30 AUGUST 2008

Previous celebs given the honour have included David Tennant, Status Quo and the Bee Gees, but this year saw the task of switching on Blackpool's famous annual Illuminations turn to Richard Hammond and his Top Gear co-stars Jeremy Clarkson and driver The Stig.

After sharing a joke with the 20,000-strong crowd who'd gathered for the occasion, the trio flicked the magic switch to light up the display, which this year consists of over a staggering million lamps and stretches for nearly six miles.

Those who had assembled to see the boys turn on the Illuminations were also treated to a performance by Irish quintet Boyzone and London-based indie band Scouting For Girls.

Turned on towards the end of each summer, the lights traditionally run for 66 days and this year include a section by interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen called Venus Reborn, which includes a sound and light show every 15 minutes to entertain the crowds.

"The fact that there's an actual show will hopefully draw the crowds and get people out of their cars to enjoy the whole magic we're creating," the 43-year-old Changing Rooms star said.

Photo: ©
The Hamster and Jeremy Clarkson share a joke as they prepare to flick the switch at Blackpool's annual festival of lightsPhoto: © PA
Photo: ©
An important event on the seaside town's calender, the traditional Illuminations began in 1879 and attract thousands of visitors each yearPhoto: © PA