Comedian John Bishop and One Show stars Matt Baker and Alex Jones to switch on Bath Chrismas lights
One of the nation’s most popular comedians, John Bishop, is coming to Bath to help launch the city’s Christmas celebrations.
The annual Christmas lights switch-on, which will be broadcast live to millions across the country via BBC’s The One Show, is expected to put the city on the map as the place to shop over the festive season.
The star-studded line up tonight will also include the show’s presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones, who will be illuminating the lights with Bishop, as well as Olympic heroes Heather Stanning, who won gold with rowing partner Helen Glover at the London Games, and silver medalist pentathlete Samantha Murray.
Andrew Cooper, Bath Business Improvement District manager, said it was an unprecedented opportunity to market Bath as a visitor destination to the rest of the country.
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He said: “We are really delighted to be working with The One Show which reaches millions of viewers at prime time.
“This is a critical time of year for retailers and this is the perfect opportunity to remind regional shoppers and people visiting from further afield that they can find great shopping in Bath.”
He added: “As a city we cannot be complacent in these economic difficult times. We all need to work together to raise the profile of Bath to remind people what a great place it is to shop and visit.
“I think in the past we’ve had great switch-ons but to have a television show broadcast from the centre of Bath in prime time, when people are going to be mentioning our city – can you buy that? Probably not.”
This view was backed up by Councillor Cherry Beath, Bath and North East Somerset Council’s cabinet member for sustainable development.
She said: “This year’s Christmas lights switch-on ceremony is set to put Bath on the map like never before.”
The festivities will start at 6pm tonight when members of Team Bath from this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games will be returning to the city.
Ali Vowles, from BBC Points West, and Steve Le Fevre, from BBC Radio Bristol, will warm up the crowds before the live broadcast from Milsom Street begins, interviewing Waitrose turkey expert Mark Cullen and welcoming conductor Grenville Jones, who will lead the City of Bath Male Choir and a special Norland Nanny choir.
Sarah Mansfield, director of Milsom Place, said: “The Christmas lights switch-on provides great profile for Bath.
“For the last four years Bath has received fantastic coverage regionally and nationally as a result. It is wonderful to see the city so full for such a special family event. It is another opportunity for us to remind everyone what a wonderful city this is.”
The One Show is broadcasting from Bath as part of its Rickshaw Challenge in aid of BBC Children in Need. A team of young rickshaw riders, led by Matt, will pass through the city on their way to London.
The live broadcast will begin at the show’s usual start time of 7pm when Bishop, known for his appearances on shows such as Mock the Week and QI, will join Matt and Alex on The One Show sofa.
The trio will switch Bath’s Christmas lights on during the broadcast.