Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor wowed huge crowds as she switched on the famous Blackpool Illuminations.

Sophie performed a medley of her favourite songs including her classic hit, Murder On The Dancefloor, before pulling the switch to trigger a four-month Illuminations season.

She now joins a roll of honour of celebrity Switch-On stars down the years including the likes of Robbie Williams, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Shirley Bassey, Gary Barlow, The Bee Gees, Dame Barbara Windsor and Hollywood film director, Tim Burton.

Sophie told the thousands of people gathered on the Tower Festival Headland on Friday: “I’m so happy to be here. I remember coming here as a child and I can’t wait to see Blackpool all lit up”. 

The Switch-On moment, the first to be held outdoors since 2019, marked the finale of a spectacular free event which included a Nickelodeon float parade, featuring the stars of the world’s favourite children’s TV channel, live entertainment, a light show on The Blackpool Tower and a fireworks finale.

Starting from Central Pier, the parade featured larger-than-life characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Baby Shark, Monsters High and Transformers, as well as around 100 dancers, musicians and street performers. 

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Among the performers in the grand parade were Lancashire’s own 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band, a  group of young musicians who have performed all over the UK, including an appearance at Windsor Castle in front of the Queen.

Leader of Blackpool Council, Cllr Lynn Williams said: ““We were determined to bring the Switch-On moment back outside and for it to be accessible for all our families, residents and visitors. 

“It has been a fantastic evening and a true celebration of our amazing illuminations, What a way to mark the end of the school holidays and to kick-start our autumn season!

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Illuminations would once again be extended by two months, running nightly until January 1, 2024.