British soldier plots assault on Christmas charts
A British army officer is hoping to top the festive singles charts with a song about spending Christmas away from home in Afghanistan.
Captain Xander Rawlins, who served in the country with the Grenadier Guards, is tipped as a contender for the coveted Christmas number one slot with his song "1,000 Miles Apart".
The video for the single includes footage filmed by the 25-year-old in restive southern Helmand province.
Bookmaker William Hill has offered odds of 25-1 on it reaching the top spot after its release on December 13.
The record faces stiff competition as in recent years the Christmas number one usually goes to the winner of a television talent contest.
If anyone could challenge "The X Factor" winner, "it may well be an artist from this background," said spokesman Gennaro Castaldo from music retailer HMV.
"We can see the beautiful '1,000 Miles Apart' as a potential dark horse for the Christmas number one."
Rawlins, who plans to leave the forces next year to pursue a career in music, is following in the footsteps of singer-songwriter James Blunt, formerly an officer who served in Kosovo.
A total of 345 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001.
© 2010 AFP