The countdown to Christmas is well and truly under way after actors Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Shane Richie turned on the festive lights in London's Regent Street. Adding to the spectacular display were fireworks bursting from the rooftops of some of the capital's most famous shopping haunts.
This year's lights feature characters from the animated comedy Flushed Away, which is already out in US cinemas and due to hit UK screens on December 1. Sir Ian and his Lord Of The Rings co-star Andy, who played Gollum, lend their voices in the movie, as does former EastEnder landlord Shane.
The trio were guests of honour at Tuesday's switching on ceremony which kicked off the capital's festive season. On Thursday, meanwhile, the honour of turning on the illuminations in neighbouring Oxford Street falls to newly reunited girl band All Saints.
Shane, who worked alongside Hollywood stars Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet and Bill Nighy on Flushed Away, plays a sewer rat named Sid who flushes Hugh's character, an uptown rat named Roddy, down the toilet. "Things are so great that I'm frightened something is going to come along and mess it up," the former soap star revealed recently. "But I hope not, because honestly I couldn't be happier."
It's a big break for the popular cockney, whose girlfriend Christie Goddard gave birth to their son Mackenzie earlier this year. "Acting is what I love," he says. "Even when I was hosting game shows my heart was never in it. One day I hope to achieve the same calibre of work as Helen Mirren, Robbie Coltrane- respected actors."