Strictly star Brian Fortuna to turn on Northampton’s Christmas lights

Northampton Panto launch of Aladdin at The Grosvenor Centre, with Bobby Davro and Brian Fortuna.

Northampton Panto launch of Aladdin at The Grosvenor Centre, with Bobby Davro and Brian Fortuna.

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STRICTLY Come Dancing star Brian Fortuna has been handed the honour of turning on Northampton’s Christmas lights, with the twinkle-toes performer headlining an all-star cast for the big switch-on.

Children will be able to speak to Father Christmas over a live satellite link to his North Pole grotto at the launch of the town’s seasonal celebrations on Saturday, November 26.

Father Christmas is giving a camera crew special access to his home this year but he’s sending his elves to the Market Square to help children write letters and whisk them to him by magic.

He’s promised to take a break from toy making four times during the afternoon to read the letters and chat to the children who have written them.

BBC Radio Northampton’s John Griff will be the host for the afternoon’s entertainment. From 2pm, he’ll introduce solo performances from singer Leanne Boyes and ‘Has Northamptonshire Got Talent 2011’ winner Lauren Jones.

David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “We have decorated the town with more than 100 trees and thousands of lights, we have cut parking charges in our key car parks and we’re starting off the season with a great afternoon of entertainment. Christmas in Northampton really will be better than ever this year.”

The main event will see Mr Fortuna, who shot to fame with his starring role in the hit BBC Saturday night Strictly Come Dancing, turn on the lights shortly before 5pm.

He is starring in the Derngate panto as Aladdin and will be joined by his co-star, Basil Brush, for the switch-on of the thousands of lights on a giant 6oft tree in the Market Square. Other attractions will see an appearance from The Mad Hatter - in town as part of the Royal & Derngate’s production of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland - while the interactive ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ is aimed at under fives and grown ups alike.

Details of everything going on in Northampton this Christmas can be found on the website www.christmasinnorthampton.co.uk.

Brian Fortuna will also be a judge in Strictly Northampton on November 26.0