Stars of this year’s panto helped the city see in the festive season last night as they flipped the switch on Portsmouth’s Christmas lights.
Allo Allo’s Vicki Michelle and Phil Randall were joined by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr David Fuller, the Lady Mayoress Leza Tremorin and, of course, Father Christmas, for the big event on Commercial Road.
Hundreds of revellers wrapped up warm to catch a glimpse of Fairy Peapod and Dame Tilly Trott before they appear in the Kings Theatre’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk next month.
Vicki said: ‘The lights this year are fabulous, and the kids loved it. Everyone was cheering and booing and shouting.
‘The kids are loving it, the grown-ups are loving it, and it starts off Christmas. It brings the community together and that’s why you feel all that warmth from everyone out there.’
The start of the Christmas period was also welcomed with a dazzling fireworks display, and a jam-packed evening of entertainment.
Sean Smith, who rose to fame as an X Factor finalist in Same Difference, performed at the event. Local dance and musical theatre troupes such as Abstract Youth Dance Company and Streetforce also filled the crowds with plenty of Christmas cheer.
Cllr Fuller said: ‘Christmas is coming very soon and it’s a great honour to be here. The atmosphere is fantastic.
‘It’s very important that we get families together, and I think it starts the festive season very well.’
Catherine Giffin, from Old Portsmouth, enjoyed the festivities with her son, daughter-in-law, and 5-year-old grandson Jamie.
She said: ‘The lights are very attractive, and it always nice for the family to come out for the fireworks.’
Barry Martins, from Landport, celebrated with his daughter Amelia, 4.
He said: ‘It’s mainly for the kids, but they’re enjoying it and that makes our lives happier.’