Christmas arrives in Preston with city's star-studded 'virtual' Switch On show

Christmas has officially begun in Preston after the city celebrated the coming season in style with a socially-distanced but star-studded 'virtual' Switch On show.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 7:58 am
The virtual ceremony then concluded with the countdown and switch on performed by the winners of the BID’s ‘Pride of Preston’ competition, Justine Brooks and Marcus Wright

Smooth Radio Breakfast host Darren Parks led the way, hosting the specially curated show which featured some of the biggest names in TV and music.

The boys from North West band Boomin got the party started with their eclectic mix and mash of singalong songs, including a toe-tapping cover of Do They Know It's Christmas?

The show then revisited some of the classic Flag Market performances from Christmases past, including soul stars The Real Thing singing their 1976 No. 1 hit 'You to Me Are Everything'.

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Kids were then invited to get up in front of the TV or computer screen for a virtual dance-along, before we returned to the studio for some special Christmas messages from the stars.

Britain's Got Talent 2014 winner Matt Pagan of Collabro wished the city a 'Merry Christmas' , followed by soul star Leee John and singer Jane McDonald, before Preston's very own Saraban took to the stage for a specially-recorded performance of 'In the Arms of the Angel'.

And the stars kept on coming, with Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway next to greet viewers from the Smooth Radio studio.

"I want to wish everybody watching in Preston a very merry Christmas," said Kate, adding, "hopefully, this time next year we'll all be together in the Flag Market."

Abz Love, Shane Lynch and Ben Ofoedu of supergroup Boyz on Block brought back memories of 90s Christmas parties with their cover of East 17's 1994 Christmas No. 1 'Stay Another Day'

Children across the city were then met with a familiar face from TV as Emma Grace Arends - who plays Daisy in the Peppa Pig movie - waved a "big hello to all the children in Preston".

We then revisited the 2016 Switch On when Heather Small brought Flag Market to its feet with a timeless performance of "What have you done today to make you feel proud?".

Darren Parks then handed the show over to a very excitable Sooty and Sweep, who squeaked "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" and wished everyone a "very, very better New Year".

Abz Love, Shane Lynch and Ben Ofoedu of supergroup Boyz on Block brought back memories of 90s Christmas parties with their cover of East 17's 1994 Christmas No. 1 'Stay Another Day'.

The man of the hour himself, Father Christmas, closed the show, with a special message for the children of Preston.

The virtual ceremony then concluded with the countdown and switch on performed by the winners of the BID’s ‘Pride of Preston’ competition, Justine Brooks and Marcus Wright.

The city's Christmas lights then brought the streets to life as Preston was treated to some final festive messages from two of the biggest singers in the world - Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey!

The man of the hour himself, Father Christmas, then closed the show, with a special message for the children of Preston.

"I want you to promise me that you will stay safe, look after yourself and all those people around you," said Father Christmas.

Smooth Radio Breakfast host Darren Parks hosted the specially curated show which featured some of the biggest names in TV and music.

"There's always magic to be found when we look hard enough. Keep looking, keep wishing and smiling, hohoho!"

A very excitable Sooty and Sweep squeaked "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" and wished everyone a "very, very better New Year".
The boys from North West band Boomin got the party started with their eclectic mix and mash of singalong songs, including a toe-tapping cover of Do They Know It's Christmas?
Soul stars The Real Thing singing their 1976 No. 1 hit 'You to Me Are Everything'