For any performer having a number one hit single is an achievement but being top of the pops for Christmas is extra special.

After a lengthy fallow period, there is a strong field of contenders for the number one Christmas chart position. Journalist with ‘The Irish Times’ Kevin Courtney likens it to the 1970s, when every big act released a Christmas song.

This year has really seen the Christmas single come back with a bang.

Betting in Ireland only takes place for the more competitive United Kingdom number one. According to bookmaker Paddy Power, it is a four horse race between Kelly Osbourne and Ozzy Osbourne with ‘Changes’, Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules with ‘Mad World’, The Idols with ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ and The Darkness with ‘Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)’.

Rock band The Darkness are racing ahead as they released a cheap single, and because of this, betting on them has been suspended.

Ultimately, the Michael Andrews and Gary Jules cover of Tears for Fears 'Mad World' won the battle to be the UK Christmas number one.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 18 December 2003. The reporter is John O Driscoll.