Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas has flicked the switch on Blackpool’s famous illuminations at a glitzy bash marking the start of an extended run for the sparkling seaside spectacle.

The star-studded light-up ceremony at the resort’s iconic tower ballroom was also graced by YouTube sensation KSI and Scouse indie rockers The Wombats.

Organisers opted for the indoor dancefloor venue after Covid put paid to a planned outdoor extravaganza.

The lights will stay on until January.

It is hoped the extra two months will bring more visitors to the seafront amusement mecca and give a boost to pandemic-hit tourism businesses.

Shirley Ballas
Shirley Ballas followed in the footsteps of Red Rum and Kermit the Frog

Visit Blackpool described the extension as a “tonic” for the gloom of lockdowns and Covid restrictions.

A similar attempt last year to prolong the beloved display along Blackpool’s world-famous Golden Mile was thwarted when the government announced a second national lockdown.

Although the Illuminations are more than a century old, the first switch-on ceremony was held in 1934, when Lord Derby turned them on.

An eclectic series of celebrities have performed the task over the years, including Princess Diana’s father, John Spencer, three-times Grand National winner Red Rum, Kermit The Frog and comedian Peter Kay.

About 1,000 people attended this year’s show at the ballroom, which was held indoors for the second year running.

Source: BBC