously unreleased music by George Michael, who collaborated on the concept for the film before his death.
Essays in the book will see actors, politicians, singers, charity workers, refugees and homeless people writing about what Christmas means to them, what past Christmases have been like, what they’d change, and what they feel Christmas should be, away from the consumerism, the John Lewis advert, and the Instagram posts.
Also contributing an essay are Andy Serkis, Bill Bailey, Kimmings, Emily Watson, Fergal Keane, Lyse Doucet, Feig, Phyllida Law, Richard Ayoade, Sophie Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Twiggy.
In one of the essays a Syrian refugee writes about his experiences and learning the customs of Christmases in a refugee camp and then in England living with an English couple. Ayoade’s essay is described by publisher Quercus as a “funny and poignant” piece about Christmas when he was a child.
Thompson and Wise will also write an essay each as well as the introduction to the book. They said: “We are witnessing a rise in homelessness in our country, as well as in the demonisation of migrants and refugees.
“There is a suspicion and fear of ‘The Other’ creeping into our nation’s dialogue, which has become front-and-centre during Brexit.
“Our hope is that the movie will strike a chord with everyone who watches it, and that the book will remind people of the importance of values such as kindness and generosity.”
The book will be published on 31 October, with the film released on 15 November.