Fans of the late John Lennon are "disgusted" that the 12 finalists for the British talent show Pop Idol are planning a cover of his classic HAPPY CHRISTMAS (WAR IS OVER) for the festive season.

News of the proposed, karaoke-style single has not impressed devoted fans of THE BEATLES songsmith - who co-wrote the song with wife Yoko Ono in 1972.

Lennon devotees are further upset at plans to release the record on 15 December (03) - just one week after the anniversary of John's murder (8DEC).

JERRY GOLDMAN, director of THE BEATLES STORY exhibition in Liverpool, England, fumes, "I think if John were alive today he would be disgusted to know that sort of band were being put together by a television channel to sing one of his greatest songs.

"And I can tell you, John Lennon fans won't be happy about this at all. I haven't obviously heard this new version but I would imagine it is going to be a pale imitation of the classic original."

Goldman continues, "You would be amazed at how many young children know Beatles and John Lennon songs very well and I think they will see right through this imitation.

"If you want a proper example of how to foster young talent then look at Sir Paul McCartney's LIVERPOOL INSTITUTE OF PERFORMING ARTS - that's the way it should be, not through some television show."

26/10/2003 11:04