Gary Barlow's Christmas album "started off as a bit of a dalliance in the studio".

The 50-year-old pop star has teamed up with the likes of Sheridan Smith, Aled Jones, The Puppini Sisters and Sheku Kanneh-Mason to make his first-ever festive album, 'The Dream of Christmas' - which is released on November 26 - and Gary has explained how the record evolved over time.

He said: "We were all trying to make Christmas feel good last year. It was a really hard Christmas for so many because of the scenario we all found ourselves in. So to try and make things a bit special, I started writing these songs.

"I had never listened to those classic Christmas songs with the idea of singing them myself, but as this record evolved, so did my appreciation for these wonderful songs. It all started off as a bit of a dalliance in the studio and before I knew it, I had a whole album!"

Earlier this week, a music insider suggested that Gary and Sheridan could land the UK Christmas number one.

Their track, 'How Christmas Is Supposed To Be', has been described as being a "really uplifting, punchy pop song".

The source explained: "He knows Sheridan's voice is outstanding and after she sang with him on his 'Crooner Sessions' he knew he wanted to work with her again.

"They sounded great together and then this song came along, which seemed perfect. Sheridan jumped at the chance and the result is gorgeous.

"Everyone who has heard it thinks they could have a Christmas number one. It is a really uplifting, punchy pop song, a great one to have a singalong to."