‘TIS OFFICIALLY the season to be jolly after pantomime star Marcus Patrick flicked on Christmas lights tonight.
The Hollyoaks actor, who is set to appear in The Kings Theatre’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk, swung by Palmerston Road this evening for the Southsea switch-on.
Marcus, who was born in Gosport, is looking forward to starring in the panto, which opens on December 6.
He said: ‘It’s always great to be back down here. Being a Gosport boy, it’s nice to be in and around my hometown.
‘This is the third time I’ve been given the chance to switch the lights on now, and it’s always really good to do.’
Marcus will be starring as King Willy on the Kings stage alongside ‘Allo ‘Allo! star Vicki Michelle and The X Factor’s Sam Callahan.
He added: ‘We’ve got a great cast this year, and as soon as we get in that rehearsal room, that’s where all the magic starts to happen.’
Marcus was joined by Portsmouth’s deputy lord mayor, Ken Ellcome, Father Christmas, and hundreds of revellers, for the big countdown.
Some of the city’s best young talents also got people in the festive spirit with a song-and-dance extravaganza.
Cllr Ellcome said: ‘It’s great to put on something for the people of Portsmouth. Christmas seems to start earlier every year, but I love seeing all the kids enjoying themselves.’
The crowds were in high spirits despite the cancellation of the firework display, due to high winds creating a health and safety risk.
Meanwhile, the likes of street dance crew Most Wanted and Portsmouth High Junior School’s chamber choir filled the audience with plenty of festive cheer.
Claire Roberts, from Southsea, went along with her mum and three-year-old daughter, Piper.
‘It’s a really great event and we come every year because it’s always a good atmosphere’, she said:
Hannah Hodgson, from Drayton, brought her daughter Willow, two, for the celebrations.
She said: ‘It’s a good way to teach my daughter about Christmas but it’s something to enjoy with our friends as well.’