No Switch-On star as resort bosses announce Star Trek link-up

The Famous Blackpool Tower and lights along the stretch of promenade known as the Golden Mile in Blackpool, Lancashire at night, photographed on a long exposure with light streaks during the yearly 'illuminations' spectacle.
The Famous Blackpool Tower and lights along the stretch of promenade known as the Golden Mile in Blackpool, Lancashire at night, photographed on a long exposure with light streaks during the yearly 'illuminations' spectacle.

Visit Blackpool has announced its hope to boldly go where no man has gone before with a drastically different Switch-On plan.

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The traditional event, which attracts thousands of people each year, will see Blackpool Illuminations brought to life by a Star Trek-themed ceremony - rather than a big-name star.

The announcement of the new Switch-On sequence completes this year’s line-up, which will feature live performances from artists Example and DJ Wire, Diversity, Conor Maynard and Louisa Johnson.

Councillor Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We are delighted that one of the world’s most iconic TV franchises is to take part in this year’s Illuminations switch-on.

“A huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to produce what should be another truly memorable event. This year’s switch-on ceremony will be delivered in a totally unique and innovative way, creating a spectacular launch pad for the 2017 Illuminations season.

“We can’t wait to see it unfold on the night.”

However, not everybody was impressed by the news.

Setting his phasers to stunned, councillor Tony Williams said: “What can I say? Are they finding it difficult to find celebrities who want to switch on the lights? It used to be such an honour.

“I just don’t understand their reasoning behind this.

“I think it’s sad that they cannot find a celebrity to switch on the lights in person.

“The Switch-On was always a family event and always a big part of the holiday season, and we’ve had some very big names switch on the lights over the years.

“I’m very disappointed. I’m shocked that they want to do something that breaks a tradition of 100 years.”

Blackpool Council’s director of place Alan Cavil said: “This is a tie-in with one of the biggest television franchises in the world.

“We’ve been working on this for months to get to this position.”

While organisers are sworn to secrecy over the specifics of the show - which they want to be a surprise on the night - Mr Cavill said it would be a ‘unique, memorable’ event.

And he pointed out it was not the first time they had moved away from the traditional Switch-On star approach.

In 2012, a group of Olympians turned on the lights, while in 1977 racehorse Red Rum had the honour.