Manchester’s countdown to Christmas begins with huge Christmas Lights switch-on party

 

The biggest Christmas Party in the UK is back and the headliners for Manchester Christmas Lights Switch-on have been announced.

 

The huge family friendly show attracts thousands of people to Albert Square and in past years has welcomed some of the biggest names in show business to help push the button to officially begin the city’s festive season – now well known as the UK’s Capital of Christmas.

 

Winner of last year’s X-Factor competition, Louisa Johnson, who won the nation’s hearts and was named by Simon Cowell as the best singer he’d ever seen on the show will perform live.

 

Appearing on Clean Bandit’s hit single, Tears, Louisa is currently working on her debut album, which is due for release in December soon after her Manchester performance.

 

Local musician JP Cooper has grown a huge and loyal fan base through relentless touring in past years. His debut EP, out on Island Records, showed his blend of soulful songs and stunning vocals that helped to sell out his nationwide tour ahead of the release of this debut album early next year.

 

 

And the MOBO Nominated trio M.O (Modus Operandi) complete the night’s musical acts, bringing their R&B tinged garage attitude to Albert Square.

 

Mancunian comic John Thomson will be a crowd favourite when he arrives on stage following the reprise of his role in iconic 90s comedy drama, Cold Feet. John is appearing on stage ahead of his role as the evil Abanazar in the Opera House’s Christmas panto, Aladdin.

 

And the hit musical production of the beloved Billy Elliot, playing at the Palace Theatre from 29 November, will help the crowds to get their toes tapping and bodies moving as the cast from the show perform live on stage.

 

Opening the show will be the incredible moves of the Dancehouse Academy before they appear in a Panto Mash-up at the Dancehouse - a fresh take on the traditional, combining the Adventures of Robin Hood with the classic tale of the Babes in the Wood.

This year’s show will be hosted by Key 103’s Mike Toolan and Corrie’s Brooke Vincent, along with the larger-than-life Paddy McGuinness.

 

The whole show will be topped off by a spectacular fireworks display!

 

As always the event is completely free, just get the family together and wrap up warm.

 

Please note, once Albert Square reaches capacity access into the area will be restricted. A number of road closures will be in place on the evening - full details to be released.

 

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s no secret that Christmas is my favourite time of year and I’m bursting with excitement that the Christmas Lights Switch-On – the official start of the countdown to Christmas - is nearly here.

 

“As always the Switch-On show promises something for everyone during an evening of high-energy entertainment and I hope to see as many families there as possible soaking up the atmosphere and welcoming the festive season in Manchester.”

 

And the Christmas cheer doesn’t stop as the award-winning Christmas Markets return just a week later, Friday 11 November.

 

www.visitmanchester.com/christmas

 

#MCRChristmas

Pete Burns Dies Aged 57

 

The singer was described as "a cross between Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker"

 

Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns has died aged 57 after suffering a cardiac arrest, his management has said.

 

A statement on Twitter said it was with "greatest sadness" that it had to break the "tragic news" that Burns died suddenly on Sunday.

Burns had a hit with You Spin Me Round in 1985 and appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.

 

The management statement said: "All of his family and friends are devastated by the loss of our special star."

 

It continued: "He was a true visionary, a beautiful talented soul, and he will be missed by all who loved and appreciated everything he was and all of the wonderful memories he has left us with."

 

Burns appeared on reality television shows Celebrity Wife Swap and The Body Shocking Show in recent years.

 

Politician George Galloway, who was on Celebrity Big Brother with Burns, tweeted: "Sad to hear of the demise of Pete Burns. He was a cross between Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker. You don't get more brilliant than that. RIP".

 

Stars paid tribute to the singer on Twitter, with Boy George saying: "Tearful about the passing of @PeteBurnsICON he was one of our great true eccentrics and such a big part of my life! Wow. Hard to believe!"

 

Celebrity Big Brother presenter Davina McCall said: "So so sad to hear about Pete Burns... we partied hard in the 90s... RIP Pete x"

 

Ordinary Boys frontman Preston, who also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother with Burns, said: "Heartbroken to hear about Pete Burns. He was a true punk rocker and one of the kindest hearts I've ever know. Gutted.

 

Boy George said: Tearful about the passing of Pete Burns he was one of our great true eccentrics and such a big part of my life! Wow. Hard to believe!

 

Martin Fry of ABC said: RIP Pete Burns One of the greats has gone.

 

Big Brother's Bit on the Side and Xtra Factor Host Rylan Clark- Neal said : Absolutely gutted. Such an honour to spin right round with you. Sleep well Pete xxx

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