George Michael's Last Christmas back in form of festive film as Dame Emma Thompson shrugs off critics

  • Video report by ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar

Arguably the most famous Christmas song not to make it to the top of the charts is getting another outing.

That’s thanks to a festive film coming out 35 years after Wham! released Last Christmas.

Dame Emma Thompson, who has named the film - which she wrote and features in - after the hit song, says she got George Michael’s blessing for it, only to find out later that one the film’s themes of homelessness was so close to the pop icon's heart.

“He was so lovely and he loved the idea of the story so much,” Dame Emma told ITV News.

“We had this character [in the film] who volunteered at a homeless shelter, we didn’t know George did that because of course he didn’t tell anyone.”

Emma Thompson says she got George Michael's blessing for the film.

The film also includes a new track from Michael recorded in his final studio session before his death on Christmas Day in 2016.

It’s among 15 of his songs with Wham! and as a solo artist featuring in the film, with its story of a family exiled from the former Yugoslavia struggling to be accepted in the UK.

Asked if the film is anti-Brexit, Dame Emma said: “Oh it’s not at all, what it is anti is 'othering'.

“I think what it’s anti is intolerance.

"There’s a scene in the movie when this guy just says to everyone on the bus: 'If you can’t speak English get out of my country', and it was what was said to some friends of ours on the tube.”

Homelessness was close to George Michael's heart and is a theme in the film. Credit: Last Christmas/Universal Pictures

Responding to critical reviews, she said: “All I can tell you is that Love Actually received the worst set of reviews of any film and one of the reviews for Nanny McPhee was one line in the Guardian ‘another piece of tat from working title’.

“That’s all I have to say about bad reviews because Love Actually and Nanny McPhee have survived pretty well.”

Time will tell is Last Christmas ages as well the aforementioned, but for film makers at Monday night's premier, it is simply a tribute to the one man who sadly cannot be there.