The full line-up for this year’s Christmas lights switch-on in Preston has been revealed – and it promises to be bigger and better than ever before.
Eighties favourites The Christians and Coronation Street star Marc Baylis – who plays bad boy Rob Donovan – will headline the switch-on this year.
The headline acts will be joined by chart soul-star Jaki Graham and Bob Blakeley, who appeared on television series The Voice, at the event next Saturday.
The Christians are expected to perform hits including their 1980s number one collaboration cover, Ferry ’Cross the Mersey, following a personal appearance from the Corrie favourite, whose story is one of the biggest in the soap for years.
There will also be an appearance by the cast of the city’s festive panto at the Guild Hall, Snow White and the Magnificent Seven, along with local acts.
Mark Whittle, of organisers the Preston Business Improvement District (BID), said the switch-on would precede a packed programme of festive events, including an Alpine-style Christmas Market and Ice Rink, which is being created in the city centre from mid-December.
He said: “The Christmas lights switch-on is always a huge event in Preston; I cannot remember the last time we did not get a full house on the Flag Market and this year’s acts will be a big draw again.
“Marc’s storyline in Coronation Street is huge right now and we’re confident he’ll prove popular with event attendees, as will our musical acts.”
He continued: “The BID is funding a new, improved lights scheme which covers more of the city centre than ever before and the switch-on event always signals the start of the festive period.
“It is a really important time of the year for our city centre traders and I am confident people from right across the North West will come and enjoy the great package.”
Jamie Griffiths, Communicorp UK’s Group programme director for Smooth Radio, said: “This is a fantastic event and we are proud to be a part of it.”
The panto cast, which includes comedian Jimmy Cricket, will be joined by rock ’n’ roll band Doug Perkins and The Spectaculars, Preston-born vocalist Daniella Gallagher and Smooth Radio’s Jo Lloyd.
The Christians enjoyed several international hits in the late 1980s, including Ideal World and Harvest for the World, and reformed in 2012 to begin touring again.
Jaki Graham had a number of top 20 hits in the 80s including Could It Be I’m Falling in Love.
The event, sponsored by St. George’s Shopping Centre, The Guild Hall, Preston’s College and Greggs, begins at 5.30pm on Saturday, November 15, on the Flag Market. The switch will be flicked on the new-look lights at 7.45pm.